The botanical roots of modern medicine R everywhere – if U know where to look. 5 thousand years ago, Chinese physicians discovered (legend says a Chinese emperor discovered tea when leaves from a nearby bush drifted into his boiling water.) that tea made from the huang plant, Chinese ephedra, relieved asthma & chest congestion. Today ephedra is available at health food stores & herb shops & through mail – order herb catalogs, and is still widely used to treat the chest congestion of colds, flu & allergies. In fact, millions of people who have no idea they’re taking a medicinal herb regularly use a chemical modeled after a constituent of ephedra. “ One chemical in Chinese ephedra is the decongestant pseudoephedrine,” explains Varro Tyler, Ph.D., professor of pharmacognosy at purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, & author of The New Honest Herbal. Pharmaceutical companies now synthesize pseudoephedrine as the decongestant in Actifed, Allerest, Contact, Tylenol Cold & Flu, Nyquil, Formula 44 & cold formulas & allergy products. One brand – Sudafed – even takes the name from pseudoephedrine.


These days, ever – increasing #s of people R returning to herbs – or learning about them for the 1st time. Here R some things that I pulled up from books and a Sunday article.


 Recent Studies in leading medical journals declare tea a potential heart tonic, cancer blocker; fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother; virus fighter & cholesterol detoxifier. A chemical in green tea may bring dying brain cells back to life. They showed the EGCG (epigallocatechine gallate), green tea’s main antioxidant, revived animal neurons resembling those killed by Parkinson’s disease. Adding small amounts of ECGC to dying brain cells made them bounce back; they became healthier & grew new dendrites (nerve appendages that carry messages from cell to cell). Not bad for a lowly shrub soaked in a little hot water: “Tea is beating all scientific expectations as the most potent health beverage ever;” (John Weisbuger at American Health Foundation.) “The many ways tea can promote health is truly astonishing.”

Bottom line: Each day U should drink 3 to 6 cups of tea. It can be black or green, hot or iced, decaf or not; see the box at right for details. Here’s how tea helps your health:


Saves Arteries. Drinking black tea made with the fully oxidized leaf of the Camellia sinensis tea bush helps prevent deadly clogging of arteries & reverses poor arterial functioning that can trigger heart attacks & strokes. (Tea contains 100ths of compounds called polyphenols. These compounds act like antioxidants – that is, they help neutralize harmful oxygen molecules in the body known as free radicals) 2 major new studies have found. In a large 10 – year study in the Netherlands, men who consumed the amount of antioxidants called “catechins” found in 3 cups of black tea were 50 % less likely to die of ischemic heart disease, caused by narrowed clogged arteries, than were men whom consumed only the catechins in ½ cup of tea.

  In another recent test, Joseph Vita, M.D., of Boston University School of Medicine, had heart patients drink either plain water or four cups of black tea daily. In a month, impaired blood vessel functioning (a risk factor for heart attack & strokes) improved about 50 % in the tea drinkers. (U see the body doesn’t break down all at once. They’re typically preceded by years of steadily increasing damage, in which the body’s dangerous low – density lipoprotein LDL cholesterol oxidizes & gradually clings to artery walls, making them stiff & narrow.)


For the best benefits…

J   Drink both black & green tea, the regular kind sold in bags or leaves in grocery stores.

J   Green tea is the finest & least processed. The taste is light & subtle.

J   Black tea, is a rich source of natural plant antioxidants that neutralize harmful free radicals, helping the body to nurture its natural good health, with its strong & hearty taste, is green tea that has been fermented for 6 hrs. Or so. (Fermentation turns the green leaves black.)

J   Bottled tea & instant tea have few antioxidants, researchers shows.

J   Herbal teas do not have the same health properties as real tea (Camellia sinensis)

J   Tea with caffeine has slightly more antioxidant activity.

J    Steep tea leaves or bags in hot water 3 to 5 minutes to thoroughly release antioxidants or you can do what I do, drink the tea with the bag in it!!!

J   Adding milk to tea does not block absorption of antioxidants, new Dutch research finds.


Don’t give much tea to children. Tea “Chelates” iron, removing it from the body. That may help combat chronic disease but can cause anemia in young people.

Green tea causes mild stomach upsets in some people. & it does contain caffeine ( approximately equivalent to a ½ cup of coffee) Excess caffeine can cause nervousness, sleeplessness, anxiety,  & headaches.


 Inhibits Cancer growth. Every time U fry a hamburger, compounds called heterocyclic amines from on the surface of the food. In the body these chemicals turn into more dangerous forms, which can cause cancer, says John H. Weisburger, Ph.D., senior member of the American Health Foundation In Valhalla, N.Y. Enter the tea polyphenols. Inside the body these compounds help prevent the formation of potential carcinogens, in other words, they help stop cancer before it begins.

Tea has long been tied a lower risk of stomach, colon & breast cancer, although the connection is not proven. Now lab studies find that tea chemicals actually may stop cancer growth. Rutgers University researchers showed that a compound in black tea called TF – 2 caused colorectal cancer cells to “commit suicide”; normal cells were unaffected. “The effect is quite dramatic,” (Rutgers professor Kuang Yu Chen who speculates that the chemical might one day be made into an anti – cancer drug.)


Tames Inflammation. Researches at Case Western Reserve University gave arthritis – prone mice either green tea or water. The human equivalent of 4 cups of green tea daily halved the mice’s risk of developing arthritis. Also intriguing: TF – 2, the newly discovered anti – cancer compound in black tea, suppresses the Cox – 2 gene that triggers. That’s the same way the drugs Vioxx & Celebrex work.

  Also in a UCLA a study of 600 Chinese men & women, drinking green tea halved the risk of chronic stomach inflammation, which can lead to cancer.


Wipes out Viruses. Tea can help prevent the pain of toothache, since it contains numerous compounds, polyphenols as well as tannin that act as antibiotics. Frankly speaking, tea is great for mopping up bacteria that promote tooth decay. Tea also contains fluoride, which provides further dental protection.  When researchers at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston tested a variety of foods for their antibacterial qualities, they found that tea was far & away the most protective. Japanese researchers at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, have identified 4 compounds in tea – tannin, catechin, caffeine, & tocopherol (a Vit. E – like substance) that help increase the acid resistance of tooth enamel.

 Previous tests prove tea can neutralize germs, including some that cause diarrhea, pneumonia, and cystitis & skin infections. New research by Milton Schiffenbauer of Pace University finds that black & green tea deactivates viruses, including herpes. When you drink tea, he says, chances are good you will wipe out viruses in your mouth. Even Flu viruses ? Possibly. A recent Japanese study showed that black tea boosted immunity to influenza. Recent research at Harvard indicated that tea chemicals stimulated gamma delta T – cells that bolster immunity against bacteria & viruses.

 Burns Calories. Most surprising, green tea’s antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) stimulates the body to burn calories, (Research on weight loss points to 1 of the tea’s active substances, epigallocatechin gallate which indirectly boosts your body’s production of the hormone nor-adrenaline, which increases metabolism.) notably fat. In a Swiss study, a daily dose of 270 mg EGCG (the amount in 2 to 3 cups of green tea) caused men to burn 4% more energy (about 80 extra calories a day). Green tea did not increase heart rate, & the calorie burning was not due to caffeine.

Plus: Canadian researchers block cavities in mice by replacing their water with tea. Indian eye researchers have retarded cataracts in rats by feeding the animals tea extract. Israeli scientist block Parkinson’s – like brain damage in mice by giving them green tea extract or pure EGCG.


Regulatory Limbo

If herbs R so great, why aren’t they more widely known & used?

To claim that any herb or pharmaceutical has medicinal value, it must be either a traditional medicine specifically exempt from current Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates or it must win FDA approval by passing a series of rigorous scientific teats. In the early 1960’s, when current FDA rules were drafted, herbal medicine was nowhere near as popular as it is today, so only a few herbs were grandfathered in.1 was Mint, which contains menthol, an approved treatment for nasal & chest congestion. But the vast majority of herbs were not exempted. They were ignored.

The FDA approval process costs a fortune – more than $ 100 Million per drug. Large pharmaceutical companies have these vast sums & are willing to invest them, because new drugs can be patented & sold, often at high prices, to recoup development & approval costs. (Plants cannot be patented so the FDA is not interested).

 Concerns about safety Many people - & their doctors who want to try herbs approach the subject with caution. If herbs really have medicinal value, R they safe to use?

Herbal experts say that medical journals through the years have tended to over report herb hazards & underreport their benefits. Journals have created the impression that using medicinal herbs is a fairly risky thing to do. Statistics compiled by the American Association of Poison control Centers tell a different story. During recent (& typical) years, pharmaceuticals caused 974 deaths & 6,978 major nonfatal poisonings. Plants caused just 2 deaths & 53 major poisonings. Herbal medicines caused virtually no problems. The most hazardous plants were not herbal medicines but ornamentals: jade, holly, poinsettia, schefflera, philodendron & dieffenbachia. The typical victim was a child under age 5 who ingested the plant by accident.

 While the vast majority of herbal medicines present no danger to health, using them does require knowledge & proper caution. Too much of any good thing can cause harm, & studies show that a few herbs that were once considered safe for internal use in fact hazardous. In large doses, comfrey – a traditional digestive remedy – can cause liver damage. So can coltsfoot, long used to treat a cough. In addition, just any herb might cause an allergic reaction. (For Mothers to be. Please consult an herbal consultant or a Doctor with the knowledge of herbs).

 It’s Never to late to take steps to protect your health. Often, all that’s needed is to combat deficiencies & a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. (Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, quit smoking and ingesting the proper foods.)

Here R some of the teas I have tried & quite frankly there are good!!!


Tea poached Figs


4 – 8 dried figs.

4 cups water

1 Strip Orange rind

Cinnamon stick or powder

3 – 4 Orange flavored tea bags


Golden Honey Darjeeling Punch

3 – Flavored Honey Darjeeling Black Tea Bags.

1 ½ – Cups Water

1 – tablespoon honey


2 tablespoons lemon juice

11/2 cups ginger ale

1 cup lemonade concentrate

1 – sliced Orange

*     Cut off & discard the stems of the figs.

Pierce each fig in 1 – 2 places with the tip of a sharp knife or fork.

In a tea kettle or pot bring the water to a boil. (You can use the same kettle or pot, but best if poured in a separate teapot). In the teapot combine tea bags, figs, Orange rind & Cinnamon powder. Let stand for at least 5 min. then serve.

U can also put a fig in the teacup with a part of cinnamon stick for décor & another fun thing is as opposed to inserting 4 to 8 figs U can add more and serve it on the side the figs saturated with the tea give it a distinct flavor.

      Bring to a boil & pour 1 ½ cups over tea bags. Steep 6 – 7 min. Squeeze & remove tea bags. Add honey, stir until dissolved. Cool down by adding ice = to a cup. Add lemon juice to tea mixture & chill. Before serving, combine ginger ale, lemonade & orange slices. Mix and serve on the rocks.


Hot teas with Honey.

Drink several cups of your favorite tea, & add a tablespoon of Honey. It will not only sooth your throat, but is loaded with immune – stimulating antioxidants. (For extra Vit. C, drink rose – hip tea. Marshmallow – root & raspberry – leaf tea R especially kind to a sore throat.)



Recent studies show that this popular beverage herb does indeed calm jangled nerves, relieve stomach distress, prevent ulcers & speed their healing & help fight infection by stimulating the immune system. “Chamomile tea is an excellent home remedy for indigestion, heartburn & infant colic”, says Dr. Duck. “It has mild relaxant & sedative properties”.

Possible side effects: Runny eyes and Nose


Mint The ancient Egyptians relied on Peppermint and Spearmint to relax the digestive tract. Chinese & traditional Indian Ayurvedic physicians used them to treat colds, coughs & fever. European herbalist adopted all these uses. “Mints continue to be widely used as stomach soothers”, Dr. Tyler exclaims.

Possible side effects: Intestinal cramps.


Hot Water & Lemon, Found out about it several years ago, I personally find it soothing and rich in Vit C. great for colds. Studies show that lemon juice is a popular home remedy for numerous ailments, particularly colds, coughs, & sore throat. It is sometimes taken also for headaches & rheumatism. Externally, lemon juice can be used on sunburn, warts, corns, & it is currently enjoying a revival of interest as a hair rinse & facial astringent. Lemons have a good source of Vit. C & astringency also make lemon powder useful to stop bleeding in wounds.


Black, Green and White Teas

Each of these teas, are created by processing the leaves from the Camellia sinensis tea bush slightly differently. Black tea from fully oxidized tea leaf for the most robust, full – bodied cup, a heart – healthy tea choice. Green tea, Steamed to retain its fresh, smooth taste. White. Picked each spring & dried simply for a delicate, slightly sweet tea.


Chai. (Usually containing Cardamom & Cloves). This traditional beverage of India blends exotic spices with rich black tea.


Herb Teas. Which contain no Camellia sinensis tealeaves. They can calm, energize, refresh, & delight naturally, depending on their ingredients. Many R as antioxidant rich as fruits & vegetables.


Lemon Balm, (cousin to the mint family). A tasty, lemon – scented tea can be used daily. Very soothing to the nervous system. Must be steeped at least 10 min.

And so many more!!!!


Rose Tea, Almost every one loves Roses. What makes these beautiful aromatic flowers so interesting is the amount of properties they contain. Cleopatra had her servants fill the entryway ankle deep with rose petals, hoping that the fragrance would open Marc Antony to her seductive charms. In Aromatherapy it is regarded for relaxation, feelings of love and tranquility. Roses R related to Apples, Cherries & Pears.

Rosehips R the fresh seed pods at the base of the flower. The deep red fruit of the wild rose that flourishes in the lush valleys of Chile is a concentrated source of Vit. C Approx. 10 times as much as Oranges, ounce per ounce. Its rich oil stimulates tissue repair, most top quality cosmetics contain Rosehips do to this reason. I use to take the petals of a Ruby Red Rose after is has dried up and make tea out of it knowing that it came from my garden, I was not worried about any chemical process.


Rooibos Tea Made from the leaves of a South African bush, this caffeine free brew packs nearly the antioxidant punch of green tea, with much fuller flavor. (Madagascar tea from celestial is my favorite).


There’s many new concoctions coming out this year, Blueberry Breeze a Green tea, Black Cherry Pomegranate Black Tea, Morning Thunder which includes Roasted mate` & Black Tea, Almond Sunset a caffeine free tea Ingredients: Roasted carob, barley & chicory, Cinnamon, Orange peel, Natural Almond Flavor W/ other Natural flavors (contains soy lecithin  & Almond oil) Blackberry leaves & Anise seed. Naming a few.


With growing evidence that tea is good for you, it’s increasingly clear that drinking tea everyday is a healthy life choice.




    Here’s a new catch on coffee. We had gone to Hawaii, the big island Kona to be precise and went on a conglomerate of interesting tours, one which stuck out in my mind, is the volcanic coffee, it tasted a little different than all the rest. Even though it comes from a vine looking plant first starting out as a green berry, ripening into a bright red, ready for harvesting berry,  the first layer is like a thick skin of a grape, then there’s the sweet liquid that oozes out followed by a thin membrane that circumferences the seed, laid out to dry and put through a mill to separate the dried shell, here is where it gets interesting; reading an article of researchers in Japan using harvested green (un roasted) coffee seeds (bean) made into an extract administered to mice, in this study their findings were of mice that lost up to 35% more weight than a controlled group. The secret is a mixture of 2 compounds found in green coffee beans: Caffeine and Chlorogenic acids burn fat stored in the body. Chlorogenic acid helps the liver to process them.


Note: As in everything, all things should be taken in moderation, some plants can be troublesome in large doses or for sensitive people.



Source of reference: Natural Health Magazine, USA Weekend, Earl Mindell New Herb Bible, New Foods for Healing by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books, Daily News, Celestial Seasonings, Nature’s Cures, The Week 5.19.06,



Brought to U by www.Nancysuniverse.com