The media’s exploding with news tidbits surrounding the progressive marijuana legislation in our mile-high state of Colorado. Food pairings, cooking with weed, herbal infusion blends – are all topics which you see in the headlines in our local papers. As a tea company based in Boulder, it all sounds almost too familiar to us. You could almost substitute “premium tea” as the subject in many of the articles, and come up with something pertinent. Camellia sinensis, aka the tea plant, has long been associated with mood and performance benefits, such as relaxation and concentration.
Now, a study by Suzanne Einother and Vanessa Martens of Unilever Research released in the December 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, details the effects of “our” tea leaf, and its ingredients theanine and caffeine, on mood enhancement. Theanine, which occurs naturally only in the leaves of Camellia sinensis, is a mental and physical relaxant that does not induce drowsiness. We’ll take that as a major benefit for those of us who work.
Theobromine, also naturally occurring in the tea leaf, is sometimes used as a mild antidepressant and aphrodisiac.
“Tea Drunk” is even a recognized term amongst tea fanatics, referring to a mildly ecstatic light-headed condition after drinking a new, or super high-end tea. In reality, this one may be something that’s brought on by plummeting blood sugar levels, when we drink too much caffeine on an empty stomach… something that’s easy to do when you’re faced with an amazing new tea!
Caffeine, which has been referred to as the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug, has a host of benefits that contribute to its widespread use. Aside from the possibility of creating a mild drug dependence, medical studies, including one published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, have shown that one of these benefits is mood elevation. Another study, by D. Scott et al., ”The effect of drinking tea at high altitude on hydration status and mood” published in the April, 2004 European Journal of Applied Physiology studied climbers at Everest Base camp. They concluded that the men and women who drank hot brewed tea as a major part of fluid intake at 18,000 ft showed no evidence of increased dehydration from drinking the caffeinated beverage. In addition, the climbers reported feeling less fatigued when tea was included in their diets. Score another one for the tea lovers!
So the next time you want to make your imagination climb, think about which Rocky Mountain High you should turn to… and you may conclude that it’s no wonder the most popular choice of beverage in the world, after water, is infused from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.
This article has been updated from the original publication, January 22, 2014