Tea Giving: Day 18 (Cinnamon Rooibos)

 

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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 Giving: Day 13 (R&R)

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Take a break.

Preferably a tea break. There’s really nothing more to add to that. And if you need some data to feel less guilty about the benefits or resting and relaxation, this might help:

Who are you?

A recent survey confirms that Americans feel a sense of identity from their jobs. In D.C. the ever popular questions, “So, what do you do?” is like saying Hello. But who are you really? Scheduling time to rest the same way you schedule work or other appointments, is critical to rebooting the brain. Once you are back online you may come to realize that what you do and who you are two different things. You may even be more productive. Take the advice of  Benjamin Franklin:

He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.”

How ironic.

The happy problem solver

Tea drinkers know that tea makes you happy. But so does resting the brain. Literally. The brain gets better at solving new problems after a good rest or even a nap. Take the advice of Sara Mednick:

Sara Mednick, author of Take A Nap, Change Your Life, led the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study. In her TedX talk, she said, “We need to rest. We need to take more breaks. Because, you see, taking breaks is actually part of life. It’s part of being active, it’s part of being productive and having endurance, it’s part of being creative, it’s part of being happy.”

3 final convincing reason

  • Improved Memory – Lack of sleep can make it difficult for you to concentrate and retain information. When you sleep, your brain goes through all the activities and impressions of the day which is important for memory formation.
  • Heart Health – A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
  • Fat Loss – According to a University of Chicago study, dieters lost less fat when they got only five and a half hours of sleep.

Today is Sunday, Day 13 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving and the designated “day of rest.” What will you do? Will you rest? Will you relax? Do you know how?

zzz_halfRest and Relaxation is one of our wellness blends consisting of chamomile, lemongrass and a hint of lavender. We sell a lot of this here in the DC Metro Area. I bet you can guess why…

Please enjoy 25% OFF our Rest and Relaxation today. Use Code TEAGIVING13 at checkout on the pearlfineteas website!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz
~The Chief Leaf

 

 

 

Tea Giving: Day 13 (R&R)

Tea Giving: Day 11 (Immune Booster)

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Also known as our Mighty Immune Booster – one of our Wellness Infusions.

Drinking this is like adding more troups to the front to win the bug war. In other words, it packs a (throat) punch. Someone once said that our blend isn’t whimpy. She was right.

All three ingredients make for a healthy powerhouse known to improve overall well-being and seems to also work wonders with sore throats. Let’s just get right to it and list benefits of drinking this Trifecta of healing:

Linden

Reduces Cold and Flu symptoms such as inflamed and swollen membranes throughout the respiratory tract which can help reduce coughing and irritation. It can also help eliminate congestion.

Reduces inflammation and helps lower blood pressure as well as remove inflammation in the blood vessels, thereby preventing the small capillary back-ups that so commonly lead to headaches, as well as the swollen tissue of arthritis sufferers.

Detoxifies the body with the help of P-coumaric acid (a diaphoretic) which means it induces sweating, which releases toxins from the body. It’s valuable for people suffering from fevers, because sweating can help lower a fever faster.

Lemongrass

Antioxidant properties help scavenge free radicals in your body that may cause disease. Antioxidants of note are chlorogenic acid, isoorientin, and swertiajaponin. These antioxidants may help prevent dysfunction of cells inside your coronary arteries.

Antimicrobial properties help fight abilities against Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the bacteria most responsible for tooth decay, several types of bacteria and fungus in vitro.

Anti-inflammatory properties from two of the main compounds in lemongrass, citral and geranial, are responsible for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Ginger

We all know ginger is a Superfood with Superpowers. If ginger were a Superhero it might be Superman (or Wonder Woman). The list is mighty long related to its benefits and include: Brain benefits, Cancer prevention, Antiviral and Antibacterial.

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Ginger Lemon – Immune Booster 

In conclusion, this infusion contains healing ingredients that also (and maybe more importantly) taste good too. There are lots of herbal remedies and teas out there that work wonders but taste like scrapings from the bottom of the forest. Or the inside of a shoe. If ya won’t drink it, it can’t help ya.
Ginger Lemon – Immune Booster is one of our top Superstars and the perfect one to feature today on Day 11 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving.  Please enjoy 25% OFF today by using code TEAGIVING11 at checkout on the website.

Here’s to feeling Supergood.

 

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 11 (Immune Booster)

Healing Heart Tonic

rose tea

Say Hello to District Blend #02: Brookland!

Welcome to the little hamlet where Pearl Fine Teas was born almost 11 years ago. To honor this lovely part of Washington DC, I’m finally introducing the newest member to the Pearl Fine Teas family: Healing Heart Tonic.


But first, a little about Brookland:

“Brookland evolved in the early 1870s, when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran its western branch line through this area. The rail line was situated alongside a fine 1840 Greek Revival farmhouse known as the Brooks Mansion, home of Colonel Jehiel Brooks. In the late 1880s, Catholic University was established just north of Colonel Brooks’ farm. Developers quickly responded, creating a new Washington neighborhood beyond the central city and taking its name from Colonel Brooks. The university provided a centerpiece for a large number of Catholic institutions.

In the early days, Brookland, with its single-family, wood-frame houses in styles ranging from Queen Anne to Craftsman – attracted government workers, Smithsonian Institution scientists, and people of many ethnic backgrounds who shared the Catholic faith. In the 1930s, Brookland attracted affluent African Americans looking for an area that was not restricted to whites only. Of particular note are 13 International style houses designed by Hilyard Robinson and Howard H. Mackey, two of Washington’s most prominent African American architects of the era. Robinson was responsible for the Ralph Bunche house, 1510 Jackson Street, NE, built for the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Many other prominent black Washingtonians made their home here, including the entertainer Pearl Bailey, the poet Sterling Brown, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Robert Weaver, Senator Edward Brooke, and historian Rayford Logan. Brookland enjoys an interesting history of civic activism. Most recently it rescued the Brooks Mansion, which still stands near the Brookland Metro station, a symbol of this community and its heritage.”


This neighborhood is located in the Northeast section of DC and is known informally as “Little Rome” due to the influence of the Catholic Church and home to Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Rose garden at the Franciscan Monestery

I first discovered this little enclave back in 2003 – a hidden gem, devoid of trend and pretension. I loved the diversity of people, the loving warm-hearted neighbors, the chirping birds, the stunning green spaces with gardens galore – and the gorgeous refuge of the Franciscan Monastery where you often see a Monk or Nun strolling in deep contemplation and reflection. A quiet walk through the rose garden instantly infuses a sense of peace and puts all things in perfect perspective. As a member of the Franciscan Garden Guild, I’ve spent time in the greenhouse, helping with the famous yearly Plant Sale and even learned how to extract honey from the bees they keep.

My neighborhood has inspired me in so many ways – mostly notably with the profound friendships I’ve made living here that have touched and warmed my heart – specifically my good friend Bill. He is no longer with us, but I had the privilege of being his next door neighbor for 14 years.  We had a lot of fun during those years and he taught me a thing or 10 about everything from how to install a light fixture to how to navigate some of life’s steeper slopes. It was a joyful friendship and one I deeply cherish. It’s also why I wanted to create a blend that reflected and honored that special friendship – which was born right here in Brookland.

Bill was a Deacon in his Church; He loved roses, and chewing on lemon grass and good ole’ fashioned ginger root. The Brookland Healing Heart Tonic is a blend of  those 3 ingredients and is totally caffeine free, healing, and heart warming. Besides the emotional healing benefits of this tisane, there are also many actual health benefits to this wellness tonic:


herbal rose tea.

Rose: 
• Naturally uplifting (especially for those prone to feeling down or depressed)
• Regulates hormone levels (how the neurotransmitters in our brain are regulated)
• Can help to improve liver function and increase urination (natural diuretic)
• Releases toxins from the body
• Good source of Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• May also help treat arthritis, menstrual cramps, cold/flu, digestive issues, and insomnia


Lemon Grass. Cymbopogon citratus. Capim Limao, Santo.Lemon grass:
• Traditionally used to help control and normalize heart rate and for high blood pressure.
• Used for the treatment of depression and anxiety
• Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal
• Loaded with Vitamin C (improves immunity)
• Citral is the active constituent and lemon grass has the highest concentration of it compared to any other plant in the world. Citral has antioxidant and anti-tumor properties that both benefit the brain.


Isolated gingerGinger:
• Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Fungal
• Boots Immunity
• Aids digestion and relief from nausea
• Improves heart disease risk factors
• May lower Cholesterol
• May have powerful anti-diabetic properties
• Can lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride level (similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin)
• Studies show its effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis
• Can protect against age-related damage to the brain (Alzheimers) and can also improve brain function in elderly women



Healing Heart Tonic (District Blend #02: Brookland)
will debut at markets on:

• Saturday, May 5th: Falls Church Farmers Market, VA  (8am – Noon)
• Saturday, May 5th:  Monroe Street Farmers Market, Brookland DC  (9am – 1:00 pm)
• Sunday, May 6th:  Central Farm Market in Bethesda, MD (9am – 1:30pm)
• You can also purchase online in the Tea Shop here.

“There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.” ~ Charles Dickens
“Happy Sipping!” ~The Chief Leaf

 

Healing Heart Tonic

Energy Medicine (in a bowl)

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The Chinese tea bowl.
A perfectly crafted cylinder made to hold the worlds most perfect liquid and affect the chemicals in the body and brain to promote healing and relaxation.
Ceramic tea bowls are mentioned in the first major text on tea, The Classic of Tea. Compiled between 758-60CE by Lu Yu (733–804) of the Tang dynasty.

Tibetian singing bowl isolatedThe Tibetan signing bowl.
A perfectly crafted cylinder made to emit vibration and frequencies to affect the chemicals in the body and brain to promote healing and relaxation.
Dates back to the time of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni between 560 – 480 B.C. when the Tibetan Singing Bowl is said to have originated.

 


Liquid energy in a bowl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We all know about how the chemical properties in tea leaves like flavonoid anti-oxidants and catechins, but have you heard of the powerful affect of the amino acid L-Theanine?

It’s a water soluble amino acid that’s found in tea leaves and when you drink tea,  it passes through the blood-brain barrier and affects the brain directly. It shares similar chemical structures to neurotransmitter glutamate – which is a transmitter involved in learning and memory, and, it increases the production of GABA and dopamine. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety and induces what is called alert/relaxed states of thinking and reduces the fight-or-flight response during high stress situations. In case you’re thinking that this is all a bunch of hooey, according to clinical studies by NIH:

Evidence from human electroencephalograph (EEG) studies show that it has a direct effect on the brain. L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.”

So basically, tea is liquid energy medicine (healing) in a bowl. We tea drinkers already knew that. But what about the Tibetan Singing bowl and its magical healing abilities?

Sound energy from a bowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The tradition of using a singing bowl was brought from India to Tibet, along with the teachings of the Buddha, by the great tantric master Padmasambhava in the 8th century A.D. It is said that the sounds generated by Tibetan Singing Bowls are a type of energy medicine” that promote healing many forms of dis-ease.

“If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.” – Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York.

Duke University and the University of North Carolina have realized the power of alternative healing and have taken big steps to add new body, mind and spirit programs specifically sound therapy– to cancer treatments. In fact the medical director at the Chopra Institute, Dr. David Simon, found that by chanting and using a Tibetan Singing bowl, it activates chemicals in the brain that act as internal painkillers and aid in healing.

How it works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
It’s all about vibration. And since illness is said to be a manifestation of dis-ease, dis-harmony and imbalance in cell matter, and all matter is vibrating energy, than altering a vibration should change the structure of cellular matter. Sound vibrations directly affect our nervous system, and often sets off a relaxation reflex which may lower stress and pain. Similar to acupuncture where needles allow energy (chi) to flow and assist the body in healing and rebalancing; so does sound vibration and sound frequencies–which enables the flow of energy to reach different parts of the body. The pulsating tone immediately feels good and kick-starts relaxation along with the following:

• Reduction in stress, anxiety + anger
• Lower blood pressure
• Improved circulation + increased blood flow
• Deep relaxation + pain relief
• Increased mental + emotional clarity
• Stillness, happiness + well being.
• Stimulated immune system
• Balanced left/right brain

When you are in the presence of someone (or yourself) playing a signing bowl you not only hear the pure sonic waves,you actually feel the sound enter the body. You can listen and watch a short Tibetan Singing Bowl video here on YouTube and see if you feel any different after listening. Or you can buy one and try it at home yourself. It’s really easy and you will be amazed at how good you feel afterwards.

The connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ritual. Aside from the actual chemical properties in tea, and the actual sound waves emitted from a singing bowl (both proven to aid in healing and wellness) there is the ritual of making tea or drinking tea out of a special cup or bowl. The ritual of sitting at the same time to play a singing bowl, or the ritual using a sound to evoke a sense of calm. And before you head down that “this is hooey” road again, there is scientific research around the benefits of rituals and its affect on overall wellness which can be extremely effective in reducing anxiety, increasing confidence and having an impact on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Rituals help bring a sense of structure and order to an otherwise chaotic world. They are in fact a type of shield that helps protect us from uncertainty.

“The very act of engaging in a scripted sequence of ritualistic movements tricks the brain into thinking that it’s experiencing the pleasant state of predictability and stability. The crux of the argument says that in times when uncertainty is beyond our control, the brain will subconsciously lead us to engage in ritualized movements as a compensatory mechanism to bring about a sense of personal control. This, the argument goes, is the starting point for all of life’s little (and big) rituals.” – Psychology Today

The every day stresses of today surely didn’t exist during ancient times (and vice versa) but in the end, regardless of what causes stress and dis-ease, we’re all seeking the same exact thing: a way to stay healthy, survive and enjoy life.

Just a simple ceramic bowl for sipping.
Just a simple metal bowl for listening.
Two simple rituals for healing.

 
Happy Relaxation…
Happy Sipping…
~The Chief Leaf

 

Energy Medicine (in a bowl)

Tea Kindness #05: Jasmine Pearls

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Jasmine Dragon Pearls

It’s the last tea kindness of the year! And what better way to end then with the revered Green tea:  Jasmine Pearls!

We offered this as part of our 25 Days of Tea last Christmas.  You can read about it here and learn a bit about its flavor profile. There is a lot of research around the healing and wellness properties of green tea and here are just 3 of them for you to ponder:

1. Bioactive compounds and loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which work as a powerful antioxidant and help reduce free radicals in the body. Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

2. May improve brain functions due to its caffeine content which is a stimulant. Caffeine works in the brain to block inhibitory neurotransmitters called Adenosine – which helps increase the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. It also contains a powerful amino acid called: L-theanine, which has anti-anxiety effects.

3. May lower risk of certain cancers which are caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. “It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect.” Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, which may help with:
  • Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women.
  • Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men.
  • Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer.

 

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Green Tea Martini. Shaken. Not stirred.

Now that you have some information on Jasmine Dragon Pearls and Green Tea, what better way to end the year then with a wonderful TeaCocktail recipe to ring in 2018! I first tried this delight at a bar in Harvard Square in Cambridge MA and was hooked! I hope you like it too:

Green Tea Martini:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup loose leaf jasmine green tea
3 or 4 ice cubes
1 liter vodka (or gin)
1/8 cup simple syrup
Rimming sugar

Directions:
Add the loose leaf jasmine tea to the bottle of alcohol and shake well. Steep the tea for two hours, before straining the leaves from the infused vodka or gin Meanwhile, chill your martini glasses in the freezer for at least half an hour. Put the ice cubes in a cocktail shaker until two-thirds full, then pour in the infusion and simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to water). Shake for about 15 seconds, then strain into the cold martini glasses rimmed with sugar and enjoy!

For our last Random Act of (Tea) Kindness, please enjoy 20% Off our Jasmine Dragon Pearls! This sale ends at 11:59pm on Dec 31st! Please use code: RATKJAS at check out!

This is the last post for 2017! Thank you all for following along!

Happy New Year!
Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

Tea Kindness #05: Jasmine Pearls

25 Days of Tea: Day 23 (Lovely Lauren)

 

apricot3-850x850TGIF! You made it through another week and the final Friday before Christmas!

How about something fruity, energizing and fun? Welcome Lovely Lauren. A black tea blended with mighty chunks of dried apricot. It’s a wonderful hot tea, and a superior iced tea. It’s another one of our most popular brews at our weekly farmers markets in Spring/Summer. This blend has caffeine, so if you a need boost to navigate the day, start with this cuppa, and you will have a nice even burst of energy to sustain you through the day of last minute work deadlines, shopping, socializing and wrapping gifts.

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Teatime w/Lovely Lauren (circa age 8)

Named after my eldest niece Lauren when she was about 7 years old because she loved having teatime with me, doing tea reviews and videos and because she loves anything fruity and sweet. Lauren was allowed to have small amounts of caffeine and she loved this flavored tea. Shes now 16 years old, drives herself to a job she loves: working in a pet store and rescue shelter to help find homes for many, many abandoned dogs. She still loves sweet things and a touch of sugar in her tea. I believe that’s in part due to her sweet nature. Try this delightful blend. You won’t be disappointed. Here are some notes on this fruity flavored tea:

• Overview:   Near and dear to our hearts and named after one of our most favorite people. Wonderfully fruity.
• Dry Leaf:    Smallish dark twisted leaves, medium brown, golden chunks of dried apricot
• Liquor (liquid):    Dark medium-reddish brown
• Aroma:   Upfront aroma of apricot
• Flavor notes:    Distinctly fruity – specifically apricot. Lingers on the palate. Strong yet smooth and easy going.
• Brewing recommendation:     Rolling boil / 212° Fº / 3-5 minutes.
• Caffeine: Yes

If you are interested in giving this tasty treat a try, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas tea shop today and use code: 25TEAS23 at checkout to get 25% of Lovely Lauren– today only!

Thank you for following along this past month and I wish you all a wonderful, tea-filled, joy-filled day!

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

#tealove
#teaunites
#teasaveslives
#sipteafeelhappy
#TeaTent
#teainDC
#teainVA
#teainMD
#25Teas
#lovelylauren
#blacktea
#apricot
#wellness

 

 

 

25 Days of Tea: Day 23 (Lovely Lauren)