Whenever my mother read “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” to me, I would inquire about the nature of chamomile tea. Sad as I was that Peter was put to bed with an upset tummy, a result of his raiding Mr. MacGregor’s garden, the thought of a cup of the curative tea seemed a comforting conclusion.
Mom was pretty vague with her answer, never having indulged in anything other than plain Tender Leaf, a mix of orange pekoe and plain black tea. She never purchased chamomile for me to try, but back then, she would have faced a bit of a search, as it wasn’t readily available on supermarket shelves.
But indulging in a cup of that simple tea was a prominent part of her every day. She was quick to point out its benefits, as a dinner drink each evening, and as a cure for colds, flu, tummy aches, most any ailment from which I suffered.
Yes, she gave me black tea as a child. I had my own little pink and white cup, its front printed in a delicate rose pattern. Coffee was forbidden but not tea. Common knowledge at the time considered tea much lower in caffeine, better for children.
Later, that caffeine concept was reversed. Tea then took the blame as a high caffeine culprit. Middle of the road me reasoned that the caffeine level would be determined by the strength of each brew, whatever the beverage, but what do I know?
Recent years brought the popular promotion of various herbal teas as symptom relievers for a wide range of ailments. Able to purchase my own products by then, I made frequent cups of Peter Rabbit’s chamomile cure, and a host of other plant based drinks.
Echinacea for colds, herba mate for energy, mint for stomach upsets . . . I tried many types and swore by their effects.
I still have a cabinet stocked with my standbys but more and more, as I strive for simplicity, I turn to my current favorite brand of inexpensive orange pekoe and black tea, since my childhood Tender Leaf seems to have disappeared from supermarket shelves. (Today’s research tells me it’s still available on Amazon!)
I find it soothing when that’s what I’m seeking, invigorating when in need of summoning strength to finish a job when my energy and spirit are depleted.
Studies Say . . .
Interestingly, I discovered two studies from fairly recent years which support the concept that plain, old fashioned tea can be highly effective.
The first study didn’t seem to live up to the standards of top level objective research, but its conclusions seem to make sense. Part of its findings were that the nurturing action and intention of tea preparation contribute to the drink’s redeeming properties. Also, the socializing between participants regarding the effects of the study was another positive experience that could have contributed to the outcome.
Another study, published by WebMD, which appeared in the journal Psychopharmacology, seemed better regulated. The participants were unaware of whether they were ingesting tea or a drink with an identical taste to that of the beverage the control group was consuming. The more reliable findings supported those of the initial study.
So, as the Holidays, and wintry days overtake us, fear not if your cupboard isn’t stocked with the latest fads in herbal tea flavors.
It’s great fun to shop for favorites from the arrays of attractive boxes containing delicious beverage makings. But a cup of plain Jane black, or an orange pekoe mix, as Mom said, may make us feel just as good.