October Weekly Alibi
David Edwards
Wouldn’t it be great if the things we liked to drink were also beneficial to our health? Lucky for tea drinkers, this is just the case. If tea is your beverage of choice, drink up! Every cup you consume comes packed with plenty of healthy rewards. The art of tea drinking is complex, but thanks to David Edwards, owner of New Mexico Tea Company, tea novices can rest easy.

“First, it is important to point out the difference between tea and herbs,” Edwards explained during a recent visit to his shop near the corner of Mountain and 12th. “There are only four different kinds of tea, all stemming from the same plant known as Camellia sinensis. These are green, black, white and oolong varieties, which are oxidized at different levels. Popular herbal blends like peppermint, chamomile and ginseng among others, are herbs and do not come from the tea plant, but still offer many benefits of their own.”

All teas contain antioxidants. High antioxidant content is most common in green and white teas but is also found in varying degrees in blacks and oolongs.

“While myth may have many under the impression that certain teas have specific benefits, most teas have the same benefits, but to different degrees depending on the type you prefer to drink,” said Edwards.

Edwards suggested that a good regimen for a tea drinker is to have a cup of black tea in the morning, a cup of oolong before meals, a cup of green tea after meals, white tea in the evening and a cup of rooibos before bed.

“Tea acts as a neutralizer for the body, so anything that may be out of whack — sleeping patterns, weight problems, headaches — tea works to balance the body and get you back to normal,” Edwards informed.

It is important to note that these benefits are the result of drinking tea regularly — about four or five cups a day — over an extended period of time. Once you find your favorite blend, however, chances are it won’t be a huge challenge.

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Black Tea

Assam From India

NM Tea Co. Assam The caffeine in black tea makes it an ideal way to start the day without overpowering the body. Drinking black tea aids in lowering cholesterol, stimulates the heart and circulatory system and promotes healthy teeth, skin and bones. Black tea contains just 20 percent of the caffeine in coffee.

White Tea

Bai Hao Silver Needles from China

NM Tea Co. Bai Hao Silver Needle This tea contains epichasin, which has been reported to facilitate weight loss, enhance resting metabolism rate, stimulate energy and regulate appetite. This tea has also been shown to inhibit both strep throat and staph infections, as well as certain cancers.

Green Tea

Gyokuro from Japan

NM Tea Co. Gyokuro Regular consumption has shown an increase in metabolic rate and fat oxidation. It has also been shown to regulate body temperature and blood sugar, lower cholesterol, promote good digestion and fight against certain cancers.

Pu-erh

From Yunnan, China

NM Tea Co. Pu-erh Puer tea is derived from the tea plant, but is often considered a separate variety of tea. It gets better with age and is usually consumed several years after it has been produced. Puer comes both in the form of loose-leaf tea and the compacted cake-like form known as a brick. Benefits of drinking this tea include lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, reduced fat in the body, prevention of cancer cell growth, proper digestion and reduced toxins in the body.

Rooibos

Blood Orange blend from South Africa

NM Tea Co. Blood Orange Rooibos This flowering shrub, native to South Africa, does not come from the tea plant. Rather, it is in a category all its own. Drinking rooibos regularly is advantageous to the skin, helps with allergies, is completely free of caffeine and aids in digestion and upset stomachs, as well as offers alleviation of respiratory problems.

Oolong

Tie Guan Yin from China

NM Tea Co. Tie Guan Yin oolong The quantities of beneficial ingredients in this tea vary depending on the extent of the oxidation process. Oolong acts as an appetite suppressor or a “diet pill” among teas, in that it rids the body of the fat content in the food it is digested with. This is a great tea to drink before meals because it also boosts metabolism.