Tea Giving: Day 23 (Hawaiian Zen)

pearl_HawZenDay23

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
– The 14th Dalai Lama

We may be headed into the shortest day and longest night of the year in a few days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t daydream about long summer nights and fruity drinks. Our Hawaiian Zen tisane covers so many bases:

  • It’s the first blend we ever created
  • It’s caffeine-free
  • It’s sweet without any added sugar
  • It’s got notable health benefits, and…
  • It was presented to the 14th Dalai Lama in 2011 in Washington DC at the Kalachakra after meeting with the Ven. Geshe Tenzin Dhargye, who heads the Vienna Buddhist Institute in Austria .

What more is there to say, really… except that you can also eat the chunks of dried fruit right out of the blend.

Hawaiian Zen is a rooibos based tisane and as mentioned has no caffeine. It’s blended with a cacophony of dried fruits like mango, papaya, orange, pomegranate – and also includes ginger, rose petals and cornflowers. It has very strong aroma therapy up front but brews a very balance hot cuppa and seriously amazing iced tea.

It’s also a great tisane to sip for evening meditation. We like it when we listen to Andy’s voice at Headspace.

Today is Day 23 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving. Please enjoy 25% OFF our Hawaiian Zen Tisane by using code TEAGIVING23 at checkout on the website.

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 23 (Hawaiian Zen)

Tea Giving: Day 22 (Rooibos Chai)

pearl_ChaiChaiChristyDay22

“Spices are very hot, very hip. I love spices.” – Todd English

This blend was named after a spicy girl called Christy (my niece), who at around 4 years old declared that she liked chai. We needed a chai version in the family without caffeine so she could get her spicy tea quota and not drive my brother and sister-law crazy with extra energy.

This has been one of our most popular blends for years. People that love the taste of traditional Chai but are either sensitive to caffeine (or just want an herbal version to sip at night) reach for the Chai Chai Christy blend.

Instead of black tea, its base is South African Rooibos blended with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Not only does it taste fantastic, it packs a healthy punch:

  • South African Rooibos – high in minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, copper, fluoride, manganese, magnesium, zinc), anti-inflammatory, relieves hypertension, aids the respiratory functions, good for bones and teeth, may help prevent type II diabetes, improves circulation.
  • Cardamomcombats nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, detoxifies, aids cardiovascular health, controls cholesterol.
  • Gingercombats nausea, powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, anti-blood clotting, improved immunity and respiratory function, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal.
  • Cloves – high in minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc; contains vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K; aids digestion, antibacterial, chemo-preventive or anti-carcinogenic, anti-Mutagenic, boosts immunity, anti-inflammatory, aids in headache relief, gingivitis and periodontitis.

The rich color of the liquid along with its mighty powerful ingredients, yields a wonderful chai cuppa to enjoy day or night.

So on Day 22 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving, please enjoy 25% OFF our “Chai Chai” Christy by using Code TEAGIVING22 at checkout on the Pearl Fine Teas website.

Happy Caffeine Free Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 22 (Rooibos Chai)

Tea Giving: Day 18 (Cinnamon Rooibos)

 

pearl_CinnamonRooibosDay18

Not all cinnamons are created equal.


There are two types: True Cinnamon (Ceylon) and Cassia Cinnamon. The later being more common and what you find on supermarket shelves. But it’s really True Ceylon Cinnamon that we love and use in our blends.

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed. As its drying the strips of bark curls into rolls which are cinnamon sticks which can then be ground into cinnamon powder. That famous cinnamon aroma is caused by the oily part of the bark and is high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde, AND THAT is cinnamons secret weapon for wellness.

Here are a few things you can expect from cinnamon:

  • Loaded with Antioxidants and polyphenols to protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It’s considered a superfood and outranked garlic and oregano in antioxidant levels.
  • May cut the risk of heart disease and has been been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Helps with type 2 diabetes: 1 gram or about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood markers.
  • Reduces levels of “bad” cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while keeping the “good” HDL cholesterol stable. 120 mg per day of cinnamon increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Cinnamon can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, the key hormones that regulate metabolism, energy use and is essential for transporting blood sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. It can also dramatically reduce insulin resistance.
  • Has a powerful anti-diabetic effect and can lower blood sugar by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after eating by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in your digestive tract. It can also mimick insulin which improves glucose uptake by your cells, though it acts much slower than insulin itself.
  • Beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, both of which are a progressive loss of the structure and function of brain cells.
  • Helps right bacterial and fungal infections, treat respiratory tract infections and can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella. Its antimicrobial effects of cinnamon may also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath.

That’s quite a list of reasons to include cinnamon in your diet. And we haven’t even talked about how good it tastes. Especially when blended into a Tea or Rooibos.

The natural sweetness of a true cinnamon comes as a shock to people when they taste Cinnamon Rooibos. “Surely, you’ve sweetened it with sugar?” is what I’m always asked. The answer is always, “Nope.”

I’ve lost track of how many people love this blend. Especially due to the fact that it helps with sugar cravings – especially at night – that time of day when you just want to pop on Netflix or Hulu and dig into a sleeve of cookies. Is this the cure for late night sugar cravings? Indeed. A cuppa Rooibos Cinnamon and you immediately forget what you were digging for in the cupboard. That’s quite a mighty endorsement and tells you how powerful this blend is.

Today is Day 18 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving which means that today you get to enjoy 25% OFF our Cinnamon Rooibos. Just use code TEAGIVING25 at checkout on the website.

Happy (low sugar) Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 18 (Cinnamon Rooibos)

Tea Kindness #04: Cinnamon Orange

Cinnamon
Cinnamon: Ground and Sticks

In honor of this last Friday before Christmas, and our 4 installment of Random Acts of (Tea) Kindness, we bring to you the mother of all spices: CINNAMON!

Cinnamon is quite frankly: magic. Aside from the immense healing properties (and there are many) its ability to curb a raging sweet tooth is legendary. But did you know about its rich and interesting history?

  • Cinnamon dates back to Chinese writings as early as 2,800 B.C and is still known as kwai in Cantonese
  • Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon during the embalming process
  • The Old Testament references it as an ingredient in anointing oil
  •  In the 1st century A.D., Pliny the Elder wrote off 350 grams of cinnamon as being equal in value to over five kilograms of silver, about fifteen times the value of silver per weight
  • The West has the Ancient world of Arab traders for bringing it with them when they traveled to Europe
  • Cinnamon was the Arab merchants’ best-kept secret until the early 16th century and to maintain a monopoly and justify its high price, the traders told stories and tales for buyers about how the spice was obtained:

“One such story, related by the 5th-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus, said that enormous birds carried the cinnamon sticks to their nests perched high atop mountains that were insurmountable by any human. According to the story, people would leave large pieces of ox meat below these nests for the birds to collect. When the birds brought the meat into the nest, its weight would cause the nests to fall to the ground, allowing the cinnamon sticks stored within to be collected.”

Stories like that remind me of the tales told about certain teas like Monkey Picked Oolong and how Monks sent trained monkeys out to the tallest tea bushes to pick leaves. This clearly did not happen, but the idea was to show how difficult it was to obtain this product and that it was a luxury item. (That’s early ancient branding and marketing strategy at its finest.)

In 1518, Portuguese traders discovered cinnamon bark in Ceylon which is known today as Sri Lanka. They took over the kingdom of Kotto and took control of the cinnamon trade for about 100 years. It wasn’t until the Ceylon kingdom of Kandy allied with the Dutch in 1638 to overthrow the Portuguese occupiers. The Dutch ended up defeating the Portuguese, took control of Ceylon and the cinnamon monopoly for the next 150 years. Enter the British in 1784  and their victory in the 4th Anglo-Dutch War, and by 1800, cinnamon was sort of downgraded and no longer a rare commodity.

That’s a lot of fighting and history – over the bark of a tree.

Cinnamon trees are small evergreens that can grow to a height of 66 feet and contain aromatic bark and leaves.  The tree bark is often peeled, dried, ground into powder, or rolled into strips.  It is used in both sweet and savory foods.

There are typically 2 types of commercial cinnamon on the market today: Ceylon (Sri Lankan), Cassia (Indonesian and Vietnamese.) Cassia is the the cheaper variety and what is usually sold in grocery stores to use in cooking, baking etc… The more expensive cinnamon from Sri Lanka is more milder and sweeter and very, very, very good in tea.

The health and healing properties of cinnamon are long, but here are 5 important benefits:

  1. High in antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids – compounds which work to fight oxidative stress in the body especially as we age.
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, lowers swelling and inflammation, beneficial for pain management, soreness, and PMS.
  3. Heart Health protection by reducing several common risks to heart disease like high cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and advances bodily tissue’s ability to repair itself after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue which is in need of regeneration in order to fight heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.
  4. Diabetes management. Helps lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin. It has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with type 2 diabetes.
  5. Fights viruses and infections by defending the body from illnesses since its naturally anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral.

 

 

xmas time and mug on desk
Happy Christmas! Happy Sipping!

Superfood? Probably! Super tasty? Without a doubt!

And it’s the feature of our 4th week of our Random Act of (Tea) Kindness initiative this month. Just in time for the Christmas holiday which is only (3 days away) please enjoy 22% OFF both our Cinnamon Orange Spice Black Tea and our Cinnamon Rooibos (Caffeine-Free).  No discount code is required. Discount is automatically applied in your cart and is good from Dec 22nd thought Dec 27th!

Both teas have 3 types of cinnamon blended with orange peel and some sweet clove. You won’t need a drop of sugar in either of these teas. They are naturally sweet and 100% sugar free. Pairs perfectly with christmas cookies, desserts and general snuggling by the fireplace. We’ve also “heard” that a shot of brandy in either cuppa takes this to a whole new level.

This is our last post before Dec 25th so for those of you that celebrate… 

Happy Christmas!
Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Kindness #04: Cinnamon Orange

Tea Kindness #01: Blueberry Rooibos

Blueberry Bliss Rooibos Tea.
Blueberry Rooibos

Welcome to December and the first Friday of the last month of the year. We’re only 8 days out from Thanksgiving and it seemed appropriate to kick things off with Blueberry Rooibos Tisane – given how important blueberries were to settlers from England. Why no one associates blueberries with that American holiday is a mystery to me. Here’s a little blueberry history:

During the 17th century, (when ships landed in the New World) settlers started to colonize and clear land for farming so that they could grow food to survive. Since the New World had a very different terrain (and climate) successful farming was difficult. It wasn’t until 1620, when Wampanoag Indians stepped in and taught the Pilgrims new skills to help them survive. This included planting corn, foraging, gathering native plants and how to find, dry and store blueberries for winter. That mighty berry actually became a critical food source; and a beverage made of blueberries became a major staple during the Civil War.

But blueberries go father back then just the 17th Century.  Botanists estimate them to be the oldest living thing on earth: around 13,000 years old. In comparison, according to Chinese legend, the history of tea began in 2737 B.C.E.

If you are a blueberry fan, as I am, you will love this Tisane. (Remember a Tisane is what you call herbs, spices and rooibos – which isn’t actually Tea.) The green and red rooibos base blended with dried blueberries is fantastic hot and also over ice. Its a great tea for children to enjoy or anyone that is sensitive to caffeine. It’s got a desert-like quality to it and a natural sweetness without any added sugar.

Rooibos has so many health benefits which I discussed in past posts, but here is a top 10 List:

  1. Naturally caffeine free–recommended for people suffering from irritability, headaches, insomnia, hypertension, nervous tension and mild depression.
  2. Rich in antioxidants that boost the body’s immune system.
  3. May help slow the ageing process.
  4. Anti-spasmodic, thus relieving stomach cramps
  5. Low in tannins–won’t impair the absorption of iron and protein in the body.
  6. Helpful for the relief of stomach/digestive problems like nausea, heartburn, stomach ulcers and constipation.
  7. Anti-allergic–has a soothing effect on irritated skin when directly applied to the affected area.
  8. Free of oxalic acid; safe for people suffering from kidney stones.
  9. Beneficial in the management of allergies like hay fever, asthma & eczema.
  10. High in minerals, complementing our daily intake of iron, calcium, magnesium & zinc; needed for maintaining a healthy immune system.

If you are new to Rooibos, this blend is a nice introduction. From today, Dec 1 through Dec 7th, please enjoy an added discount on our Blueberry Rooibos by using code: RATK20 at checkout!

** Remember to follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram because someone will be chosen randomly to receive this tea for free during our Random Acts of (Tea) Kindness Initiative this month.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Kindness #01: Blueberry Rooibos

Pumpkin Pressure?

Kettle in the form a pumpkin on background of burlap
Pumpkin Teapot

I gave in. It took 10 years, but I finally caved. Pearl Fine Teas now offers a Pumpkin Flavored Tea. Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkins. I put a few on my front porch every year (I prefer the really ugly ones) and I love pumpkin seeds. I even like (on occasion) roasted pumpkin, but I have never taken to pumpkin flavored foods or drinks. Not my cup of tea so to speak.

So what happened? I blame Linus Van Pelt.  His love and passion for that squash has stayed with me since the first time watching in as a kid. I love the name, hence the blend. And we now have a very limited quantity of our very own Great Pumpkin Tea Blend.

GreatPumpkin
Linus

It’s technically a tisane (herbal) because the base in Rooibos. If you follow this blog regularly then you already know about Rooibos and its mega health benefits including but not limited to the fact that its 100% Caffeine Free. So its totally safe for kids and anyone else who needs to stay clear of caffeine. The blend combines a mixture of warming spices including cinnamon which adds a touch of sweetness to it naturally. We tested it out at our Sunday Farmers Market in Bethesda, and those to tasted a sample, love it!

If you are on the pumpkin train, love all things pumpkin and want to try a healthy, low calorie, no sugar drink: The G21764954_10154931976793015_5255868319009802685_n-1reat Pumpkin is for you. You can have a look and purchase on our website under Seasonal + Specials. I’m offering a 10% off discount to anyone reading and subscribed to this blog. Just enter GP10 at checkout. There is a very limited supply and once it’s gone, we won’t be bringing out until… next year?

I  think everyone should drink a cuppa Great Pumpkin Tea while watching the Great Pumpkin rise from the patch this year when it airs on TV.

Happy Fall! Happy Sipping!

~ The Chief Leaf

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pressure?

Anti-Everything

148291308
Turmeric root and ground

Last fall one of our beloved tea customers (a scientist from NINDS National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH) who specializes in researching brain health and Alzheimer’s Disease) asked me if I had a turmeric tea. I didn’t. Though I’m very familiar with the benefits of this spice, her weekly discussions and generosity with sharing her research opened the door to the idea of a new tea blend.

 

I’ve worked in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association in the past, creating 3 blends for their Woman’s Initiative luncheon so this really peaked my interest – along with the fact that my kooky, one-of-a-kind grandmother Evelyn (Evie) was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease and one of the influences behind Pearl Fine Teas.

I had to really think about this and adding a new infusion to the tea menu. Especially since, we don’t grow up with turmeric as regular spice in our meals in the US. For many people, the taste seems bitter, strong and off-putting. We’re familiar with it from eating delicious curries and delights at Indian restaurants, but it’s not typically an everyday enhancement for Americans.

So, with all her info in hand, I started by deciding to take a 30 day turmeric “challenge” and at her urging used ground turmeric instead of the pills in the store – which are expensive. Each day I increased the scoop a little more (using as much as a full rounded teaspoon or more) and mixed it into a very small amount of organic apple juice (about 1/2 a shot glass). She emphasized that the benefits of apples each day were important for long term health – especially for the brain. (You can read about it here.)

I was worried about too much sugar, so I kept the amount of apple juice low. In my family on my mother’s side, arthritis is present and shows up in our hands. I have had issues with my left hand since I was a kid. Strangely it’s only localized in my middle finger. I can hear the giggles. Even though I’m from New York originally, I can assure you it’s not from overuse of that finger. <smile>

30 days pass and during this time I can say with certainty that the use of my left hand improved by at least 50%. Even I was shocked. I’m a believer in many things and a skeptic at the same time which is why I have to test things out on myself first.

AntiInflammatory
Anti-Inflammatory Tonic

Next came field research and trying/cupping many existing blends to see about taste and ingredients. What I noticed was that many turmeric blends had licorice added to help sweeten it. American’s like sweet. The other thing I noticed was that many were missing a very critical ingredient: Black Pepper. Turmeric’s power comes from curcumin and that needs a receptor to get absorbed into the body. That’s where black pepper comes in  because its enhances bioavailability.

 

With all this turmeric floating around in my system, I have come to actually love the taste of it, but the challenge was/is how to get others to want to drink it and like the taste. Enter the magic of Cinnamon! The natural sweetness from cinnamon is truly a gift from Mother Nature. Not only does it deliver sweet, it lowers blood sugar. (How did she do that?!) The blend also contains elderberry and added orange peel which along with the cinnamon leaves a nice natural sweet finish.

I’ve had this at our Farmers Markets the last 2 weeks and have sold out each time. Clearly there is a lot of inflammation out there and a lot of people wanting to balance their systems, increase wellness and just plain feel better. Here is a breakdown of all the health benefits you may receive from a daily cuppa of our new Anti-Inflammatory Blend and you’ll understand why I almost named it the Anti-Everything Tonic:

Turmeric: Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Oxidant, Improves Liver Function for Detoxing, Hearth Health, Menstrual Issues, Cancer Prevention, Improved Brain Function, May help with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ginger: Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal, Boots Immunity, Digestive Aid, Relief from Nausea, May Help fight Cancer, Ulcer Healing, May Lower Blood Sugar, Improves Heart Disease Risk Factors, May lower Cholesterol, May help with Alzheimer’s Disease. Considered a “Superfood.”

Cinnamon: Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal, High in anti-oxidants, Protects Heart Health, Fights Diabetes, Improves Sensitivity to Hormone Insulin, Helps with Cognitive Decline and Brain Function, May lower risk of Cancer, Helps fight infections/viruses, Prevents Candida, Benefits Skin, May help fight HIV Virus, Naturally Sweet.

Rooibos: Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Viral, Anti-Mutagenic, Anti-Spasmodic. Relieves Stress, Nervous Tension. Aids Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Contains Asphalathin which balances Blood Sugar and improves insulin resistance. Great for Skin. Contains Quercitin and Bioflavanoids. Rivals Green Tea in its level of Anti-Oxidants. Caffeine Free

Elderberry: Cold and Flu Relief, Lowers Blood Sugar, Natural Diuretic/Laxative,  Cardiovascular Protection, Respiratory Health, Boosts Immunity, Aids Diabetes, Bone Health and Inflammation, Skin Health.

Cacao: High in Anti-Oxidants, Plant-Based Iron, Magnesium, Calcium. Contains 300 Phytochemicals, Balances Hormonal Swings, Protects Heart, Prevents Cardiovascular Disease, Blood Thinner, May prevent Premature Aging, Natural Mood Elevator/Anti-Depressant.

Orange Peel: Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Allergic, High in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Trace Minerals, Enzymes, Fiber, Pectin. Relieves Respiratory Problems, Prevents Digestive Complications, Improves Heart Health, Improves Skin Appearance.

Black Pepper:  Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Bacterial, Respiratory Relief, Enhances Bioavailability, Aids Respiratory Conditions, Cognitive/Neurological Health.

I hope you’ll give this new 100% Caffeine Free infusion a try and let us know if and how it benefited your health. You can find it in the NEW ARRIVALS section of the website.

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

Anti-Everything