The Chinese scholar Lu Yu in his Cha Shung, the earliest treatise on tea, says, "When feeling hot, thirsty, depressed, suffering from headache, eye ache, fatigue of the four limbs or pains in the joints, one should only drink tea. Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude, relieves fatigue, awakens thought, prevents drowsiness and refreshes the body and mind." What else would be the most effective way to help you cope with the stress of day to day living in today's competitive world?
Red tea is known to have a soothing effect on the central nervous system and is a safe, long term herbal remedy for headaches, irritability, disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, stress, hypertension, panic attacks and even mild depression.
India is the largest producer of Red tea while Sri Lanka ranks second. Kenya and Vietnam are the new entrants. The best variety of Red tea is grown in Darjeeling located in the Himalayan region of India. In the West, Darjeeling has become synonymous with tea.
Rooibos or 'red bush' from South Africa is found to be a very potent variety of red tea prepared from the leaves of the herb Aspalathus linearis. Indigenous to the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa, Rooibos is the only red tea that undergoes a fermentation process similar to black tea. Fermentation turns the green leaves into a garnet colour and lends a very sweet flavor. Rooibos endowed with a very high magnesium ('Nature's tranquilizer') component, acts as a natural adaptogen i.e., that which helps the body adapt to stress.
Incidentally, Rooibos is almost caffeine-free. Research shows that 60 per cent of tea drinkers experience insomnia and anxiety due to the high caffeine intake, especially when they consume large quantities regularly. Rooibos has less than 1mg caffeine per cup as compared to even decaffeinated green tea that contains 30 mg caffeine per cup.
The Tibetan herbal red tea varieties, Sorig and Loong, are found to be very effective for alleviating stress when taken with salt and honey.
A common offshoot of Stress and depression is a weak immune system. Certain types of the Oolong variety of tea contain high concentrations of a particular amino acid which help strengthen the body's immune system response when fighting off infection.
Red tea also has a high concentrate of Thiamine, an amino acid, which enhances blood circulation to the brain, and thereby has a tranquilizing effect, and an increased cognitive activity and brain function.
Regular consumption of tea thus leaves you refreshed during the day and relaxed at night.