Chai, green or sleepy-tea chamomile: why there's a blend for every person

Seek out teas that are free of artificial flavouring and are ethically sourced

Teas can be infused with ingredients that boost immunity, improve moods and aid relaxation. Courtesy Tania's Teahouse 
Teas can be infused with ingredients that boost immunity, improve moods and aid relaxation. Courtesy Tania's Teahouse 

In a world of constant hustling and bustling – from Zoom meetings and school runs, to admin work and countless errands – it often feels like there are never enough hours in the day, and we are always overstimulated, tired and in danger of burning out. There is one easy, age-old lifestyle hack that has been proven – by science and great anecdote tellers alike – to help the mind, body and soul. Tea.

We all have fond memories of our first passion, and mine was tea. Today’s is a coffee-centric world, but remember that coffee and too much caffeine in general leads to an artificial high and inevitable crash. Maintaining “zenergy” is where tea comes in.

Non-drinkers and even many tea-drinkers are unaware of the many types of tea and their plentiful health benefits. Most think the brew is either English breakfast, your go-to chai, green, or sleepy-tea chamomile. Breaking misconceptions of bland and generic flavours has been one of my biggest pleasures as a tea lover and teahouse owner, and what better occasion to do so than on International Tea Day, which falls on May 21?

Tania's Teahouse was named the 7th most Instagrammable cafe in the world by Big 7 Travel
Tania's Teahouse was named the 7th most Instagrammable cafe in the world by Big 7 Travel

The journey of tea is for everyone, come as you are and partake in the near-magical world of remedial herbs and leaves. There’s a potion for everyone and every purpose, whether it’s to boost collagen or concentration, improve sleep or skin, aid anxiety or fertility, reduce inflammation or soreness … I could go on, and I will.

Look out for ingredients that act as adaptogens. These can counteract the adverse effects of stress and eliminate toxins; they also allow our cells to utilise oxygen in a more efficient way, which in turn clears brain fog, leads to high energy levels and a more resilient body.

Immunity-building ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, gynostemma, ginkgo and burdock are perfectly at home in a cup of tea, as are ashwagandha root, maca, liquorice root, holy basil and rose hip, which can ease mood and hormone imbalances, and improve autoimmune conditions.

The herbs and leaves in tea blends have myriad health benefits. Photo courtesy Tania's Teahouse 
The herbs and leaves in tea blends have myriad health benefits. Photo courtesy Tania's Teahouse

Another prominent ingredient in most tea blends is L-theanine, an amino acid that alters brain function to induce relaxation and reduce stress. Studies have shown that the simple act of taking a few minutes to yourself to drink tea is relaxation in itself, as well as tea being a communal act that brings people together in many cultures.

One piece of advice is to drink teas that are free of artificial flavouring and are ethically sourced, so as to do yourself and hard-working tea farmers a favour. Having run a teahouse for three years now, here are the three in-house blends I’ve noticed flow the fastest among tea drinks in the UAE.

Tania Lodi, founder and owner of Tania's Teahouse cafe in Dubai  
Tania Lodi, founder and owner of Tania's Teahouse cafe in Dubai

Detox Tea-Tox. Laced with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as lemongrass (prevents infection), jiaogulan (increases resistance to environmental stress), camomile (super- soothing) and liquorice root (anti-inflammatory), this is a caffeine-free herbal tea blend.

Golden Glow. An elixir of ginger, turmeric, carrot, beet and pineapple, this blend is super-refreshing as an iced tea (hello, summer). Ginger and turmeric have immunity-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, carrots and pineapple aid in cell repair, and beetroot is full of nutrients.

Dat Cookie Dough. A guilt and calorie-free dessert tea, this is evocative of a fresh batch of cookies from the oven. It’s infused with calendula, which has antifungal properties, and camomile petals. Black tea, in general, is good for gut health, reduces blood pressure and increases metabolism.

Tania Lodi is founder of Tania’s Teahouse in Dubai, and featured in Caterer’s 25 Most Influential Women in Middle East F&B list this year

Updated: May 21, 2021 07:55 PM

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