THE Best Hot Tea Ever

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When visiting an Ethiopian friend she made the best hot tea once - they always make it that way so they thought nothing about it.

I, on the other hand, about fell out and started raving - the aroma, the TASTE, the color, oh my.

I BEGGED her to show me EXACTLY how she made it. Bemused, she graciously did so.

Using a 2qt teakettle you set on the stove top and fill with water, nothing modern or electric, just a normal kettle (or one could use a pan), she let the water come to a boil. Then added a healthy pinch of her Ethiopian spice mix, which consists of whole cloves, whole cardamom, and cinnamon sticks.

I carefully noted how much per pot: this can change depending on what you grab in the pinch, but typically it was 3-5 whole cloves, 2 whole cardamom seed pods, and make sure you get one cinnamon stick in there.

She waited awhile til the water turned color, a lovely color hard to describe but it's kind of pink, and it has a heavenly scent; then she added regular plain old Lipton black tea bags to cups, and poured the water into the cups.

When they get sick or feel something coming on, they make hot tea the same way they always do (with the spices), but they will also add a few slices of fresh ginger into the pot, at the time they add the spices. They wake up the next morning feeling fine - the ginger really does kill it for them.

I love honey and lemon in mine, as well, both of which have numerous health benefits. I have to back off the honey, tho.

Zylitol is a powerhouse of healthy benefits, so I use it for sweetening. I USE ZYLITOL THAT IS SOURCED FROM BIRCH TREES, NOT CORN. More on xylitol below.

When I have my own apt, my teakettle has a permanent spot on the kitchen burner, and always has spices in the bottom. I call it, "Hana's tea", in my friend's honor, which makes her eyes sparkle and makes her smile, since all Ethiopians make it the same way. I keep a Tupperware container full of tea bags, and another one full of Ethiopian tea spices, on the counter.

You can buy a big bag of each of the components frugally (cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole cardamom) if you go to the ethnic section of a large grocery store. Never buy them from the American spices section (except those who are well off so the $ doesn't matter to them).

Health benefits of cloves:
The bud is the small ball on the end of the clove stick, and the bud is what releases clove oil into the tea. Essential oil is also made from cloves. Cloves contain the plant phenol eugenol, which is respsonsible for clove's analgesic, anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and germicidal effects. Clove has the unique capacity to establish an environment in the body that is inhospitable to potential invaders. Clove is a natural antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-fungal agent. It also holds circulation-stimulating capacities. The oil of cloves has been used in a variety of health conditions including indigestion, generalized stress, parasitic infestations, cough, toothaches, headache, and blood impurities. An expert panel German Commission recently approved the use of its essential oil as a topical antiseptic and anaesthetic.
- Cloves are high in many minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, hydrochloric acid, potassium, and the vitamins C , K and A. They are also extremely rich in manganese.
- An effective aid for food poisoning, clove oil effectively kills many forms of bacterial infections from contaminated foods.
- Clove oil stimulates the circulatory system, clearing the mind and reducing mental exhaustion and fatigue.
- It has also been used to aid insomnia, memory loss, anxiety and depression.
- Clove oil clears the respiratory passages, acting as an expectorant for treating many upper-respiratory conditions including colds, eye styes, bronchitis, sinus conditions, cough and asthma.
- Clove oil purifies the blood, aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels, and may have benefits for diabetic individuals.
- Clove oil is a general immune system booster. It's antiviral and cleansing properties purify the body, augmenting our resistance to disease.
- Clove oil offers a powerful action against gas and bloating. It reduces gas pressure in the stomach, aiding in the proper elimination of food and toxins.
- It also relieves the discomfort of peptic ulcers.
- Effective for stomach related conditions including nausea, hiccups, motion sickness and vomiting.
- Preliminary studies suggest that clove oil may play a chemopreventative role against cancer, particularly in cases of lung, skin and digestive cancers.
- The active essential oil in clove, eugenol, has been shown to be beneficial to cardiovascular health because it acts as a an effective platelet inhibitor, preventing blood clots.
- Studies show that clove oil can prevent toxicity related to exposure to environmental pollution.

Health benefits of cinnamon

Choose organically grown cinnamon to ensure that it has not been irradiated. Irradiating cinnamon may lead to a decrease in its vitamin C and carotenoid content. Cinnamon is the name for about a dozen species of trees and the commercial spice products that some of them produce. All are members of the genus Cinnamomum in the family Lauraceae. Verify you are buying true Ceylon cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum, also called Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Sri Lanka cinnamon; and not cassia, which is often sold as cinnamon in stores. Ceylon cinnamon has tightly-rolled quills (or sticks) that are very delicate; they feel like parchment paper, which you can break apart with your fingertips. The hard, dense sticks are not ceylon.
- Lowers Cholesterol - Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
- Blood Sugar Regulation - Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
- Yeast Infection Help - In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
- Cancer Prevention - In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
- Anti-Clotting - It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
- Arthritis Relief - In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
- Anti-Bacterial - When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
- Brain Health - One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
- E. Coli Fighter - Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
- High in Nutrients - It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Health benefits of cardamom
There are two kinds; green pods which is what Hana and therefore I use; and black pods or elletria.

Cardamom contains many plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. The spicy pods contain many essential volatile oils that include pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.
- The therapeutic properties of cardamom-oil have found application in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic.
- Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 100 g pods contain 1119 mg of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.
- It is also an excellent source of iron and manganese. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger.
- Cardamom is rich in many vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C.

Thread about xylitol, what it is and why it's healthy:

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