The discovery of tea happened quite by accident almost 5,000 years ago. Chinese folklore tells of Shen Nog, an Emperor in China who had the ability to watch as herbs coursed through his body and discovered the benefits because he was transparent. A servant was boiling water for him to drink and a tea leaf fell in. The rest is history. Tea became one of the most popular beverages of all. People drink all kinds of tea including green, white, and black. Herbal teas are popular too, but they generally do not contain any real tea. Herbs like basil, mint or chamomile and sometimes bits of fruits and spices like orange, lemon and cloves or cinnamon make up these teas. A 鈥減 roper 鈥?tea comes from a plant called Camellia sinensis. Anything packaged as a tea without these leaves in it, is an imposter. You might think that green tea contains less caffeine that black tea. This depends on the company that makes it. All tea from the Camellia sinensis plant has caffeine in it. The only teas that do not have caffeine are those that have gone through a process to eliminate the caffeine, or herbal teas (that are not true teas at all). In actuality, some green teas, depending on manufacturer, have more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Most teas do contain about one third less caffeine than a regular cup of Joe. Because tea does contain caffeine many people think, it tends to make you jittery. They do not think it a good idea to take a cup of tea at bedtime because it will keep them up all night. In truth the response varies from person to person. A cup of regular tea may actually enhance sleep for some folks. Tea contains L-theanine and this substance tends to improve deep sleep. Tea does not add to stress either. A study at University College in London showed that those that drank tea had lower levels of a stress hormone in the blood than a group that took something other than tea. A cup of tea actually enhances relaxation. It is a proven fact that tea has antioxidant and diuretic affects. Antioxidants rid the body of toxins while diuretics rid the body of extra water. Tea does contain antioxidants but not as many as manufacturers would lead the public to believe. Tea contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a regular amount of fruits and vegetables a day. Tea is supposed to dehydrate the body because it causes the body to get rid of fluids. This also is not totally true. It may force fluids out at first, but the body builds a tolerance over a short period of time. After that, tea is mostly water and adds up in the suggested eight cups of fluid a day that is the amount to make a body healthy. Tea is a popular beverage all over the world and rightfully so. Tea does benefit the body and it has no calories without additives of sugar or honey. Different teas have different flavors and decaffeinated tea is widely available to those who desire no caffeine. Shen Nog would be amazed at the variety of tea the public enjoys today and probably wishes he could sip a few cups. Sarah Page is a writer for Unity Teapots - an online specialty teapot store with a large selection of Yixing teapots and cast iron teapots.
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