Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lemon Myrtle -- cure for the common cold?

Lemon myrtle, indigenous to Australia, is a tropical rainforest shrub that can grow into a full tree. It is a less fragrant relative of the eucalyptus, also a native Australian tree. Lemon myrtle’s scientific name is Backhousia citriodora, a tribute to James Backhouse, an English botanist as given by Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, a German botanist who was curator of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens in 1853. The leaves of the Lemon myrtle plant make a wonderful healthful beverage that has kept many SensibiliTeas customers free of the symptoms of the common cold and stomach flu since its introduction two years ago.

The main flavor constituent of Lemon myrtle is citral, which is responsible for most of the lemon scents and flavors in nature, including that found in the lemon fruit, in lemongrass, lemon balm, and lemon verbena. Citral has several medicinal uses. It is a potent antiseptic and may prove useful in treating gastro-intestinal infections, including Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for many cases of gastric ulcer. It has antispasmodic properties that help alleviate intestinal spasms, as may occur with intestinal infections or adverse reactions to foods. Overall, it has a relaxing effect. Further, one of its modern applications is for treating throat disorders, either due to infection or to overuse and irritation.Lemon myrtle is great as a beverage all by itself, but beautifully complimented by the addition of honey. It can also be found in several tea blends at SensibiliTeas:
Pacific Spring –- Organic Gunpowder green tea with lemon myrtle
Raven’s Zest –- Ceylon black tea with lemon myrtle
Myrtle White –- Organic Pai Mu Tan with lemon myrtle
Myrtle Mint -– Lemon myrtle with Organic American Peppermint – great for colds symptoms
African Outback – Rooibos and lemon myrtle -- perfect for cold prevention -- from the bestsellers list!
SereniTea – A calming, relaxing blend of organic chamomile flowers, lemon myrtle, jasmine flowers, peppermint and lavender flowers.
Waves of Joy – Organic ginger, rosehips, lemongrass & lemon myrtle
A custom blend of Tulsi (Holy Basil), Olive Leaf and Lemon Myrtle makes a delightful detox blend … still working on a name … I’m thinking Holy Detox … any comments?

Lemon Myrtle is safe for all ages, and delicious both hot and iced. However, it is advised that those allergic or sensitive to citrus products avoid usage of this product due to it’s high citral content.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The obvious birthday ...

George Washington’s first recorded tea order included a request for six pounds of the finest Hyson tea England. His breakfast at Mount Vernon was routinely three cups of tea, no cream or sugar--the correct way to drink green tea, and three hoecakes made from Indian cornmeal with honey and butter.

According to Tea with Presidential Families by Beulah Munshower Sommer and Pearl Dexter, orders for tea were placed for both Mount Vernon and his Philadelphia residence. These orders included requests for Gunpowder green tea and Young Hyson. George Washington drank tea regularly before the American Revolutionary War, after the Boston Tea Party, while he was the commanding general during the war, and during his presidency, as did most Americans.
It is estimated that Americans at the time of the American Revolution drank more tea per capita than any other nation on earth, at times averaging ten pounds of tea yearly for every man, woman, and child. (One pound of tea makes about 200 cups of tea, so that’s 2000 cups of tea yearly!) He loved the best gourmet green tea and continued to buy highest quality teas throughout the war (Dutch ships carrying tea and supplies were allowed in). In the book George Washington’s Expense Account, by Marvin Kitman, records show that he purchased tea costing over $20 a pound (calculated to 1970 prices). I wonder if American Revolutionary War re-enactors know of George's love of tea ...

After he became the first American President, tea was always served for state occasions.
George and Martha Washington brought with them to the Presidency several complete tea sets as well as tea boards, tea tables, tea chests, silver teaspoons, and a silver-plated tea urn.

In honor of George's great love for green tea, particularly gunpowder green tea and Young Hyson, I'm placing both on sale through the end of the month (02/28/09) at 10% off. If you are placing an online order, please make reference to ``blogspot 022209'' in the Special Comments section of the online form. If you are making an in-ship purchase, please remind me of the sale. The highlighted words oin the articles I write are links to either my website or other sites of interest and/or relevance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Guess who's coming to dinner!

In honor of Sidney Poitier's 81st birthday on 02/20, enjoy a fabulous cup of tea while you consider …

If you could invite any 12 historical figures to dinner, who would they be? Though I’ve considered this for a lifetime, my list is not yet complete. Folks drop off the list and find their way on to the list as my life goes on. Here, though, are those who top the list (in no particular order):

Shen Nung
Albert Einstein
Queen Elizabeth I
Thich Nhat Hanh

Alexander the Great
Helen of Troy

Mohandas Gandhi
Benjamin Franklin

Leonardo Da Vinci
Nelson Mandela

What conversations would occur? Would every joke be lost? Would any of them wish to remain alive? And what would they wish to change if they
did remain alive? How would the world change?
What's our menu? What's our setting? Color scheme? Theme for dinner?

It’s interesting how almost everybody’s list (including my own) is primarily men and usually they’re dead!

There are many folks I’d love to invite, but just don’t make the grade for dinner. So how about a tea reception for the leftover folks? (Again in no particular order)
Sidney Poitier
Mary Queen of Scots
Maya Angelou
Edgar Allan Poe
George III
Crazy Horse
Henry VIII
Sigmund Freud
Lewis & Clark
Janis Joplin
Sojourner Truth
Alfred Hitchcock
Teddy Roosevelt
Eric Clapton
Susan B. Anthony
Princess Diana
Louis XIV
Tim Russert
Marie Antoinette
Bob Marley
Frederick Nietzsche
Mark Twain
Mother Teresa
Stephen Hawking
Adam & Eve
Julia Child
Jimmy Hoffa
King Arthur

Feel free to leave your list ... could be fun!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Lady with The Alligator Purse

Susan Brownell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in West Grove near Adams, Massachusetts, the oldest of seven children. Under her mother’s influence and her father’s open-mind, this precocious child grew up to be a lasting inspiration as a rights leader extraordinaire. (Abolitionist, prominent player in the temperance movement, women’s rights activist, suffragist for blacks and women, and more!)

She lived most of her life in a brick house located at 17 Madison Street in Rochester, NY, sharing it with her mother and sister, while other extended family members lived next door and across the street. This house is also the site of her famous arrest for voting in 1872.

This house is only a few blocks from where longtime friend Frederick Douglass had lived during his time in Rochester, when he was publishing his abolitionist newspaper The North Star. A block away from the Susan B. Anthony house and halfway to where Douglass’ house stood there is a sculpture in a park-like setting of Douglass and Anthony having tea, which represents the cordial relationship that they had in real life. (Can you imagine the conversations they must have had?!)

Another tidbit about Susan B. Anthony …
Did you know that Miss Anthony carried an alligator purse with her everywhere she traveled? It’s on display at the Susan B. Anthony house in Rochester. Could she have been ``the lady with the alligator purse’’ chanted about in clapping games and jump roping? So say the guides at the Susan B. Anthony house.

Miss Lucy called the doctor,
Miss Lucy called the nurse,
Miss Lucy called the lady with the alligator purse.

Mumps, said the doctor,
Measles, said the nurse,
Vote! said the lady with the alligator purse.

This isn’t how I remember it … it’s not even how I recall imagining an alligator purse. This is how I imagined the purse …

Oooo ... is the blog starting to prove how my mind and imagination works? Oh well, you can see I fully enjoy humor (and I have no real fashion sense)!

I first learned of Susan B. Anthony when she was mentioned in a ditty called Sufferin’ til Suffrage on my favorite childhood program, Schoolhouse Rock. You can view it here:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Let’s talk about love

Well, we've successfully survived another Friday the 13th, and gently progressed into the loving holiday of Valentine's Day. 20% discount now through 02/21/09 to blog readers when blog021409 is placed in the special comments field of the online order form, or if a blog reader reminds me of the sale Have a fabulous Valentine's Day! Fill the world with love no matter where you are!

Kashmiri Rose The marriage of spice and floral, creates an unusually bold, strong and spicy black tea with a sweet and subtle rose aftertaste. Romantic and sensual
Amore Blend of organic flower-scented white teas, wild roses, organic peppermint, and seasonally selected botanicals. Great for an after meal pick up or late night elixir used to refresh the mind and enhance the mood. One pot can make the night sweet and reminiscent. Share it with someone you love.
Essence de l'Amour This beautiful full-leaf white tea has been enhanced with the addition of large red rose petals. This heady combination produces a tea with a delicate body and refreshing floral taste. The perfect way to say "I Love You!"
Forget-Me-Not Rooibos A blend of blackberry, jasmine and rose rooibos with blackberry leaves and jasmine flowers.
Valentine Black tea united in love with the taste of chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Antony & Cleopatra Black Hearts The tradition of pressing black teas into various forms and shapes dates back to the early Song Dynasty, 960 – 1279 BC. Sculptors and artisans would work with tea the way others worked with clay or textiles to form and mold delicate works of art. Unlike traditional art pieces however, these tea creations were never meant to be permanent, instead serving to represent the impermanence of life, love and happiness here on earth. In the modern era, the traditions continue and the stories and fables of life and love still serve as the inspiration for the creation of unique tea pieces. A bold taste with deep red wine notes. Reminiscent of seasonal Keemun.
Romeo & Juliet Tea Hearts The ancient tea makers of Yunnan, who developed the method of pressing tea into miraculous shapes back in medieval China, knew that when things were done well, amazing results could be achieved. To start, they knew that you couldn’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Which is to say that the world’s greatest tea techniques were useless if they didn’t start with the best ingredients. Subsequently, to create their works of art, only the finest teas from gardens high in the clear air of the Yunnan mountains were used. When processed into their tiny forms, whether a bird’s nest, crown, flower or in this case a heart, the teas they created took on a life of their own, transcending the time and place of their creation. Nowadays, a visit to Yunnan will show that the same level of care goes into the production of the province’s famous pressed teas. The finest leaf available makes its way to the factory where it is steamed and pressed into forms before drying. Like the famous love story, this tea has the power to take you away to another time and place.
Thankfully unlike the tragic story, this is a happy place where the tea is fresh with a cup that’s light on the nose, grassy and full-bodied hinting at honey with subtle astringent notes. Shakespeare would have loved this one.
Lover's Triple Blossom Tea legend has it that the creator of Lovers Triple Blossom found a parallel between the idea that the flowers picked by the maiden could provide a glimmer of warmth in her heart and the fact that his teas could do the same thing. Inspired, he picked the finest blooms of jasmine, amaranth and lavender, and tied them in with a delicate full leaf green tea. The tea he created was bright, with a bouquet of fresh cut flowers. The cup displayed a fresh grassiness punctuated with floral blooms and undertones of honey. He knew in an instant he had achieved the pinnacle of his life’s work.
Longing Heart Although it is not certain when it was first produced, legend has it that Longing Heart was created by an old Anhui teamaster in an effort to soothe the yearning of his heart when making the long trek to the markets of Beijing. He took the fresh young shoots of the finest bushes of his native Huang Shan district and painstakingly tied them with chrysanthemum petals into an ancient symbol for the human heart, a pearl within a shell. Now, when sitting around a fire on the market trail he could brew a pot of tea, watch the leaves unfold, and in his heart feel that he had never left his beloved home. Over the years the master enjoyed the tea in solitude. One day at the Beijing market however, a local buyer noticed the special tea in a pouch on his table and asked if he could purchase some. The rest as they say is history. This is a very light green green with a detectable kiss of peach dancing throughout.
Bliss Silver-tipped green tea leaves hand-selected and meticulously tied into a sphere. Each sphere has been scented with fresh jasmine flowers up to nine times to deliver fresh floral notes. When brewed this tea opens like a flower and reveals a small pink blossom as it infuses in your cup or pot. Organic.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Tulsi (Holy Basil)

To answer this week’s most popular question …

What is Tulsi?

Known as "The Queen of Herbs", tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) or holy basil is the most sacred herb of India. Although called holy basil it is a different plant from the pesto variety of Basil (Ocimum basilicum). For over five thousand years, tulsi has been revered in India as a healing balm for body, mind and spirit, and is known to bestow an amazing number of health benefits. Today, available at SensibiliTeas, it is known as a stress-relieving, energizing and delicious tea.

What are the health benefits of
Tulsi, rich in antioxidant and renowned for its restorative powers, has several benefits:
  • Relieves stress
  • Boosts immune system
  • Enhances stamina
  • Provides support during cold season
  • Promotes healthy metabolism
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Eliminates toxins
  • Protects against radiation
  • Relieves inflammation
  • Prevents gastric ulcer
  • Reduces fever
  • Improves digestion
  • High in antioxidants
  • Improves viscosity of blood
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Normalizes blood sugar
How soon can you expect to see results from drinking Tulsi?
Some of
tulsi effects are quite immediate, while others develop gradually after weeks of regular use. You may feel more relaxed and energized after the first cup. With regular use, you may simply notice that you do not seem to be bothered by stress or common illnesses, such as colds or flu, as often or as much as before, or you may generally notice that you tire less easily. As with many other herbal supplements, it usually takes at least a week or so of consistent use for the body to experience major benefits. For best results, we recommend drinking 3 cups a day (or two mugs) if possible.

As well as carrying plain
Tulsi, I also carry a tulsi blend, Shanti, that contains orange peel, fennel and spearmint. I’m also working on a Tulsi Chai blend, and a sensuous, relaxing blend that is yet to be named containing rose petals, chamomile, lemon myrtle.

If you have any further questions about
tulsi, please feel free to ask!

Want to try Tulsi? How about a sale through Saturday, February 14th? 20% off all purchases of Tulsi or Shanti to blog readers. For online orders, use the code ``blog020809'' in the special comments field of the online order form. For in-shop sales, remind me of the blog sale for Tulsi.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Day the Music Died

On this day, fifty years ago in 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP ``the Big Bopper'' Richardson were killed when their chartered plane crashed in Iowa moments after leaving Mason City heading for Moorehead, MN. Holly and his band the Crickets had just scored a hit single with ``That'll Be the Day'' ( :o( do you remember the next three words?)
Buddy Holly was 22 and left behind a pregnant wife.
Ritchie Valens was only 17, but had already scored hits with ``Come On, Let's Go'' ``La Bamba'' and the song I dreaded my whole childhood (I don't mind it now) ``Donna'' (for those who don't know ... my name is donna)
The Big Bopper was a Texas disc jockey who scored a big hit with ``Chantilly Lace''
Waylon Jennings gave up his seat for The Big Bopper. Tommy

Don MacLean wrote the song ``American Pie'' as a reference to this day.
Here's an interesting video suggesting explanation for many of the references heard in the song.

I know it has nothing to do with tea, but I believe each day that passes should be a day within which you learn something new. So look at this as a learning tool you can enjoy while sipping a lovely cup of tea.

Intake of Flavonoid-Rich Wine, Tea, and Chocolate by Elderly Men and Women Is Associated with Better Cognitive Test Performance

This article is best read as written by the authors.
Don't you love when articles like this give use license to more fully enjoy the best tasting foodstuffs on earth? Chocolate, wine and tea! Just click and read!

Two studies find mercury in high fructose corn syrup

From World Tea News:
January 27, 2009
High fructose corn syrup has become a common ingredient that extends shelf life and replaces sugar as a sweetener in many everyday processed foods. Although FDA has ruled that HFCS can be labeled ‘natural,’ and the American Medical Association concluded “it doesn’t appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners,” its detractors now have one more reason to be upset by its ubiquity on supermarket shelves.

Much of it is contaminated with mercury, according to findings of two new studies—one published in yesterday’s issue of the Environmental Health science journal, and the other also disclosed Jan. 26 by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

“High fructose corn syrup samples were collected from three different manufacturers and analyzed…[and] were found to contain levels of mercury ranging from below a detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup,” wrote Renee Dufault et al, in the article, Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar. “Average daily consumption of high fructose corn syrup is about 50 grams per person. With respect to total mercury exposure, it may be necessary to account for this source of mercury in the diet of children and sensitive populations,” they urged.

Mercury turned up in nine out of 20 samples of commercial HFCS collected by Dufault while she was an environmental health officer for FDA in 2005. She and co-authors published their findings now after FDA didn’t press the issue.

The separate IATP study detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient. Examined for the Not so sweet: missing mercury and high fructose corn syrup report were beverages, salad dressings, barbecue sauce, yogurt and more. Mercury was most prevalent in dairy items, dressings and condiments, said IATP.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D., and a co-author of both studies. “Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”

A good place to improve, believes, would be in completing the phase-out of mercury cell technology, which is sometimes used to produce caustic soda to separate corn starch from the corn kernel. This process, says IATP, could contaminate the caustic soda and ultimately HFCS with mercury. Beyond that, we feel the more light we shine on any questionable aspects of HFCS, the smarter the food choices we all will make and the sooner federal food policies could address any possible risks of this substance.

The bottom line?
High fructose corn syrup, despite the romantic television commericals, is not good for you. It's just that simple. Please do what you can to avoid it. Read labels. It's not just in soft drinks. It's in bread, salad dressings, cookies, everywhere!

Green Tea Shows Promise for Smoking-related Lesions

A study published last month in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism suggested that liquid green tea extract may be able to lessen the harmful effects and disease-related lesions caused by a carcinogen linked to tobacco.

According to an abstract, researchers set out to study the effects, if any, that green tea and/or licorice aqueous extracts would have on the thyroid function of male albino rats intoxicated with Dimethylnitrosamine, a carcinogenic compound that occurs especially in tobacco smoke.

The team split 40 rats into several groups to control the administration of green tea, licorice, and a combination of both substances, then measured results over a period of four weeks.

The results indicated that "aqueous extract of green tea may be effective in amelioration of biochemical effects and histopathological lesions induced by DMN," stated the abstract.

(Did you know that underlined text in my posts may take you to the actual abstracts or related links?)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tea to relax

Did you know.... tea contains L-Theanine, a unique amino acid that can ease anxiety and depression. According to, research on human volunteers has demonstrated that the amino acid directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. Nice, right?

Tea May Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

It was reported earlier this week that a study led by a researcher at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL has indicated that drinking tea may help women under 50 stave off breast cancer.

Published in the January issue of the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the study looked at potential links between regular tea consumption and the risk of breast cancer.

The Moffitt Cancer Center's Nagi B. Kumar headed a team – which also included researchers from Dartmouth Medical School (Lebanon, N.H.), the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle) and the University of Wisconsin (Madison) – that surveyed more than 9,500 women ages 20 to 74, some with cancer and others without. The team conducted phone interviews, asking the women questions about tea consumption and other breast cancer risk factors.

According to an abstract, the results indicated that "tea consumption was not related to breast cancer risk overall." However, when looking at results only for participants 50 years of age or younger, "those consuming three or more cups per day had a 37 percent reduced breast cancer risk when compared with women reporting no tea consumption." While conceding that further work is needed to confirm their conclusion, the team stated: "We observed evidence to support a potential beneficial influence for breast cancer associated with moderate levels of tea consumption (three or more cups per day) among younger women."

The study did not indicate the type of tea most commonly consumed among the test group, however it is our believe at SensibiliTeas that the tea consumed was authentic tea (black, green, white, yellow, oolong, puerh) and not rooibos or any herbal teas.