Why We’re Craving These 3 Teas in the Time of Corona : Within the current social environment surrounding COVID-19, our priorities have significantly shifted since 2020 when the pandemic began. Our primary focus is now keeping ourselves and our families safe.
Tea fits well within the context of what’s most important to us in this moment – overall health and wellness, general well-being. In fact, today many are embracing the numerous benefits that tea has to offer – such as immunity-boosting antioxidants and stress relief.
Biologically speaking, tea is the beverage made specifically from the leaves that come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea comes in many diverse flavor profiles and colors, ranging from tangy green teas to rich black teas and even white teas. Of course, no tea can treat, cure or prevent any disease, including COVID-19, and many of the traditional therapeutic uses of tea have yet to be substantiated by modern research. Still, studies have concluded that coronaviruses could be inhibited by naturally occurring compounds abundant in certain teas , and that plays a big part in why so many people have turned to tea during the ongoing pandemic.
When Focusing on Wellness, Tea Shines
Indeed, for many of us, the past year has brought a shift in where we spend our days. We’ve pivoted from a former place of work or school to the home, and we found ourselves with more at-home time to steep our own tea. We’ve even found more time to create premium tea experiences at home, as opposed to having tea made on-demand at a café or fast-casual lunch place. Overall, teas which have perceived functional benefits have been on the rise over the last year.
Certainly, as the second most consumed beverage worldwide – after water – and as the single largest source of antioxidants in the human diet, there’s something fundamentally beneficial about tea that has made it an important part of traditional medicine cultures around the globe for the past 5,000 years. It’s a plant-based beverage with hundreds of powerful nutrients that nourish and hydrate. These beneficial phytochemicals can potentially help shut down active agents and precursors of disease. Moreover, the concept of disease prevention by use of plant-based foods and beverages has been studied as a practical approach to wellness for thousands of years.
The polyphenol antioxidants in tea specifically assist the immune system in managing chemically unstable molecules linked to aging and disease. Antioxidants work to stop the harmful action of these unstable molecules, called free radicals, before they cause damage to cells. At the deepest cellular level, antioxidants neutralize free radicals by stabilizing them chemically, thus rendering them inert. And each cup of freshly brewed whole-leaf tea can serve up more than 200 milligrams of polyphenol antioxidants.
Tea as a Natural Antiviral
How do antiviral teas work? When one hears the term “antiviral,” it’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusion, thinking that they’re something to take to kill pathogens. But antivirals do not function that way. Viruses are said to be “organisms at the edge of life,” tiny organic structures which don’t have a cell wall. They interact with living organisms in order to exist and replicate, and they’ll invade all types of cellular life to do so. How natural antiviral compounds work – including those in tea – is to effectively inhibit the early stage of attachment or replication of the virus once it gets into your cells.
Here’s a look at the three teas that became go-to’s for American consumers during the pandemic:
With its reputation as a one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, green tea is touted for its benefits in boosting immunity. Produced with minimal processing, green tea retains a fresh green color. This category yields moderate amounts of caffeine (20-30 mg/serving), about one-fifth that of coffee. The two most sought after leaf green teas in North America are “Clouds and Mist” from Chinaand Sencha from Japan.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is a tea powder made from ground high-quality Japanese green tea. When you drink matcha, you’re consuming the whole tea leaf – not just an infusion from the leaf. Traditionally, matcha is prepared by whisking the green tea powder in a bowl of warm-hot water. Alongside caffeine, L-Theanine is the molecule (commonly found in tea leaves) which can most immediately help us feel good when we drink tea, increasing alpha brain wave patterns to get us to simmer down.
Wild Pu’erh Tea
All tea comes from the same plant, but some Pu’erh teas are produced from wild tea trees. If you’ve read Lisa See’s best-selling novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, you have a good mental image of these trees. Strictinin, a bioactive chemical (not to be confused with Strychnine!) is present as the major tea polyphenol in the young leaves and buds of these wild Pu’erh trees – and they have the highest proportion of Strictinin of all tea types. The Strictinin compound has been found to be active against influenza viruses, acting directly on the viral replication site as an inhibitor to the process.
Crave-worthy in the Time of Corona
In 2021, people will continue to place primary emphasis on wellness and self-care. Natural ways to strengthen immunity and help reduce stress, or ways to bring one’s self “back into balance” will be highly sought after. Naturally, tea fits nicely with so many current needs and concerns, in addition to being affordable. Tea will continue to be crave-worthy now, in the time of Corona, and well into the future.
Maria Uspenski is the Founder and CEO of The Tea Spot, where her mission is to advance and empower healthy living through premium loose-leaf tea. Uspenski is also the author of Cancer Hates Tea and was recognized as a “Top Tea Health Advocate” by the World Tea Conference + Expo. She’s been featured in leading media outlets for her success as a social entrepreneur and as a certified tea and fitness nutrition expert. To learn more about The Tea Spot, as well as its teas and Steepware, visit TheTeaSpot.com.
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Why We’re Craving These 3 Teas in the Time of Corona
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 Chia-Nan Chen et al, Inhibition of SARS-CoV 3C-like Protease Activity by Theaflavin-3,3’-digallate (TF3). Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2005 Jun; 2(2): 209–215.
 Saha RK et al, Antiviral Effect of Strictinin on Influenza Virus replication. Antiviral Research, 2010 Oct;88(1):10-8. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2010.06.008. Epub 2010 Jul 6.