Teeccino Buzz

As my followers know, I’m a huge advocate of getting as many herbs into your diet as possible. Where else can we find a wide biodiversity of unique phyto (plant) nutrients completely unchanged from those consumed by our hunting and gathering prehistoric ancestors? We need our super herbs to protect our health more than ever in this era of toxins polluting our air, water and food!

Let’s take a deep dive into an herb that is so unique, it grows only on the tip of South Africa and even there, only in one small region called Clan William. It’s also the only herbal tea that goes through a fermentation process similar to black tea, which turns its green needles to a deep shade of rusty red.

It also happens to be an herb with which I’m intimately familiar. Back in the late ‘90’s, I brought it to the United State’s tea drinking world after it had been forgotten due to the ban on importing S. African products during Apartheid.
We’re talking about rooibos (pronounced ROY-e-boss), the red tea. Here’s the story about this super herb tea that is the base of the best caffeine-free chai teas including Teeccino Dandelion Red Chai!

MY ROOIBOS STORY

In the mid ‘90’s, I was working on a new line of chai teas for The Republic of Tea and I wasn’t going to be happy if I only had a black chai and a green chai. Being a lover of the pungent power of spices to stimulate our digestive system, I needed a caffeine-free chai that caffeine sensitive people like myself could enjoy too.
But what would produce the body that a chai tea must have? I had to go back in my memory for an herb I loved in the ‘70’s. As a young twenty-something, I had the fun job of exploring developing countries in search of people harvesting herbs that Celestial could put in its teas.

Maybe your memory doesn’t go back that far, but before Celestial Seasoning launched its archetypal herbal teas, there weren’t any teas made from herbs sold in the USA, period!

I have always loved milk in my tea. In those days, I drank Celestial’s Roastaroma herbal tea, a predecessor to both Teeccino and chai tea, with its roasted background mixed with spices. But when I met Bruce Ginsberg, a S. African whose Russian grandfather had “discovered” an exotic tea pioneered by the Bushmen and Khoisan tribes of the Cape region in S. Africa, it was love at first sip.

You see, rooibos, which literally means ‘red bush”, goes through a natural fermentation process upon harvesting that turns it into a full bodied tea. Enough body in fact to be married with milk, which is what most herbal teas are lacking.

IMPORTING ROOIBOS FROM S. AFRICA

Fast forward to the ‘90’s and I knew rooibos would make the perfect caffeine-free chai. But no one was bringing it into the US. By then, Bruce had capitalized on his grandfather’s knowledge on how to propagate rooibos and he was exporting tons around the world. He also had a booming rooibos tea business in the UK. No small feat, I must say, as the Brits love their black tea. But rooibos was making big inroads because its earthy, rich flavor is so appealing and the absence of caffeine allows it to be enjoyed any time of the day.

Bruce’s grandfather had cracked the secret of how to propagate this wild plant which only grows exclusively in one small region in the whole world. The challenge was collecting the miniscule seeds that were flung far and wide into the sandy soil when the seed pods opened.

It turned out that a native Khoisan woman collected the most seeds by following ants carrying them to their burrows. From there, controlling the natural fermentation of rooibos was developed to produce the richest flavor enabling rooibos to become an internationally renowned tea.

INTRODUCING ROOIBOS TEA AS “THE RED TEA” TO AMERICAN TEA DRINKERS

Once I made Red Chai for The Republic of Tea, I started creating a number of rooibos-based teas. Recognizing that I was the only tea designer working with rooibos in the US, the S. African grower cooperative, Rooibos Ltd., asked my opinion as to how to reintroduce rooibos to the American public. They were selling hundreds of tons to many other countries but less than 10 tons to the US.

With their funding, I launched a public relations campaign and gave rooibos the tagline, “Red tea, the caffeine-free alternative to black and green tea”. It was a hit!

We got terrific press coverage. Editors loved writing about rooibos because not only did it have this delicious flavor, but it also had a lot of science showing its far ranging health benefits.

It’s those health benefits that have continued to propel rooibos’s popularity with tea drinkers.

HEALTH BENEFITS FROM ROOIBOS TEA

Back to the best reason to include herbs and spices in your daily diet: it’s their unique phytonutrients and their health benefits that we can’t get anywhere else from the plants we normally eat. Rooibos is a perfect example of this.

Unique polyphenols

First, rooibos is the only plant in the world that contains aspalathin, a polyphenol with antioxidant properties that has propelled scientists to study this plant’s health benefits with amazing results. It seems that aspalathin may help manage blood sugar as studies in Japan have shown. Just recently a young girl reported on social media that by giving a daily cup of rooibos tea to her diabetic dog, he was back to his normal self!

Additionally, rooibos has over 40 other polyphenols with antioxidant activity. It also contains superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that protects against oxidant-induced damage, functioning as a prime scavenger of free radicals and preventing fats from changing into harmful lipid peroxide.

Abundance of essential nutrients

Rooibos is high is vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and a number of minerals including: iron, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, fluoride, and manganese. Studies have shown that rooibos helps strengthen bones, veins and arteries for which these nutrients are essential. It also contains chrysoeriol, a flavonoid that Korean scientists found to help regulate blood pressure by affecting the hormones released by the adrenal glands.

Flavonoids that ease inflammation and indigestion

A number of other important flavonoids are found in rooibos tea including aspalathin, rutin, quercetin, luteolin, and orientin. Quercetin and luteoloin are known for their anti-inflammatory properties which may be the reason why rooibos is reputed to help people with seasonal allergies. They also help ease cramps which has given rooibos tea a reputation for helping people with digestive complaints and for its ability to soothe colicy babies.

Alpha hydroxy acids for skin care

You’ll may have found rooibos in a number of skin creams because its alpha hydroxy acids are mild acids that gently exfoliate the skin to reduce wrinkles. You can easily make a wash yourself of rooibos tea to use as a toner on your skin!

Appetite reduction

Now if all of that isn’t enough reason to include teas with rooibos in your daily diet, here’s yet another one: rooibos tea helps increase the production of leptin which is a hormone that makes you feel full. That’s right. It reduces your appetite. It also increases the metabolism of your fat cells and prevents new ones from forming.

POUR ME A CUP OF ROOIBOS TEA, PLEASE!

If you compare rooibos tea to green tea, you’ll find that it has many of the same health benefits without the caffeine. Its antioxidant capacity is higher than black tea but a little lower than green tea.

However, now there is even a “green” unfermented rooibos tea which has equivalent antioxidant properties to green tea (which is also unfermented). Green rooibos has a grassier flavor that red rooibos tea so I don’t add milk to it but I’ve created a number of delicious tasting green rooibos teas too.

Teeccino Dandelion Red Chai is the first tea in the Teeccino line to contain rooibos. Since it is one of my favorite super herb teas, I hope you’ll enjoy a cup of it soon!

What turns everything bright yellow, is an essential spice in Indian dishes and is reputed by the ancients to heal everything you can think of? Yes, that would be turmeric, the spice that is turning up in a wide range of natural food products from supplements to chips!

I like to take a deep dive into the science below the hype to get to the truth about the health benefits one can realistically expect to get from an herb. Often studies in humans are hard to find because they’re both complex and expensive to perform. But with turmeric, there are thousands of years of traditional use as well as numerous recent animal and human studies that support its reputation as a ‘super herb’.

If you’re interested in knowing why I chose to create Teeccino Dandelion Turmeric for your enjoyment, read on about how turmeric can enhance your health

THE ANCIENT AYURVEDIC HEAL-ALL

Our ancestors have been proven right again and again when it comes to the use of herbs for medicinal purposes as well as flavor enhancement. With over 46 names in Ayurvedic medicine, the system of herbal medicine developed over 5,000 years ago in India, turmeric was valued for its wide range of functions. It was used as a ceremonial herb, a culinary spice, a dye for clothing, a decoration for the skin, and of course, for numerous health conditions.

Ayurvedic medicine divides human body types into 3 doshas: vata, pitta, kapha. Both food and herbs are classified by their effect on each dosha. Unlike some herbs which are recommended for one dosha or the other, turmeric is used to balance all three doshas. I take that to mean that it was considered universally good for everyone!

CURCUMIN: ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

Turmeric contains curcumin, which is considered the bioactive constituent responsible for turmeric’s effects including its characteristic yellow color. If you look in a cup of Teeccino Dandelion Turmeric, you’ll see the yellow color coming through the dark brown liquid on the sides of your cup. That lets you know that there’s plenty of turmeric in a cup of Teeccino. If you’re consuming a food or beverage that claims to have turmeric in it but you don’t see that yellow color, then there isn’t much in it!

Famed as an anti-inflammatory compound, curcumin inhibits the inflammatory response our bodies produce naturally but which can get out of control and injure our joints, tissues, and organs. As we age, our mitochondria become less efficient and they produce more free radicals which then increase pro-inflammatory conditions. Older healthy adults have higher levels of a number of inflammatory markers when compared to younger healthy adults. The older we get, the more we need to guard against inflammation through diet and lifestyle modification.

Elevated blood sugar levels, which frequently occur from our consumption of refined carbohydrates, also contribute to a simmering inflammatory state called para-inflammation. Fat cells, especially abdominal fat, produce pro-inflammatory molecules that contribute to chronic, low-grade inflammation. Low caloric diets have been shown to reduce inflammation and are associated with longevity, but most people find calorie-restricted diets are hard to stick to for long periods of time.

Stress, lack of sleep, toxins in our environment, and exposure to cigarette smoke all increase the body’s inflammatory response. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that they have low-grade inflammation because it can be silent for a long period of time before a disease state occurs.

Consuming herbs like turmeric that reduce inflammation is one of the best ways to protect against low-grade inflammation on a daily basis. In India, where turmeric is such an essential part of their cuisine, there is a lower incidence of a number of diseases that are associated with inflammation.

EXTRACTING CURCUMIN WITH BOILING WATER

The problem with taking nutritional supplements of curcumin is that it isn’t very stable. Dr. Andy Weil, the well-known integrative MD and author, recommends that people consume turmeric instead of curcumin because the whole plant may be more effective.(1) Although curcumin isn’t highly water soluble, hot water makes it more soluble and the longer you steep, the more curcumin is extracted into the hot water. Thus brewing a cup of turmeric tea with boiling water is an effective way of getting curcumin into your body to deliver its health benefits.
Teeccino Dandelion Turmeric combines turmeric with the roots of dandelion, chicory, ginger and licorice to provide an array of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory action along with prebiotic inulin that feeds your probiotics. With plenty of stimulation to your digestion from ginger, dandelion and turmeric, made deliciously sweet without calories by licorice, a cup of Dandelion Turmeric Super Herb Tea makes the perfect finish to a meal. Just boil the water and let it steep 5-10 minutes to get the most goodness from turmeric!

(1) https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/curcumin-or-turmeric/

Veteran Teeccino Ambassador Kay recently shared Teeccino at an a U.S. News award-winning nursing home in New Jersey. She sent us a great pic of one of her converts – Julissa at the front desk – and told us about the event… “I took Teeccino to Emerson Health & Rehabilitation Center out in Oradell, NJ […]

Lauren is a longtime Teeccino Ambassador and IIN alumni who recently held an event for her new health coaching business, and shared Teeccino Tee-bags with everyone! She told us all about the big day – “I hosted an open house to launch my new Women’s Health and Wellness Business, Simply Balanced Wellness. I offer physical […]

The debate about what you should eat in order to live the longest, healthiest life possible has swung back and forth for years between two poles: high protein, low carbohydrate diets versus low fat, primarily plant-based diets. Both claim to help you maintain optimal weight and healthy hearts for longevity.

In the center is the Mediterranean diet based on eating fruits, vegetables and grains along with fish and white meat. Additionally, it includes liberal amounts of olive oil and nuts to provide “good” fats. The Mediterranean diet also allows wine and thus many find it easier to follow!

Now several long term studies analyzing thousands of people at risk to develop heart disease have come up with some definitive results. Using specific markers for inflammation and high blood pressure, the research shows that those people with the highest quantity of polyphenols in their diets had the lowest inflammation, lowest blood pressure, and healthiest cholesterol levels. Surprise, surprise ~ they also lived the longest. So let’s look at polyphenols, what they do for you and how to get over 1500 mg a day in your diet!

POLYPHENOLS = ANTIOXIDANTS

We’re all familiar with the term, antioxidants, and we know we’ll benefit from consuming lots of them. Most of us probably know that antioxidants fight free radicals which can damage your cells, your DNA and proteins. Free radicals cause cellular aging and even cancer by altering the cell’s DNA. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage by stabilizing cellular metabolism. Thus you want to be awash in antioxidants especially when you’re exposed to toxins or under stress.
The FDA in its infinite wisdom has determined that food and beverage companies are only allowed to call out antioxidants on labels if there is sufficient vitamin A, C and/or E in a serving portion. These vitamins are extremely important antioxidants, without a doubt. However, there is another group of just as important antioxidants that the FDA is ignoring. This group consists of the polyphenols found in abundance in plants.

Plant polyphenols are molecules that protect plants as well as we humans who eat them. There are thousands of polyphenol compounds, some of which are unique to certain plants and others of which are shared across many plants. Eating a plant-based diet including fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains gives you a daily dose of a wide variety of polyphenols!

The Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of all these plants as opposed to some diets that restrict certain groups like grains or legumes. Rather than narrowing what plants you will or won’t eat, think about different ways to increase the diversity of plants in your diet which you still can do despite sensitivities to gluten or other allergens.

Focusing on the rich colors of foods guarantees you’ll consume lots of polyphenols. For instance, anthocyanins are a group of polyphenols that are famous for the red, purple and blue colors they give to fruits and vegetables. Think eggplants, red wine and berries. Anthocyanins have been shown in numerous studies to help prevent heart disease, slow cognitive decline, and protect against cancer. Another group of polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, found in brown cinnamon, pine bark, hazelnuts and cacao beans as well as red cranberries, strengthen blood vessels and help repair the skin’s collagen and elastin while protecting against sun damage. Eat a rainbow of colors at every meal and you will be sure to get a diverse groups of polyphenols!

POLYPHENOLS IN YOUR FAVORITE CUPPA

Drinking water infused with herbs, spices, leaves, flowers and roots is another way to get more polyphenols from a wide variety of plants on a daily basis. Why drink just plain water when you can use your liquid refreshment to provide you with unique polyphenols?

Here’s what makes them so available: polyphenols are water soluble. For one, that makes it possible to test for polyphenols in the urine and that is exactly what these studies did to discover who ate the most polyphenols. Those people with the highest levels of polyphenols in their urine had the lowest levels of inflammation after analyzing five important inflammatory markers. They also had the lowest blood pressure with significantly increased levels of the good HDL cholesterol. Their epithelial cells produced the highest levels of nitric oxide, which keeps our blood vessels relaxed and is associated with healthy hearts and increased longevity. One study that followed over 800 men and women for 12 years found that those with the highest levels of polyphenols in their urine at the start of the study had the lowest mortality rate compared to those who started with the lowest amounts of polyphenols.

Secondly, using the age-old simple methods of brewing or steeping plants in hot water, many unique water-soluble polyphenols end up in your cup of tea, coffee, and herbal beverages like Teeccino. The health benefits you read about from studies of tea and coffee drinkers? They’re coming from the polyphenols and their antioxidant capacities. If you drink a wide variety of herbal teas, which typically are made from many different botanicals, you’ll both increase your intake and have a greater diversity of polyphenols in your diet.

For instance, if you look at spices, you’ll find their antioxidant capacities are extraordinarily high compared to anything else you consume. Aromatic herbs like peppermint, and roasted herbs like ramón seeds and dandelion roots all contribute potent polyphenols to your cup. Rooibos tea has a unique polyphenol, aspalathin, not found in any other plant, which has been studied extensively and shown to produce numerous health benefits. The number of plants we use for food is much more limited than it was in our hunting and gathering days when we were dependent on wild plants as our food source. Drinking herbal beverages can compensate for the relatively smaller number of plants we consume compared to our ancestors!

POLYPHENOLS AND THE MICROBIOME

One more thing: if you’ve been following my blog posts lately, you‘ll have read about the science that shows how important it is to consider the foods we eat in light of how they support a healthy microbiome in our gut. It turns out that only 5-10% of polyphenols are absorbed in our small intestines. What happens to the rest? They become food for the microbiota inhabiting our large intestines, i.e. our colons. They’re digested and turned into metabolites that improve our health in so many ways that the study of the microbiome is changing the way medicine will be practiced. While scientists figure out how to develop new treatments using these microbes to improve our health and reverse chronic diseases, you can create a thriving community of beneficial microbes by eating a wide variety of plants to increase your polyphenol consumption!

Now for a trip to the Mediterranean!

Robin Allen, a renowned health coach and educator, has been a Teeccino Ambassador since 2015 and we couldn’t be happier to have her on board! Robin reported after her most recent event sharing Teeccino: “Our guests/members are responding very well to Teeccino – we have turned many of them into faithful users, that either purchase […]

Trista is a new Teeccino Ambassador and blogger for A Purpose Driven Wife who has shared Teeccino at a number of events this year. Most recently she shared Teeccino at an event with about 60 attendees, and told us all about it: “I was able to share Teeccino at a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) international meeting and […]

Angel is a 3rd generation gourmet chef and Teeccino Ambassador who has done  number of events and cooking classes with Teeccino! She wrote us recently to let us know what she’s been up to lately… “The host of the first Spring Clean Eating (pictured) became a Teeccino lover instantly. She was already asking me to […]

Ellen, a holistic health coach, has been a Teeccino Ambassador since 2015, sharing Teeccino with her colleagues, clients. friends and on health retreats. She told us about her most recent event – “Last month, a group I am part of that meets monthly for book discussions, plays and other activities, met for our annual planning […]

Kay, a health and lifestyle coach and a very active Teeccino Ambassador, told us all about her most recent event sharing Teeccino with a health-conscious crowd – “Natural Awakenings Magazine of Northern New Jersey & The Cupola joined together to have their very first Healthy Living Presentation in NJ on February 4th, 2017. It was […]