If you know me well, you will know how much I love tea. Earl grey is my favourite, but any kind of tea from jasmine green tea to chamomile are near to my heart. There is something about the ritual of making tea that is calming and research has also shown that many different kinds of tea have an effect on our emotions and stress.
When I’m very anxious, I will pull out my Nana’s tea cosy and make a big pot of tea. It makes me feel closer to her and the simple but happy way she lived her life in her small town in the Welsh valleys.
Physically, drinking tea (hot or cold) is a great way to hydrate your body and has many physical benefits such as lower blood pressure and better circulation. I love the physical and emotional benefits of tea, but what really excites me are the beauty benefits including clearer skin and less wrinkles! Here are some of my favourite “beauty teas”:
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which may help prevent UV-induced skin damage both topically and internally. The review article noted below (Prasanth et al.) covers many of the research articles about photoaging (the damage to skin that occurs from the sun) and the preventative and healing benefits of green tea. I always pack green tea when I travel! And I try to have at least one cup of jasmine green tea each day. One final benefit for beauty: green tea can also prevent tooth decay due to its fluoride!
Nettle (also known as stinging nettle) is a plant that grows wild and has been traditionally used for reducing inflammation, reducing allergies, and because it is a rich source of vitamins and minerals (especially iron). While touching a stinging nettle is BAD for the skin, drinking nettle tea can give you clearer skin. Herbalists have used nettle to reduce inflammatory skin diseases like acne and eczema. Nettle is also known anecdotally to cleanse and build the blood (think rosy cheeks from the iron!).
Chamomile has a beautiful floral aroma but it is also classified as a mildly bitter herb. We don’t tend to have a lot of bitter tastes in our diet but they are so important for stimulating digestion and helping our bodies absorb more nutrients from food (Jirsa 20). Chamomile is also great for soothing an upset tummy and creating a lovely night sleep. Sleep is so important for our skin health, creating a healthy glow and slimes hydrated skin. According to Dr. Michael Breus (sleep expert), “sleep deprivation lowers circulation, which is why you lose facial colour and look pale and washed out from poor sleep.” (143). Chamomile tea has been proven to enhance sleep, being comparable to a hypnotic drug (Watson and Preedy 247). Chamomile tea works for me but avoid it if you have an allergy to ragweed as they are in the same family!
One of my favourite bedtime teas is David’s Tea’s Earl Grey Rooibos because rooibos has no caffeine so it’s the perfect before bed cup of tea. Rooibos is technically not tea, being made from the leaves of a shrub that grows mainly in South Africa. One of the most interesting research studies I’ve encountered about tea and skin is about this tea, which surged in popularity after Alexander McCall Smith’s book series The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Rooibos has antioxidant qualities similar to green and black teas but, even more exciting, research from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University found that the properties in this tea may help preserve healthy fat under the skin. In other words, this tea can keep skin looking plump and healthy!
Prasanth, Mani Iyer et al. “A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy.” Nutrientsvol. 11,2 474. 23 Feb. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11020474
Watson, Ronald R., and Victor R. Preedy. Neurological Modulation of Sleep : Mechanisms and Function of Sleep. Ed. Ronald R. (Ronald Ross) Watson and Victor R. Preedy. London, United Kingdom ;: Academic Press, an imprint of Elsevier, 2020. Print.