Good news for tea drinkers: a recent study by the Tea Advisory Panel found that herbal infusions, as a good source of flavonoids and other polyphenols, could benefit certain aspects of health. We chatted with Shabnam Weber, president of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, about these findings, and asked her to reveal her all-time fave tea flavour. Pinkies up! —Vita Daily
Hi Shabnam! Please tell us a bit about yourself and the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.
I have been in the tea industry for almost 20 years. Before taking on my current role, I owned and operated my own tea company, a tea school and was also a director on the board of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada. My deep love and passion for tea has been long running. It's that passion that inspired me to write THAC's well known and recognized Tea Sommelier program and it's my perspective of having run my own business that allows me to look at my current work from many different perspectives. The Tea and Herbal Association of Canada is the leading authority and industry voice on all things tea in Canada and represents members from bush to cup. We are passionate about tea and dedicated to increasing awareness of quality tea and its health benefits to Canadians.
What was the recent Tea Advisory Panel tasked with researching, regarding the health benefits of herbal infusions?
The Tea Advisory Panel is an independent panel consisting of nutritionists, biochemists, dieticians, dentists and doctor. It undertook a systematic review of the latest supporting research evidence for the health and wellbeing benefits of herbal teas with a spotlight on five key herbal infusions: Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Rosehip and Ginger. This new review paper shows there is a growing body of evidence testing the efficacy of herbal infusions in relation to aspects of wellbeing.
What were some of the panel's key/most interesting findings?
The panel found several areas of evidence-based benefits linked to daily consumption of different herbal tea infusions at intakes of one to three cups daily. These were improved sleep quality and glycaemic control with chamomile tea, less osteoarthritic stiffness and improved hormone control after drinking spearmint tea, reduced oxidative stress with lemon balm tea, and fewer period-related cramps with rosehip tea.
Where does a good cup of tea come in?
For me, tea is a part of my every day. I enjoy it in the morning when I wake up, during the day to stay refreshed, in the afternoon for a break and in the evening to unwind. A "good" cup of tea is so personal and I find that is the beauty of tea: it can truly be all things to all people. If it makes you FEEL good then it's a good cup of tea.
Any top tea-drinking (for health) tips?
The health benefits, by and large, seem attributed to the polyphenol and flavonoid contents of the herbal teas. Different profiles of active components convey differing health benefits, so to gain the most of these benefits we recommend that consumers drink from the wide range of tea and herbal infusion products available. Integrating tea into your everyday lifestyle is truly the key in gaining any benefits found in tea. Enjoy your favourite tea and the benefits will follow.
Your favourite herbal flavour, and why?
Anyone who knows me knows that I have an affinity toward lemon; so give me an herbal blend with citrus flavours, and I'm happy. One of my favourite herbs is Lemon Myrtle from Australia. Try it: you'll know what I mean.