As a woman raised in a Haitian household, tea was the cure for everything. Haitians believe that drinking tea isn’t just a pastime but a means for healing and apart of there lifestyle. There's a special tea for every ailment you can think of. As you could imagine, they sometimes tasted pretty awful. So you could imagine why I wasn’t always such an avid tea drinker. Whether it’s garlic tea for stomach aches or orange leaves for fevers and colds, I never understood how vital these concoctions were to my overall well being. However, now that I am older and wiser, I’ve come to appreciate tea. So let's delve into a few teas that are filled with nutritional benefits for us.
Orange Leaves/ Orange Peel Tea - We all know how great a fresh cup of orange juice is and that it’s packed with vitamin C, right? Well, let me tell you, the tea is just as amazing! As a young girl, my mommy would give me orange tea to drink with some honey to relieve cold and flu symptoms. She would even use the tea (leaves and all) to wash my hair during that time. Orange peels aren’t only helpful when you’re sick. It also has antihistamine properties due it the abundance of Vitamin C, which is a lifesaver during allergy season. Orange leaves cleanse the lungs and aids with respiratory illness. .
Garlic Tea - I hated this tea growing up! My mom would boil of garlic cloves with the skin, lemon peels, and cloves then add a little salt for taste. Each of these ingredients have quite the healing benefits. Although my mom gave me this tea whenever I complained of a tummy ache or gas, the benefits go way beyond this. Garlic aids in dissolving excess fats. It’s good for heart health and filled with antioxidants, which prevents premature aging. Lemon peels help to eliminate gas and decongest the liver. It cleanses your body by reducing water retention, leading to some weight loss. Cloves contain anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. So all together this tea is dynamic and powerful, though it doesn’t have the best taste.
Soursop Tea - This tea is very popular throughout the Caribbean. It taste really good and can probably be consumed regularly. Some believe it can treat cancer by killing free radicals in your body. It’s a great immune booster and it’s known to lower glucose levels in diabetics. When you encounter those sleepless nights, soursop tea will send you straight to dreamland. My son doesn’t mind a cup or two of this tea, so try sharing it with your little ones, you’d be surprised.Cerasee Tea - Cerasee tea is very bitter, which is why my siblings and I hated drinking it. However, we didn’t have much of a choice. We were forced to drink cerasee at the beginning of the school year because it was good for “cleaning our bodies”. If you have Caribbean parents, you probably went through the same thing. It may have been gross but there was a method to our parents’ madness. Cerasee leaves rids the body of harmful toxins. It’s used to prevent fevers, headaches, colds and the like.
Do yourself a favor and put these teas into your rotation. It may be a little difficult getting some ingredients but most could be found at your local Asian grocery stores. I'm pretty sure a lot of the leaves can be found at most authentic tea boutique shops popping up across Brooklyn.If you are too afraid to try these, start slow and get some fresh peppermint leaves and make your own peppermint tea. You could also try making homemade spicy ginger tea using fresh ginger and cinnamon. Regardless of which you choose, start drinking tea. Your body will thank you for it.I would love to read some of your tea recipes. So feel free to comment and tell me what teas you’re drinking.
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