We all do it. It’s something that we’ve probably grown up hearing that we should do, as a matter of fact.
“If you’re sick, grab a cup of tea and stay in bed.”
After all, we know about all the antioxidants and polyphenols that tea contains. It would make sense that if our immune systems are battling the dark unknown, we should give it a boost of healthy supplements to get our T cells to win the war against our colds, flus, and general illnesses.
But, what if I told you that this is not necessarily the case?
“But Catherine, you write a whole blog dedicated to tea! Surely you believe that tea has health benefits, which have been proven by scientific study after scientific study!”
Well, yes and no.
Just like I say at my Tea Love talks, I am NOT a doctor and would never dream of giving out medical advice. However, as my talks became more popular, more and more people were asking about the health benefits of tea, and rightfully so. Tea is proving to become more and more popular in the United States and is usually promoted for weight loss, dental health, cancer prevention (though the National Cancer Institute does not recommend for or against the use of tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer due to inconclusive studies), and even diabetes management. So in response, yes, I do touch upon a few medical studies that have been performed with tea, though never advocating for any particular use.
Global News reporter Rachel Lau recently published an article addressing the question if drinking tea really does help you when you are sick.
First, make sure that what you are drinking is healthy for you. For example, those who might have certain mental illnesses might have to watch their caffeine intake. All forms of tea, unless it specifies caffeine free (NOT decaffeinated, which does still contain trace amounts of caffeine), do contain caffeine. By drinking without regarding the caffeine intake, you could be doing anything from packing on the caffeine right before bed to causing more serious health issues.
Second, never self-diagnose (I am terrible at this, so do not follow my example!). If you think that drinking a certain tea might be beneficial, talk to your doctor first. Some plants that you might use in your teas can cause more harm than good.
Third, be wary of the studies. While yes, there are numerous studies for everything ranging from green tea to herbal teas, they are all new studies and some do not have the greatest controls. So while, as the National Cancer Institute says, there are studies, most are new and some do not have the support of the medical community.
Overall? Drink tea! Love tea! Worship tea! But make sure you are drinking it for enjoyment or if you are cutting down on sugars and subbing tea instead, rather than drinking it to cure an illness like cancer.