The Healing Powers Of Tea, by Cal Orey
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Net Gallery/Kensington Books/Citadel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Most people who know me are aware of my fondness for drinking tea and, from time to time, reading and writing about it . My long store of fond memories about tea include many experiences drinking the sun tea that my grandmother would brew in preparation of my arrival home from school, enjoying a fine afternoon tea in Port of Spain, Trinidad as a child on my first trip abroad, and shopping for herbal teas as gifts for friends and families. Although I do not consider myself a tea snob, I do have definite opinions about what teas I prefer and have had the chance to drink a wide variety of teas and tisanes over the course of my life and have viewed my own personal reactions to those teas as experiments. By and large, I drink mostly what Americans call black teas, although there are quite a few herbal teas that I am fond of as well, especially those which calm anxiety and aid in sleep, both of which are longstanding difficulties I have faced in the course of my life.
In terms of its contents, this book has a lot to offer. After a foreword about sweet tea, the first two chapters of this book look at tea time in the power of tea and the ancient traditions of tea. The next three chapters serve as a testimonial of sorts for the health benefits of black tea. After this come three chapters that look at the health benefits of white tea, a more obscure and costly drink that might be out of reach for many but not for the hipsters that are this author’s target audience. Three chapters then look at the health benefits of other types of tea–green tea, red tea, and herbal teas. The fifth part of the book contains three chapters on the properties of tea that in the eyes of the author make it a suitable accompaniment to the Mediterranean diet, help people lose weight, and reduce the effects of aging. The sixth part of the book looks at tea cures and home remedies, while three chapters follow giving speculations on the part of the author about the future of tea. The book closes with two chapters on recipes that accompany or are infused by tea (some of which are included in other chapters), along with tea resources for those curious about knowing more. Each chapter contains a variety of contents including recipes, personal stories, interviews, and points to ponder and steep on at the end.
This book is a reasonably comprehensive and chatty look at the benefits of teas from someone who modestly does not consider herself to be a tea expert but who clearly knows enough about teas to have her own opinions and her own evangelical fervor about a wide variety of teas. Her ecumenical attitude towards teas and tisanes allows her occasionally irritating and Progressive sentiments to go down a bit easier, and thankfully she does not harp on matters of cultural politics although they do appear from time to time as she praises progressive tea drinkers, especially of the younger generation. This book was written in a good style for the sort of work it is, and given the quality of this book, it appears likely that I will enjoy reading some of her other volumes about the health benefits of olive oil, vinegar, honey, chocolate, and other foods that I am fond of eating and choose to eat because of their health benefits given my own particularly challenging situation. As someone afflicted with a great deal of inflammatory problems–namely an excessively sensitive digestive system and intermittent but serious gout–the anti-inflammatory properties of tea are something that I have long appreciated. This book strives to avoid crossing over the line that would lead it to be viewed as favoring snake oil cures but the author clearly views diet (and exercise) as vital elements of a healthy life and seems particularly fond of Mediterranean and East Asian dietary pathways. Take it or leave it, as you wish.
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