by Carly Turner
Tea is perhaps one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. Tea, second to water, is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
Despite being such a widely consumed beverage, many are unaware of the vast amount of culture and tradition which can accompany this aromatic and flavorful elixir.
In classical Chinese tradition there is tea ceremony called “gongfu cha” which can be translated as “preparing tea with skill.”
To drink tea ceremoniously is to create a space of positive intention, to become one with the tea and one with the mountain from where the tea grew. This study questioned whether drinking tea that was prepared with intention could impact or enhance mood more than drinking ordinarily prepared tea. Good intentions really did impact the absorption of the antioxidants and the good-feeling impact of the tea consumption was elevated.
“Proust was the first person to study the science that aromas and taste recalls memories. For me, I started to associate taste and smells with memories, especially tea. Our mind only has two senses that science has proven that can recall memories— taste and smell. So I’ve been able to focus on creating things. I came out with the ‘Almost Cake’ which is tied to my best friend, I only drink it on his birthday,” says Andrew Richardson, owner of LiquidProust.com.
Many people believe that tea promotes multi-cultural community, brings people of all different races, languages and continents together.
“I’m a people lover and tea is the medium. It’s a great unifier,” says Brandon Lannon, student and tea aficionado studying philosophy and literature for a Bachelor’s in a Liberal Arts program at Dharma Realm Buddhist University in Ukiah, California.
“Tea is a huge gift because it is something we have in common. Even though we might have a different culture, race or society we can share tea. At least that can be the initial invitation to start to learn about each other which is important in today’s age,” says Lannon.
In addition to bringing people together it can have great impact on the drinker’s body and mind.
“Take a break, let your mind do its thing. There’s this thing that kills Americans—stress. Tea is something that helps take away that stress. We have very young people having a midlife crisis. I’ve never had a time when someone was drinking tea and had a panic attack. Even if we talk about some of the nasty things in life it’s a calm discussion. We have a couple brews, talk some more. Then we drink some more and talk some more,” says Richardson.
“Because of what’s in tea, including L-theanine and other constituents, it creates a sense of grounded-ness and focus. I think that those two things are what is needed to be present in the moment and to connect with people,” says Lannon.“Tea does things to the body. Drink it, and because it has caffeine and L-theanine your body doesn’t know what to do with it, then you’re in a taste of bliss,” says Richardson.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea, has been shown in studies to have a relaxing effect when consumed. This study from 1999 reveals that 40 minutes after administering theanine to humans significant relaxation without drowsiness was present.
Another substance found in tea is EGCG catechin. A study from 2016 in the Journal of Biomedical Science states green tea catechin helps relax the cardiac muscles. This not only may prevent heart disease, it can also help relax the entire body.
Brewing tea with intention is a great way to enjoy an energizing and uplifting beverage without the negative side-effects of energy drinks or coffee. It can also be shared with friends to cultivate a sense of community.