White Tea Part I: The Perfect Winter Pick-Me-Up
For generations of British subjects and ancient Chinese sages alike, there’s only one certain cure for whatever ails you. When all else fails, have a cup of tea. But does tea deserve its reputation as the perfect holistic remedy? I think it does—which is why my own prescriptions for a happy healthy winter include curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot tea. This year, I’ve also been suggesting my clients try a variety of tea that’s relatively new to the American market--white tea. White tea comes from the immature leaves of the same tea bush, Camillia ginensis, that’s used to make green tea. While we’ve all heard a lot about the benefits of green tea, it turns out that white tea may be an even healthier choice. After harvesting, white tea undergoes only minimal processing. Because it’s left closer to its natural state than green or fermented versions, white tea has a more delicate taste—and a significantly higher concentration of antioxidant flavanoids. The antioxidant activity of these plant-derived nutrients plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of our body by · enhancing immune response · improving cell-to-cell communication · regulating estrogen metabolism · inhibiting tumor growth · repairing free radical damage Flavanoids also have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and antiallergenic effects. Scientific studies indicate that their ability to prevent blood clots may help decrease the risk of strokes. Research also suggests that high flavanoid intake may help prevent heart attacks and cancer as well. With all these beneficial effects, it should come as no surprise that drinking white tea is also good for your skin. But it’s not just the physical but also the mental effects of white tea that make it such a potent holistic remedy. In China, tea was originally used as a medicine for improving mood and mental prowess, as well as eyesight and digestive and kidney function. Tea’s association with an alert, yet calm and harmonious mental state persisted in Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Monks in China and other countries where these religions are practiced continue to rely on tea as an aid to meditation. In fact, in Taoist tradition, the very act of preparing and drinking tea has been refined and ritualized as a form of meditation. This link between tea drinking and mental clarity is now supported with scientific studies on the antioxidant properties of flavanoids that show these free radical scavengers can help reduce age-related memory problems, as well as the fatigue, irritability, and sadness associated with depression. Today’s scientists have also discovered that putting white tea extracts on our bodies as well as in them can also help promote radiant, youthful-looking skin. In fact, white tea leaf extract is an important ingredient not only in my organic peels and Lavie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask but also in my skin creams and serum. I’ll tell you more about how this organic extract can enhance your skin care regimen in my next blog post. In the meantime make yourself a nice cup of white tea. But instead of gulping your daily dose of anti-aging nutrients on the run, keep in mind the gentle rhythms of the Taoist tea ceremony, and as you enjoy the taste, imagine the warm, fragrant liquid dissolving your mind and body into the eternal universe.