A friend introduced me to the loveliness of hot tea about 12 years ago. We worked together in a cubicle in an accounting office and Sam was the type of young woman every one else envied. Always put together. Perfect manners. Confident. At ease with anyone and always knew what to say in any situation. Educated. She was working on her masters in Political Science, I believe. She had been an Army brat and had traveled the world with her family. She even kept a toothbrush kit in her purse and brushed her teeth after lunch every day. Sophisticated is the word that comes to mind when I think of Sam. And, of course, she drank herbal tea.
While I worked there, I seemed to get sick quite often. It was in an old annex building for a hospital and I'm quite certain it (and we) suffered from "sick building syndrome". I'm sure that it didn't help that I ate out of the vending machine daily. I wasn't yet a healthy food convert. Sam kept tea bags stashed in her desk drawer along with a mug and a bottle of honey. She encouraged me to try some hot herbal tea with honey once while I was sick. It was wonderful and ever since then, I have been a tea drinker. Even my sons love hot tea now (except my oldest). Papa Bear prefers sweet iced tea and never really cared for hot tea until he spent his time in Afghanistan, where it's a daily custom and it would have been rude to refuse. They call their tea "chai", even though what Papa Bear drank was an Earl Grey blend. He even brought his little glass mug and several boxes of tea home and enjoys a cup on occasion, reminiscing.
Well, the inspiration for this post is my raging sore throat. Each winter, our family gets one really nasty bug that everyone in town seems to be sharing and we have had it the past couple of weeks. It started with NG, who had a mild case, then spread to IB, then LJ and M2 developed croup, then Papa Bear...and, now, I have it. My throat is so sore that I can barely swallow and am scared to cough even a little. My husband thinks it's a little strange that I have been scratching my neck like crazy too. Coincidentally, I had to take Levi to the minor emergency care center last New Year's Day for strep throat. The first thing I did when I got out of bed this morning was boil some water for tea. One of my favorite teas right now is Chai green tea with raw honey and a little almond milk. With the first swallow of that warm, spicy, sweet drink, my throat felt so much better. I was already thinking about my second cup before I finished the first. More Chai? Or peppermint? Or chamomile? I have considered more complex teas, such as Traditional Medicinals' Throat Coat, but they contain herbs that are not recommended during breastfeeding.*
I love a cup of hot tea. It just makes me feel calm and relaxed, even when the little tornados are whirling around the house undoing everything I just did. Well, as long as I close my eyes while drinking it. Some people prefer coffee or sodas, but not me. Coffee leaves an unpleasant aftertaste and will upset my stomach. Sodas just aren't good for you. Period. And do you know what I choose when I want something cold to drink that isn't water or juice? Sweet iced tea.
Are you a tea drinker? What are your favorite varieties?*Please do the research before taking any herbs if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have any underlying health conditions. Natural does NOT always mean safe.