Sunday, May 31, 2015

Passionflower Tea

By Wikijasha via Wikimedia Commons

Click image for Nighty Night on (affil.)
Way past her bed time, she stumbles into the kitchen and requests her sleep time tea. Sitting at the kitchen counter in her footy pajamas with the cheetah pattern, my daughter stalls for more awake time rather than going to bed. Soothing herbal blends are popular in my house just before bed.  Herbal teas are technically tisanes and are not strictly speaking teas – which are brews from the tea plant a/k/a/ Camellia senensis plant.  This night, I choose Nighty Night tea by Traditional Medicinals.  The largest ingredient in Nighty Night tea is passionflower.

In 1569, Spanish explorers discovered passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) in Peru. [1]  Native people of America used this plant for rest and relaxation. [1]  Although Passionflower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., few scientific studies have tested passionflower for these purposes and it was taken off the over the counter market in 1978 because its safety and effectiveness had not been proven. [1]  However, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, scientists believe passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed. [2]
Passionflower remains on the herbal market mixed in teas and other herbal blends.  A warm cup of passionflower tea with a  bit of sugar is how my little one likes it and it may be just the thing to lull her to sleep.

[1] United States Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine.  "Passionflower."  Last reviewed - 02/16/2015.

 [2] University of Maryland Medical Center, Medical Reference Guide, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide.  "Herb, Passionflower." Last updated:  May 7, 2013.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tea - Organic, Fair

We admire those supporting traditional tea farmers by selling organic and fair trade product. Find affiliate friends we admire at our new page Tea - Organic, Fair

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fresh Ideas at the 2015 World Tea Expo

It's the week of the 2015 World Tea Expo.  Me and thousands of other tea enthusiasts from all over the world have flocked to the annual World Tea Expo, held this year in Long Beach, CA.  I've had a great time perusing the tea product displayed by the tea vendors. It can be challenging for a tea company to come up with new ideas for this centuries old beverage.  It was nice to see, nestled amongst the traditional standards, some unique and interesting ideas exhibited.  Here are a few I noticed.

One was Owl’s Brew (affil.), which sells tea cocktail mixers.  Their tea and natural spices are mixed, brewed and bottled in their factory in Vermont.  Just add the right liquor, as suggested in their recipes, and voila! you have a tastey cocktail.

Another was Summus Tea, with a new product designed for slow brewed ice tea.  The loose oolong tea leaves are sold in individually vacuum sealed capsules inside a lovely re-useable glass bottle.  Empty one capsule into the bottle, fill it with water, and let sit for 24 hours to get the perfect brew. Serve chilled on ice.

Then there’s bkon (they don’t capitalize their name). This company champions the cause of serving perfectly brewed tea with no messy strainers or tea bags.  Their product is an automated brewing machine with programmable menu.  Just input water and tea leaves and press the button for the recipe that matches the tea type.  The bkon brewer brews it up at the proper temperature, extracts flavors using patented reverse atmospheric technology, and gives you the final product perfectly brewed to the exact specifications each time.

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