Study author Dan Buettner states that, “It's this regular, ritualistic consumption of these herbal teas that we think explains low rates of heart disease and also low rates of dementia.”
The herbal teas enjoyed by the people of Ikaria are not the store bought variety found in this country, the report shows. Following traditions and recipes passed down from one generation to the next, the people of Ikaria create their herbal teas by steeping fresh herbs, roots and berries grown locally. According to herbal tea specialist Sarah Richards, proprietor of Homegrown Herb and Tea, located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrowntea.com, “What Americans think of as herbal tea is entirely different from what traditional herbal tea drinkers think of as herbal tea. In fact, if you gave the people of Ikaria a cup of one of our more popular supermarket brands, they would probably find it hard to swallow.”
She sites modern manufacturing techniques as severely compromising an herbal tea’s freshness and potency. “The herbal tea you buy in those cellophane wrapped boxes from your local supermarket is old, dried up herb that has been ground to a fine powder and then fortified with oils, flavors and sweeteners. It can be anywhere from a year to three years old. What the people of Ikaria are drinking are teas made from fresh herbs that haven’t been bruised or broken until the tea is blended - so the medicinal properties of the plant are intact. They also understand the herbs and how to balance and blend them. Most large herbal tea manufactures aren’t guided by ancient healing principles. In fact, they tend to develop strong, simplistic flavors to mask the lack of freshness and dullness of their herbs.”
According to Buettner, how an herbal tea is enjoyed is as important as the tea itself. He points to the ritualistic manner in which a tea is blended, steeped and sipped. Richards also believes this is of equal importance. “There is an intentionality that goes into preparing a cup of herbal tea - it’s a thoughtfulness or a consciousness that you just can’t get from a machine.”
For more information go to: http://www.homegrowntea.com
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Homegrown Herb and Tea is a herbal tea apothecary located in Portland, Maine. It has been in business for over three years serving hand blended, organically grown herbal teas.