Tea Musings

Thoughts from the Tea Goddess.

Why Organic Teas?

As a natural health practitioner for twenty years I saw a lot of sick people. There were two things I noticed over and over. People get sick because of all the chemicals we ingest, and because of something we all have experienced….stress.

When I decided to open a tea shop I wanted to address both those issues.

Part of the reason tea addresses stress is because of L-Theanine, an amino acid found mainly in tea plants. L-Theanine works to block the effects of caffeine, which explains why tea is known for its calming effect. Studies suggest that L-Theanine increases the brain’s production of alpha waves, and that it has an effect on the brain similar to meditating. L-Theanine appears to help regulate production of serotonin and dopamine, which would also explain its relaxing properties. It is thought that L-Theanine may also help improve learning and memory abilities, and that it may assist in regulating blood pressure.

Tea also addresses stress is because of the ritual and atmosphere tea is usually taken in. Coffee can be picked up on the run from a drive thru, but tea is a different experience. Most tea drinkers like to sit down, take a deep breath, and relax for a few moments…connecting to simpler time outside of the “rat race”. Tea seems to elicit a reflective quality in people.

A lot of customers ask us why we chose to provide only organic teas in our shop. The answer is quite simple….it is so much healthier for you.

In organic tea production toxic chemicals are bypassed, freeing soil from exposure to harmful herbicides and pesticides. Compost, natural organic matter, and plants provide the necessary ground cover and nutrients. Studies show that healthy, live soil at an organic tea garden returns far higher crop yields.

Organic cultivation of tea is better for local wildlife. The Soil Association, an international organization for organic cultivation, notes that a typical organic field has five times as many wild plants, 57 percent more animal species, and 44 percent more birds than a conventionally cultivated farm. Conventional synthetic herbicides and pesticides often kill non-target animals, plants, and insects. In West Bengal, newspapers reported that at least 10 leopards and several elephants died due to leakage of pesticides from tea gardens between 1999 and 2001. When these pesticides are mixed with other solvents, they exert a massive toxic effect which affects wildlife and humans. Our question is; if these chemicals can kill an elephant, what does it do to the human body?

Many tea farmers spray their plants upwards of 15 to 20 times each year depending on pest infestations. The spraying is often done by untrained casual daily wage workers, sometimes even by children and adolescents, who are illiterate and cannot read the warnings on the containers. Despite the dangers of exposure to toxic materials, workers frequently are not protected by recommended safety gear such as masks, gloves, rubber boots, and polythene aprons. A lot of the countries who produce tea use chemicals that have been banned in many western countries.

If you buy foods that are not organically grown you can wash a lot of the chemicals off before you eat them. With tea, though, the first time you “wash” the leaves is when you brew the tea to drink it.

Organic tea tastes better! Try it for yourself.

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