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Delicious Ice Teas for The Summer

For us Brits, there is nothing better than a good old-fashioned cup of tea. It’s easy to prepare – just put the kettle on, brew and relax either in your own company or enjoy teatime natter with friends. Sometimes, to change things up especially in the summer heat, it’s fun to spruce up the teatime experience by doing something different with your tea leaves. Here are some easy-to-do iced tea recipes that you will find satisfying, as well as refreshing, for those hot summer days.

Cold Brew Camellia’s Welcome Tea

A cold brew is very simple to make and requires no effort at all! This method of brewing is very popular because the tannic and bitter character of tea does not come through into the infusion. The texture of the brew is clean, crisp and super refreshing. Camellia’s Welcome Tea is a stunning combination of green and white tea leaves combined with floral jasmine flowers that blend in scrumptiously with fruity apricot notes…a perfect summer brew to have in your garden! This is well recommended if you are looking to impress your guests

How to make a cold brew iced tea

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Camellia’s Welcome Tea

8 cups of filtered water

Method:

Simply pour cold filtered water over the tea leaves in a pitcher and place in the fridge over- night. Use a pitcher with an infuser lid but if you don’t have one of these, then you can infuse leaves using a paper filter or just strain the tea when pouring into your glass.

Try using your tea leaves for a second over-night infusion – the brew will be lighter but just as rewarding! Other iced-tea recommendations are Mango tea which is a blend of black teas, combined with dried mango and sun flowers. White Apricot tea is an award-winning blend that combines white tea leaves, dried apricots and yellow rose buds. Earl Grey Orange is also an award-winning tea and makes an excellent refreshing cold brew served with a lemon wedge. To add a little twist to the Earl Grey Orange, we have created a fabulous cocktail recipe that you might love to try!

Refreshing Tea Cocktails

Iced teas spiked with alcohol are really enjoyable, especially when cocktail hour and a relaxing afternoon teatime moment come together, to combine a perfect boozy afternoon tea to have fun on a hot summer’s day. Here are a four tea cocktails recipes for you to explore and have fun with…

Berry Storm Cocktail

Ingredients:

*50ml Very Berry tea infused Kraken rum

125ml Ginger beer

1 Dash Angostura bitters

Berries to garnish​

Method:

Pour all the ingredients into a highball glass and top up with ice. Decorate with berries.

*To make a batch of Very Berry tea infused Kraken rum, you will need to infuse 20g of Very Berry tea in 500ml Kraken rum for 1 hour. For a stronger infusion, you can leave it for a few hours or overnight.

Spiked Zest Tea with Thyme

Ingredients:

2 cups water ¼ cup sugar 3 teaspoons Zest tea in an infuser 6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 ounces Gin ¾ cup lemon juice

A few slices of lemon to garnish

Crushed ice for serving

Method:

Bring water to boil, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add tea and several sprigs of thyme, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes or until cool. Add gin and lemon juice – stir. Place a little crushed ice in 2 glasses and pour over the mixture. Serve with sprigs of thyme and sliced lemon to garnish.

Assam Tea Cocktail

This cocktail is very appealing to people who love a strong, robust, dark and malty tea such as Assam Bargang tea.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons White Rum

2 tablespoons Blue Curacao Liqueur

2 teaspoons Assam Bargang Tea

250 ml Water ​

¼ cup sugar or to taste

Lemon Peel to garnish

Method:

Bring water to boil, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add tea and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 10-15 minutes or until cool. In 2 glasses with ice cubes, pour in the rum and blue curacao liqueur. Strain the tea leaves and pour to the mixture. Garnish with lemon peel if desired.

Smoky Tea Cocktail

Ingredients:

*5 oz smoky Bourbon

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Lemon or orange peel to garnish

Ice cubes

Smoky infused Bourbon

3 teaspoons Lapsang Souchong tea

5 oz Bourbon

Method:

To make smoky Bourbon, combine tea leaves and Bourbon in a glass jar with a lid and store over-night.

Bring water to a boil and add sugar and stir until dissolved, then let it cool. In 2 glasses pour tea infused bourbon (straining the tea leaves through a fine mesh), top with desired amount of syrup (usually 1 teaspoon) and add ice cubes. Twist citrus peel and rub over rim of glass. If desired, drop the peel into the glass to garnish.

Spiked Sweet Peach Tea

This recipe works well with either English Breakfast tea or Green Peach tea and peach preserve can be adapted to another fruit such as strawberries.

Ingredients:​

2 ounces Bourbon

2 ounces peach preserves

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

Dash of Aperol

Sweet tea, to top Sprig of thyme, to garnish

Lemon round, to garnish

Method:

Mix Bourbon, peach preserves, Aperol and lemon juice over ice and shake. Pour in a glass and top with your tea of choice and garnish with thyme and lemons.

We hope you have fun exploring with these tea beverage recipes and enjoy lots of special moments with friends in a sun filled summer!

Honey & Berry Baked Cheesecake Tarts

Dear Tea Lovers,

We have a wonderful recipe for you to brighten up your day. 

This week we have a special collaboration with The London Honey Company; the original founders of the urban beekeeping movement in London when originally established back in 1999. 

Now specialist producers of the finest British honey their glorious single-origin honey and pure honeycomb range is produced from their hives across the British countryside. Each of their jars of honey carries a unique flavour profile based on the flora and the province the honey is produced from. 

We chose their Salisbury Honey for this recipe. The bees visit viper’s bugloss, sweet clover, and sainfoin which produces a delicate taste profile- adding a subtle sweetness to the tarts.

This recipe is the perfect dessert for any dinner party. What’s even greater is the combination of London Honey Co’s delicious Salisbury Honey and our Very Berry tea from our Tisane range. The honey from The London Honey Co is always unpasteurized and minimally filtered retaining its natural properties. Our Very Berry tea is characterised by a vivid fruitiness and a pleasing sweetness that is balanced by the tart hints of hibiscus. A must for all berry lovers. The two ingredients complement each other well to create delicious recipes. Enjoy these cheesecake tarts with your loved ones. 

Ingredients

For cheesecake filling

  • 2tbsp Salisbury Honey
  • 5 strawberries diced
  • 5tbsp Very Berry Tea
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

For shortbread base

  • 140g plain flour
  • 85g butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Method 

  1. In a bowl add the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Combine with your hands until a dough is formed.
  2. Place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes 
  3. Place the cream cheese into a bowl and whisk till fluffy
  4. Add the vanilla extract, honey and Very Berry tea then mix
  5. Add the eggs and whisk together 
  6. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and distribute the dough into 6 small tart tins 
  7. Mold the dough into the tart tins and refrigerate for 10 minutes 
  8. Bake the shortbread in the oven for 10 minutes @ 170c 
  9. Then take out and leave aside to cool
  10. Once the base has cooled down, spoon two tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into each tart tin 
  11. Bake at 170c for 12-15 minutes 
  12. Once baked, leave on a cooling rack to cool down 
  13. Serve with some fresh berries and a drizzle of honey.

Best to enjoy your cheesecake tarts with a pot of your favourite fruit tea 😊

We can’t wait to write to you again!

Love,

Camellia’s Tea House

The Story of Hibiscus

Hibiscus flower makes a beautiful red, rose or pink tea and is sometimes referred to the sour tea because of its tart, cranberry-like flavour.  Hibiscus tea is popular both hot and iced – often combined with fruit and herbal tea blends (it goes particularly well with berries and rose hips to make a bright-coloured anti-oxidant tea), alcoholic cocktails and a variety of foods and beverages.  Additionally, it is highly nutritious because of its high vitamin C

The hibiscus shrub is known for its large, vibrantly coloured flowers and is native to Africa, but also grown in other tropical regions too such as Thailand, China and Mexico.  Whilst the blooms look stunning in the landscape; it’s only enjoyed in a culinary sense when it is dried.

Hibiscus in History

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the whole hibiscus plant was used in Malay medicinal practices to treat venereal disease, fever and painful eyes.  Hibiscus tea was used as an expectorant for bronchitis and its leaves were applied to boils and sores to speed up the healing process.

Interestingly, the Chinese and Indians used hibiscus tea to darken hair and this practice was passed on to the Arabs and Portuguese.

Hibiscus was also known as the shoe flower because the flower petals were produced as a black shoe dye.

Did you know?

The meaning “Hibiscus” is consecrated to the “ibis”, a bird held sacred in ancient Egypt.  It also means feminine beauty and youthfulness.  Hibiscus can bloom in a variety of colours; yellow is known for good fortune, pink for friendship, purple for intellectual insight and red for love and passion.

Hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower and when worn by young women behind their left ear means she is married or in a relationship.  If the flower is worn on the right, she is single and available for a relationship.  

Hibiscus is the national flower for Malaysia.

The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu goddess, Kali and hibiscus is used as an offering to her and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

Cooking with Hibiscus 

Hibiscus flowers are more popular and commonly consumed as a tea or combined in a tea blend, but they also make a great seasoning especially when mixed with other spices.  They are known to taste great when rehydrated and sauteed with onions to add to a meat dish.

Hibiscus in Tea

Nowadays, hibiscus in tea blends is very popular, not only because of the character of flavour they bring to a blend, but also for their well-known healing properties.  Camellia’s Tea House has 4 fabulous tea blends containing hibiscus flowers

Very Berry tea is one of them, which is a rich and red infusion of mixed berries and hibiscus.  Very berry tea is very popular amongst our tea lover friends and often used as a tea cocktail or in a dessert recipe. 

Luscious Locks is a delicious herbal infusion with hibiscus that offers sweet floral notes with a hint of spice and a refreshing citrus finish.  It has been specifically designed using ingredients used in various cultures over the centuries to help repair damaged hair and encourage healthy hair growth. 

As discussed earlier, hibiscus offers a great source of vitamin C that boosts the production of collagen in the body.  Collagen is vital for hair growth, furthermore, studies have shown that hibiscus may promote hair growth in animals.  Luscious Locks also can be used as a hair rinse or applied directly as a hair tonic.

healthy immunity tea

Hibiscus also pairs well with rooibos tea and we have created immune boosting Healthy Immunity tea, which makes a cup of rooibos tea with woody sweet undertones integrated with tangy hibiscus and spice from the ginger to finish. 

Both rooibos and hibiscus are well-known for their vitamin C content and ginger for its anti-bacterial properties.  To brew the perfect cup of Healthy Immunity tea, infuse 1 teaspoon of tea in a mug of filtered boiling water for 5 minutes.  You can re-use the infusion for a second brew.

We have also added hibiscus to Toxin Killer tea to help enhance the diuretic processes (hibiscus is believed to be a natural diuretic) and to support liver health.   Some studies show that hibiscus extracts might reduce liver damage and fatty liver.

Health Benefits of Hibiscus

  • Known for its high vitamin C content
  • Loaded with antioxidants
  • Contains natural diuretic properties
  • It may help lower blood pressure
  • Studies suggest hibiscus is good for liver health
  • Boost of collagen production
  • May help reduce cholesterol especially in diabetes

Is Hibiscus good for the skin?

Hibiscus is high in vitamin C which helps with collagen production.  Collagen is needed in the skin to give it elasticity and hydration.

Does hibiscus tea make you urinate more?

Yes, because it is a natural diuretic.

Is Hibiscus good for hair?

Yes ,as it contains high levels of vitamin C.

Hibiscus Tea Cocktail 

Hibiscus can be great in a cocktail if you are looking for a boozy drink with a healthy kick.  Berry Storm cocktail has been created by Camellia’s Tea House and it’s refreshing to drink on a hot sunny day.  

Recipe:

*50ml Very Berry tea infused Kraken rum

125ml Ginger beer

1 Dash Angostura bitters

Berries to garnish

Method:

Pour all the ingredients into a highball glass and top up with ice.  Decorate with berries.

*To make a batch of Very Berry tea infused Kraken rum, you will need to infuse 20g of Very Berry tea in 500ml Kraken rum for 1 hour.  For a stronger infusion, you can leave it for a few hours or overnight.

This recipe is a cold brew (link to cold brew vs hot brew blog) iced tea which requires a long- brewing time.  To speed up brewing, use a traditional hot brew method and allow the tea to cool and serve over ice.   Luscious locks blend is a nutritious and delicious tea when iced.

Cold Brew Luscious Locks

Recipe:

1 Litre filtered water

2 heap tablespoon Luscious Lock tea

Method:

In a glass jug mix water and tea leaves and leave overnight in the fridge.  Enjoy the next day as a refreshing hair and skin tonic.

Enjoy these fresh hibiscus ideas and happy tea drinking! 

White Apricot Cake Doughnuts

Have you ever try baking doughnuts at home?

The sun is gleaming and the apricot season is at hand. Apricots can easily be incorporated in food because they are sweet, light and wholesome. Our White Apricot tea has the perfect combination of apricot pieces and delicate white tea which can easily be u sed in food and drink. 

The highly fragrant infusion is reminiscent of an orchard of fresh juicy apricots on a warm summer’s day.

Why not indulge in these delicious White Apricot cake doughnuts which are super moist and full of vibrant sweet apricot notes.

Ingredients:

150g self raising flour
100g butter
60g caster sugar
1 egg
30g milk
1sp vanilla essence
20g crushed White Apricot Tea

Method:

Cream the butter and sugar with a whisk until fluffy
Add vanilla essence
Add flour then combine
Add the milk and egg and mix

Fold the crushed tea into the mix
Transfer into doughnut silicone moulds

Bake at 180c for 20 minutes


Enjoy with your favourite tea 🙂


Beginners Guide To Oolong Tea

Have you ever tried a cup of Oolong Tea? Oolongs are a curious type of tea, carefully balancing somewhere between a green and a black tea. A hybrid of sorts, this category of teas incorporates the best of both worlds to create something unique and wonderfully complex. Many tea connoisseurs appreciate the intricate flavours and aromas of oolong teas, but if you’ve never had a chance to try them, we’ve put together this guide to introduce you to the mystical world of oolong teas.

What is an oolong tea?

Its name comes from the Chinese words ‘Wu Long’ or ‘Black Dragon’, a term still used today for this increasingly popular class of teas.

A key manufacturing process used to create the different types of teas is oxidation. In most basic terms, it is a chemical reaction involving enzymes present in the fresh tea leaves and oxygen in the air, which results in ‘browning’ of the leaves and the production of flavour and aroma compounds.

So, on one hand you have black tea, fully oxidised with dark leaves and rich malty flavours, and on the other there is green tea, completely unoxidised with leaves retaining their original green colour and full of fresh, vegetal notes.

Green Oolong vs Dark Oolong

What makes oolong teas special is that they are partially oxidised, placing them neatly between green and black teas. Depending on the level of oxidation, they can be divided into two main categories – green oolongs (10-30% oxidation) with a lighter body and fragrant floral notes, and dark oolongs (40-80%), with more complex fruity and woody flavours.

Where is oolong tea from?

Oolong tea was most likely first created in the 16th century in the Fujian Province of China. Nowadays, this class of tea is predominantly produced in Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, and a couple of coastal provinces in China.

To this day, certain varieties of Taiwanese oolongs are called Formosa, which means “beautiful island” (Ilha Formosa), named so after the Portuguese sailors that first sighted this uncharted island.

What does oolong teas taste like?

The taste really depends on the type of oolong and how oxidised it is.

The less oxidised green oolongs tend to be light and wonderfully refreshing with hardly any of the bitterness typical of green teas. They are very fragrant teas with beautifully dominant floral notes, but also some intriguing herbaceous hints.

Dark oolongs, with their higher levels of oxidations, offer a stronger cup with more body. The flavours here are more complex with fascinating combinations of fruity, woody, earthy, and honey sweet notes.

Does oolong tea contain caffeine?

Yes, like other types of traditional teas made from the Camellia sinensis leaves, oolong also contain caffeine. The amount of caffeine in oolong teas varies, but it is similar to that of green teas, with about 9-63 mg per 8oz cup. In comparison, same sized cup of coffee will normally contain 72-130 mg.

What are the best oolong teas?

There are many different varieties of oolong teas, some of them extremely rare and highly prized like the famous ‘Da Hong Pao’ (Big Red Robe) that can fetch a hefty price of $28,000 for just 20 grams.

Yet, there are also plenty oolong teas that far more accessible to an average tea enthusiast and still considered to be great oolongs. Among them are Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty), Tie Guan Yin (‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’), Iron Monk and various Milk Oolongs.

What are the health benefits of oolong tea?

There is an increasing number of studies into the health benefits of various teas with very encouraging findings. Some of the research shows a correlation between drinking oolong teas and lower “bad” cholesterol levels, which can have a positive impact on our cardiovascular health. Whilst studies have shown that regular tea drinking can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Other benefits associated with tea drinking include stronger bones, better gut bacteria, lower risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease and also better dental health due to the natural presence of fluoride in tea leaves.

Oolong tea and weight loss

There have been a few studies that indicate that regular drinking of oolong teas can help with weight loss by increasing metabolism and enhancing fat burning.

One study in particular that involved 102 obese adults, has shown that drinking 8g of oolong tea per day for 6 weeks resulted in a weight decrease of more than 1kg in 70% of the participants.

How to brew the perfect cup?

First of all, we highly recommend choosing to brew loose leaf teas rather than using tea bags. This allows for a better quality of tea leaves, as well as a more rewarding experience and authentic taste.

Traditionally, oolong teas are prepared using a small teapot, larger amount of tea leaves and multiple short infusions. However, you can just as easily brew oolong teas using the Western style with large teapots and longer infusion.

Before you begin, you should warm up your tea ware by pouring hot water into the pot and cups. This will help to keep your tea hot, as oolong teas should never be brewed with boiling hot water. If you’re using one of the rolled types of oolongs, it is also a good idea to rinse the leaves, by pouring enough hot water to cover the leaves and then pour it out immediately. This will help the leaves to unfurl and release their beautiful flavour into the cup.​

The water temperature will depend on the type of the oolong you would like to enjoy, with the less oxidised green ones requiring about 80-85 °C water and the more oxidised dark ones better brewed at slightly higher temperatures of 90-95 °C.

For Western style, you will need about 3 grams of tea per every 200ml of water and a brewing time of around 3 minutes. You can then re-brew the leaves another 3-4 times, slightly increasing the brewing time with each infusion.

You can also add some honey, sugar, milk or lemon juice, though most oolongs are best enjoyed plain to fully experience the range of flavours this enticing tea holds within it.

Keen to try?

If you feel like you’re ready to dive into the wonderful world of oolong teas, there are two oolongs that we can recommend:

Milky Oolong – an award-winning green oolong from China with characteristic vanilla and bold milky notes, offering a smooth and creamy infusion.

Formosa Oolong – a dark oolong from Taiwan with wonderful fruity notes interlaced with more earthy, toasty hints and lingering sweetness.

Natural remedies for coping with Stress

As April draws to a close, we have been reflecting on Stress awareness month and wanted to write some content around the topic of stress. As a nation, we are experiencing more stress in our lives than ever, some related to the recent pandemic and some due to the increased strain that is often put upon us or that we put upon ourselves!

With this in mind, we wanted to focus on the benefits of our Stress Tea and the natural remedies within this great herbal tea. Plus, dig down deeper into the topic of stress – what happens in the body when we are stressed over an elongated period of time, how stress manifests and how you can help deal with the effects of stress – such as anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues and imbalances in the body. 

Ultimately it all comes down to our lifestyle and everyone is different in terms of how much stress they can take on and how they can eliminate it or start to make changes to reduce it. Sadly, some of us spend much of our lives feeling stressed – some of this is out of our control and some of it we could more ownership of – stress can come from one aspect of our life or from many – either way it is usually relationships, work, money, health and family that contribute together or individually to create stress.

So, what can we practically do to help ourselves reduce our stress levels and start feeling more relaxed? What natural remedies are useful in reducing stress? What herbal elements have active components to help reduce stress? 

Stress is an important topic, particularly as being stressed for longer periods of time can start to cause real harm in the body, which can lead to oxidative stress and a build-up of health problems, contributed by increasing free radicals in the body, which if left to build can do serious damage to our physical health. This is alongside the mental damage that is done by feeling in a constant state of stress, which in turn can leave us feeling burnt out, working on overdrive mode, super exhausted, sleep-deprived, anxious, nauseous, unable to relax, etc.

What is oxidative stress?

When stress builds up in the body over time free radicals increase and the molecules start robbing other cells of their electrons – causing damage and eventually disease if the levels become too high in the body.  The body needs a balance of free radicals (which help the immune system fight infection) and antioxidants, but when free radicals become too high and outnumber antioxidants, then this is known as oxidative stress.

Studies show that there is a direct link with oxidative stress and anxiety and further studies are still being carried out. Interestingly, scientists have found that diazepam, a well-known anxiolytic, does not fully reverse oxidative stress-related anxiety, but antioxidants might play a role in the prevention or reduction of high anxiety.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals when the levels become too high in the body. They are essential to keep the balance in the body and eating a balanced and varied healthy diet helps boost your anti-oxidant levels. 

What are the best dietary antioxidants?

The best dietary antioxidants can be found in vitamin C, E, and flavonoids.  

We have designed Stress Tea to support people living in stressful conditions. The inspiration behind this herbal infusion is to provide essential antioxidants nutrients combined with well-known relaxant herbs to create an overall harmonising effect to the body.

Let’s take a look at what is in our Stress Tea and why we believe it could be helpful to deal with your stress levels…

Rose Hips

natural remedies

Rose hips are an important component of our Stress Tea, as they are known to contain one of the highest natural plant sources of vitamin C available – as much as 20% more than citrus fruit. According to « Super Herbs » by Rachel Landon, vitamin C from rose hips is much easier to assimilate by the body than synthetic vitamin C supplements.

Rose hip’s antioxidant activity is due to its content in polyphenols, vitamins C, E, B, and carotenoids.  Due to its phytochemical composition, rose hip is an interesting therapeutic option for those disorders which involve oxidative stress.

Do Rose hips contain antioxidants?

Rose hips provide a natural source of antioxidants to fight high levels of free radicals and reduce oxidative stress produced by anxiety, pollutants, dietary, or unhealthy lifestyle.

Skullcap

natural remedies

Skullcap has been used for over 200 years as a mild relaxant and for therapy of anxiety, stress, insomnia, and nervous tension. Skullcap is well-known to pair well with valerian making it a great sedative combination, one of the ingredients in our Great Taste Award-winning Sleep Well Tea. Skullcap contains flavonoids and active compounds giving it sedative and antispasmodic qualities.

Studies have shown that skullcap contains a good amount of antioxidants, which may help protect against neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, and depression. Nowadays, a combination of other relaxing herbs such as components from Stress tea is combined with skullcap to produce a wonderfully relaxing tea.

Does skullcap interact with sleep medication?

Skullcap can increase the effect of sedative drugs and should therefore be avoided in conjunction with sleep medication.

Does skullcap decrease anxiety?

Skullcap is a nervine tonic and helps relieve anxiety.

Lemon Balm

natural remedies

Lemon balm has a long tradition for being a tonic remedy that raises the spirits and comforts the heart. Today, it is still used by herbalists as a relaxing tonic for anxiety, mild depression, restlessness, and irritability. It helps reduce feelings of nervousness and panic and will often quieten down a racing heart, being a valuable remedy for palpitations of a nervous origin.    Lemon balm is also useful when over-anxiety is causing digestive problems such as indigestion, acidity, nausea, bloating, and colicky pains. New research also shows that lemon balm can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores – cold sores can erupt during stressful episodes.

It is reported that the best way to take lemon balm where anti-stress and cognitive effects are delivered effectively to the body is through food and drink consumption.

Does lemon balm make you sleepy?

Lemon balm can cause sleepiness and drowsiness

How does lemon balm work?

Lemon balm contains certain compounds that have relaxing and sedative effects

Lemon Verbena

natural remedies

Lemon verbena is native to South America and contains volatile oil with tannins and flavonoids. It is an undervalued medicinal herb, and shares qualities with lemon balm. Both herbs contain a strong lemon-scented volatile oil that has calming and digestive properties. Lemon verbena has a gentle sedative action and a reputation for soothing abdominal discomfort.

Its tonic effect on the nervous system is less pronounced that of lemon balm, but nonetheless helps lift the spirit and counter depression.

Conclusion

How to manage stress?

Stress and anxiety are part of everyday life and sometimes it motivates us to get things done but also too much stress and anxiety can start to create ill health and overall disharmony. Simple steps such as eating a clean and healthy diet, taking up gentle exercises such as yoga or daily walks, cutting back on caffeine, drinking more herbal teas and water with meditation rituals such as long baths, listening to calming music, or reading a book can do wonders for mental and physical health.

Hay Fever Remedies

Spring is one of the most loveable seasons of the year, as it marks the end of winter and a transition to summer. The days begin to last longer and the nights shorter. The extra daylight hours and exposure to the sun can be a major mood booster.   

Unfortunately, spring can also be problematic for many of us. As flowers bloom and dormant trees bounce back to life, they start releasing pollen into the air.

What is Hay Fever? 

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen typically from grasses, trees, and flowers. Hay fever can be experienced at different times of the year depending on which pollen your susceptibility lies in. For instance, most people have an allergy to tree pollen which is in early spring. Grass pollen is in late spring and summer and ragweed pollen in autumn. 

What triggers hay fever?

For those who are susceptible to hay fever, (also known as allergic rhinitis), pollen stimulates the body’s production of histamine, which is a protein compound responsible for inflammation. Histamine irritates mucus-secreting glands and the result shows all symptoms of hay fever.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

  • Itching skin
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Copious nasal catarrh
  • Sinus congestion and blocked nose
  • Watery, irritated eyes

Researches show that people who suffer from eczema or asthma are especially prone to hay fever.

What is the best natural remedy for hay fever?

Natural herbal remedies can help with allergic symptoms, some are known to contain anti-histamine properties and if taken correctly, can be very useful in tackling hay fever symptoms and overall health. Various traditional herbal practices such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and traditional Chinese medicine, have managed to prevent hay fever completely by strengthening the body’s immune response to allergens.

What tea is good for allergies?

Some herbal and green teas play an important role in keeping hay fever symptoms at bay. 

Herbal Teas For Hay Fever

Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Known for its sting, nettle has long been appreciated for its medicinal uses.  Nettle has been used by herbalists to support the chest and upper respiratory complaints and is often the first line of defense for seasonal allergies. It contains tannic acid, lecithin, chlorophyll, iron, silica, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, and vitamins A and C.  

Does nettle contain anti-histamines?

Scientific evidence reports that stinging nettles affect numerous receptors and enzymes involved in allergic reactions. Furthermore, they contain active compounds that have anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties.  

Does nettle contain vitamin C?

Yes, including other nutrients which act as antioxidants inside your body.

Can I drink nettle as tea?

Nettle can be enjoyed on its own as a tea with the addition of local honey if desired or it can be taken in herbal tea blends such as Beautiful Skin Tea and Toxin Killer Tea.

Chamomile (Chamomila Matricaria)

Chamomile is a healing wonder with official medical documents from 26 countries approving chamomile to treat conditions ranging from colic to muscle spasms, tension, inflammation, and infections. Chamomile flowers have rich amounts of azulene, a volatile oil with a whole range of active principles that serve as anti-inflammatory agents, making them useful for treating anti-inflammatory conditions.

Chamomile is known to provide relief from symptoms of a cold (similar symptoms to hay fever). Studies indicate that steam inhalation of chamomile extracts can provide comfort and help with nasal congestion. Further research is still being carried out. The tea infusion can be used as a gargle for inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.

Does chamomile tea contain anti-histamines?

A study carried out by a group of scientists found chamomile extracts had a potent anti-allergenic response linked to the inhibition release of histamine from mast cells.

Is chamomile good for itchy eyes?

Yes, it helps reduce symptoms of red, itchy eyes by placing a used, cooled down, chamomile tea bag over your eyes.

Is drinking too much chamomile tea bad for you?

It’s best to avoid chamomile tea if you are allergic to ragweed pollen.

Mint (Mentha)

Also known as Mentha, clinical studies tell us that peppermint, also contained in our Green Mint blend, carries anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral activities having a direct effect on the respiratory tract, the coughing reflex, and the airflow to the nasal tract.

Peppermint is considered to be the strongest mint medicinally, though other mints have their health benefits as well. Drinking hot peppermint tea has been a known remedy for treating a stuffy nose and symptoms of a common cold as well as allergies for a long time. 

Steam inhalation of hot peppermint tea can actually help rid of symptoms associated with allergies. It helps soothe sinuses and clear the nasal passage. Simply boil a few cups of water and pour into a bowl with peppermint leaves. Lean over the bowl and cover your head with a towel.  Breathe in the steam for about 10 minutes.

Is peppermint an anti-histamine?

Studies indicate that extracts of peppermint inhibit the release of histamine in mast cells (similar to white cells which are responsible for allergic reactions in the body). Significant inhibition of sneezing and nose rubbing was also observed.

Does mint contain vitamin C?

Yes, mint contains a good source of vitamin C which helps reduce histamine production and severity of symptoms associated with it.

Elderflower (Caprifoliaceae)

Elder is among Europe’s most esteemed remedies for colds and flu. The elder tree is believed to be a pharmacy in itself, providing medicines for all manner of illness. Both flowers and berries are useful in cases of inflammation (where there is swelling) and the flowers alone are known to act as a decongestant to the nasal cavity, sinuses, and overall upper respiratory tract.

That is why we selected it for our Beautiful Skin & Antiviral blends.

According to the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, elderflower helps tone mucous linings of the nose and throat and herbalist prescribe it for chronic catarrh, ear infections, and allergies. Infusions with other herbs can reduce the severity of hay fever attacks if taken some months before the season.

Does elderflower contain vitamin C?

Yes, elderflower is known to contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants which help reduce histamine production.

Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)

Green teas have many health benefits as they contain high levels of polyphenols, a chemical compound that helps maintain body wellness.  Scientific research indicates that EGCG, a potent compound found in green tea, blocks a key receptor involved in producing an allergic response in rodents.  

Hirofumi Tachibana, the chief investigator of the study and associate professor of chemistry at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan says that “Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents…If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it”.  

Does green tea help reduce histamine in the body?

Green tea contains antioxidant flavonoids that block the breakdown of histamine in the body.

Does green tea help with allergies?

Scientific research indicates that green tea can help with reducing allergies, especially where there is sneezing and coughing.

What foods make hay fever worse?

Diet plays an important role in tackling allergies. Reduce intake of high histamine and mucus-forming foods such as dairy produce, eggs, sugar, white flower, fatty foods, and alcohol.

What teas are good for hay fever? (+ LINK)

Camellia’s Tea House carries herbal blends that can help with symptoms of hay fever such as…

It’s best to start drinking teas for allergies before the season starts. 

The Perfect Herbal Spring Tea

I love the feeling of spring in my step. With the birds singing, flowers blooming and longer daylight hours; I feel renewed, joyful and energetic. It’s also the time to celebrate Easter, a wonderful happy time with family and friends. When I feel this good, I know it’s time to explore the depth of my creative skills. Happiness Tea was born from the idea of wanting to create a visually beautiful, caffeine-free tea infusion.

Love for Health & Beauty Health,

Beauty, lightness and joy was the main inspiration behind Happiness Tea. I wanted to create a colourful and vibrant tea that looked like potpourri, with delicate and balanced flavours of flowers and spice. Happiness tea has been artistically blended with sweet and floral rosebuds, whole citrus lemon verbena leaves, a touch of tart rose hips and finished off by sweet and spice notes of fennel seeds. The flavours combine well to make this infusion a Gold Taste award-winning tea! I love Happiness Tea either hot or iced and sometimes infuse this to desserts or make a simple syrup which I add to soda water for a complete rejuvenating experience.

How to Make Iced Tea

There are two methods depending on what works best for you. Traditional iced tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot water first. Once the tea is brewed it is served over ice or chilled in the refrigerator and then served cold. With cold brew iced-teas, you simply leave out the hot water part and steep leaves in cold water instead. The process requires a much longer brew and can be refrigerated overnight. Which version tastes better? I like both but this generally depends on what type of tea I am drinking and how strong I would like the brew to be. I like to cold brew certain herbal infusions and green teas as well as the Earl Grey variety. The result of a cold brew iced-teas is a sweet and smooth texture with a crisp and clean finish without the bitterness from the tannins. A cold brew tea won’t extract much body and depth but you will still enjoy the soft flavourful and aromatic notes.

Which version is healthier Cold-brewed or Hot-brewed Ice Tea?

​It appears there is not much difference in health benefits although some may argue that you extract more antioxidants from a cold brew. I sometimes use the traditional method to make herbal iced teas, this is because some herbs have their medicinal compounds buried deep within their structure, which requires a full goodness extraction using hot water. Happiness tea does well on both types of brews. How can I learn more about cold brew vs hot brew? Read our Blog “Cold Brew vs Hot brewed Iced-Teas” to learn more.

How to make a herbal seltzer?

I start by making a simple syrup from Happiness tea. I pop in approximately 1 tablespoon of tea into a paper filter tea bag or any type of infuser. In a small saucepan, add 1 cup water and ½ cup sugar (I usually go for Xylitol), bring to a simmer until the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat and add in the tea. I usually let it simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. Let the syrup cool before using it. I usually store it in a glass jar for further use. Fill a glass with ice cubes, pour in the syrup (usually around 2 tablespoons but you can add more or less depending on your preference) and top with sparkling water. I like to sometimes squeeze in a little lemon juice as I find it awakes the flavours and not to mention that you get the extra dose of vitamin c and antioxidants in your glass. If you fancy making a simple syrup using other teas to change up the flavour profile, then I suggest using the Tea Finder which guides you to the perfect tea according to what mood you are in.

Spring Fever

Dr Paul Janson wrote in the Emergency Medical News that “Illness struck patients in the springtime for centuries, rendering them weak with joint swelling, loose teeth, and poorly healing wounds. The name given this disease of listlessness and weakness was Spring Disease or Spring Fever, and that name has continued into our time to describe the listless loss of ambition that accompanies the first few days of warm weather. A few centuries ago, however, it was actually scurvy that caused this illness, precipitated by the lack of vitamin C, and it was a major threat to life in the 18th Century.” [1] Is Spring Fever the real deal? Spring fever remains a fuzzy medical category, but there has been a great deal of research on how seasonal changes affect our mood and behavior. Nowadays, spring fever is referred to as restlessness or lethargy as the body tries to adapt to the new season.

Health Benefits – How Can Happiness Tea Help?

Good scientific research suggests that Rosehips contain a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids and the combination helps reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, knee and hip arthritis. Furthermore, rosehips are considered to have antiscorbutic effects which are a scurvy preventative. Rosebuds are also known for their vitamin C content and anti- inflammatory properties with a special affinity to the skin. The rosy infusion and aroma offer a calmative and soothing effect to agitated and nervous dispositions. Lemon Verbena is also known for its calming and restorative properties and can have a grounding effect to symptoms of restlessness.

Herbal Spring Tea

In conclusion, spring fever to me has always meant having a sudden burst of energy with restlessness to get out into the daylight without having to wear heavy winter clothes. We all react differently to seasonal changes depending on our body’s constitution. Some experience a lack of energy and enthusiasm, whilst others may go through mood swings. Overall, Happiness tea makes a wonderfully supportive and nutritious tea for anyone who needs a little help adapting to a new season. Depending on the severity of symptoms, one may require a nutritionist or a specialized health practitioner to help balance out the body. I hope you love this tea as much as I do! Wishing you all a very happy Easter!​

References for further information

1. https://journals.lww.com/em-news/fulltext/2016/06141/news__when_spring_fever_was_a_real_disease.2.aspx


Earl Grey Hot Cross Buns

Nothing beats a delicious hot cross bun! The classic hot cross bun is full of spice and dried fruits. With the Easter Weekend fast approaching, we’ve put a twist on ours and added Camellia’s Earl Grey tea to make them even more delicious and moorish.

Ingredients


Makes 12 hot cross buns
500g strong white flour
75g melted butter
10g active dry yeast powder
1tsp salt
1 Eggs
300g warm whole milk
100g Sultanas
Lemon peel of half lemon
Orange peel of one orange
1 tsp All spice
1 tsp Cinnamon
10g Camellia’s Earl Grey tea
3 tbsp Golden syrup

For cross
50g plain flour
50g water

Recipe

  1. In a large stand mixer bowl, add the flour, butter, egg, salt, all spice, milk and cinnamon and whisk until a dough is formed
  2. With a pestle and mortar or Food processor, grind the Earl Grey Tea.
  3. Powder a clean surface with flour and knead the dough, then add the lemon peel, orange peel, sultanas and Earl Grey tea.
  4. Knead the dried fruits and tea into the dough
  5. Place the dough into a large and cover with cling film and a tea towel for proving. Leave the dough aside for 1 hour to rise
  6. Knead the dough, then cover and prove to rise for another hour
  7. Powder a clean surface with flour and cut the dough into 8 pieces
  8. Form a round bun shape with each piece of dough and place each on a greaseproof baking tray. Cover and prove for 1 hour
  9. Mix 50g of flour and 50g of water to form a paste. Transfer the paste into a piping bag
  10. Once the buns have proved, pipe a cross on each
  11. Bake at 170c for 40 minutes

To finish:
Heat up the golden syrup in a microwave for 30 seconds. Then brush over the baked hot cross buns

Balance Tea for Hormone Health – A Perfect Mother’s Day Gift!

Balance Tea, is my all-time favourite infusion to have at hand when struggling with hormone imbalance. Hormones play a big role to ensure that the body is functioning well and a slight imbalance can take its toll on your health. In my opinion, women of all ages can benefit from this wonderful wellness tea and with Mother’s Day fast approaching, this makes a perfect gift for your mum to have during times of need!

What’s in the tea? And does it contain caffeine?

Balance Tea contains some active healing botanical plants known to herbalists from all over the world and is completely caffeine free! The blend is made from avena sativa, chamomile, lime flowers, orange peel, jasmine flowers, rose, raspberry leaf, lavender and passion flower which produces a loving cup of comfort whilst helping to restore vitality and balance. Interestingly, my body craves the light, floral and earthy notes of this therapeutic infusion only during days of dis-ease and dis-harmony with marked irritability and exhaustion.

Balance tea

Key ingredients with scientific evidence and health benefits

Prolonged stress can have some adverse effects on our cognitive, emotional, and physical well- being and over-time this dis-balance manifests itself into the female hormonal system. Avena Sativa, also known oat straw has been used by ancient civilization to promote brain health especially in older people. A Scientific research, published on US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, indicates that oat straw contains anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce stress.

Chamomile, supported by scientific evidence from Science Daily, is to help ease cramping, or any kind of muscle spasms including headaches whilst promoting relaxation. Chamomile is known to help with hormonal imbalances and provide support and comfort when most needed.

Raspberry Leaf is known to provide a good source of nutrients as well as potassium and magnesium. It is the most frequently mentioned herbal tonic for the uterus and its antioxidants are believed to help relax blood vessels.

Passionflower, is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a sedative, to help with anxiety and hypertension which is backed by a scientific research. Passion flower is known to calm the nerves whilst gently soothing away muscle tension.

Lime flower is known as Linden flower which symbolizes female beauty and grace. The Linden tree is known to be a perfect antidote to stress-related illness, including headaches, tension and irritability.

Hormone imbalance – How can you help yourself?

To balance hormones naturally, it is important to also eat anti-inflammatory foods because inflammation is a common, underlying cause of hormone-related conditions. An anti-inflammatory diet consists mostly of plant-based foods rich in antioxidants, cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens are particularly good and naturally have detoxifying affects to the body.

Emotional and chemical stress (chemicals from unhealthy food) are two major things that throw the body off balance; adding stress management techniques into your daily life such as meditating, exercising or participating in an enjoyable hobby can really help keep stress at bay! Plus give you the perfect opportunity to take a little take time out every day to look after yourself.

The blog is written by Lubna Madan, Co-Founder of Camellia’s Tea House, Homeopathy and Herbal specialist.