I drink a lot of tea and I’ve heard for years that it was good for you. I also have found several ways to use the used tea bags and leaves, so I thought I would investigate it a little further. Below is some of what I found out.
It’s not only healthy and delicious, but is also useful in other ways. Following are some different uses for it other than consumption.
If you enjoy tea as much as I do you might also find the Tea Club of interest. It’s a great way to try different teas.
USES FOR TEA AND TEA BAGS
Soothe burns and sunburns – You stayed out on the beach just a little too long, and even your sunscreen didn’t keep you from getting an uncomfortable sunburn. Wet tea bags can take out the sting. Just pat them onto affected areas or keep in place with gauze. This works for other types of burns as well. If the sunburn is too wide spread you can also put tea into your bath water and soak your whole body.
Ease tired achy eyes – When your eyes ache from reading or staring at a computer all day, pamper yourself with some tea. You can drink a cup of course, or you can wet two tea bags with warm or cool water, and lie down with one tea bag on each eye. Relax for at least 15 minutes, and your eyes (and you) will feel invigorated. Chilled chamomile tea bags are particularly effective against puffiness.
Reduce razor burn – and take care of a messy shave. A wet tea bag is a soothing way to treat shaving nicks and cuts.
Darken gray hair – Make your own natural dye for dark hair that’s going gray. Steep three regular-size tea bags in a cup of boiling water. Add a tablespoon of fresh or dried rosemary and a tablespoon of fresh or dried sage. Let it stand at least three hours — overnight is better — and strain. Shampoo your hair. Then, wearing old clothes because it can stain, pour or spray the mixture on your hair, saturating it thoroughly. Blot with a towel and dry. Don’t rinse it out. You may have to repeat the process a few times before the gray hair turns dark again.
Condition dry hair – To give natural shine to dry hair, use a quart of warm, unsweetened tea (freshly brewed or instant) as a final rinse after your regular shampoo.
Tan your skin with tea – Give pale skin a healthy tan appearance without the dangerous ultraviolet rays. Brew two cups of strong black tea, let it cool and pour into a plastic spray bottle. Make sure your skin is clean and dry. Then spray the tea directly onto your skin and let it air dry. Repeat as desired for a healthy looking glowing tan.
Drain a boil – Drain a boil with a boiled tea bag. Cover a boil with a wet tea bag overnight and the boil should drain without pain by the time you wake up the next morning.
Sooth and heal an ingrown toenail – Chamomile works best for this, but a regular tea bag helps also. Heat the tea bag in hot water and then wait for it to cool. Place on the toenail and in a few minutes it will feel better. Helps with healing as well.
Sooth nipples sore from nursing – When breast feeding the baby leaves your nipples sore, treat them to an ice cold bag of tea. Just brew a cup of tea, remove the bag, and place it in a cup of ice for about a minute. Then place the wet tea bag on the sore nipple and cover it with a nursing pad under your bra for several minutes while you enjoy the cup of tea. The tannic acid in the wet tea leaves will sooth and help heal the sore nipple.
Stop bleeding gums – If you’ve just had a tooth pulled, or if you have a youngster who just lost a tooth, tea bags can help stop the bleeding. Just wet a tea bag with cool water and press into the spot the tooth came from.
Relieve baby’s pain from injection – Is the baby still crying from that recent inoculation shot? Try wetting a tea bag and placing it over the site of the injection. Hold it gently in place until the crying stops. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the soreness. You might even try it on yourself the next time an injection leaves your arm sore.
Dry poison ivy rash – Dry a weepy poison ivy rash with strong brewed tea. Simply dip a cotton ball into the tea, dab it on the affected area, and let it air dry. Repeat as needed.
Stop foot odor – Put an end to smelly feet by giving them a daily tea bath. Just soak your tootsies in strong brewed tea for 20 minutes a day and say goodbye to offensive odors.
Freshen your breath – A cup of mint tea is a good-tasting breath freshener for after meals, especially if you can’t brush your teeth, or don’t like gum or candy mints. Carry a few mint tea bags with you so you’ll always be prepared.
Mouth Wash – Save a little of your morning tea to use as a mouth wash and gargle. Tea fights bad breath and kills bacteria. The fluoride in tea also helps make teeth strong and protects them against cavities.
Tea and teeth – Help fight against cavities and gum disease by rinsing with cooled tea. Tea is antibacterial so it will help guard against gingivitis. Tea also contains fluoride to help keep teeth and bones strong.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Tenderize meat – If you can’t afford expensive cuts of meat, try marinating or cooking your meat in tea. The tannins in tea work as a tenderizer to make the meat tasty and delicious.
Cooking with tea – When adding dried fruit to recipes. Soak them in hot tea (any flavor) to make them plump and moist.
When baking, replace water in the ingredients with Earl Grey tea for extra flavor.
Remove old furniture polish – Boil two tea bags in a quart of water and let cool. Soak a soft cloth in the tea and wring out. Wipe off dirt and old polish, let dry, buff, and then decide if you need to reapply polish.
Tea Dying – To give linen an antique look or to hide stains. This also is a wonderful way to extend the life of worn sheets, or white or beige scrap material. It can also give new life to old placemats, doilies and handkerchiefs.
This technique works on white or light colored linen.
4 – 20 black tea bags (depends on the size of the article to dye)
- 4 bags = 1-2 napkins
- 20 bags = 1 small table cloth
- Sauce Pan (size depends on the article to dye)
- Medium sauce pan = 2 – 4 napkins
- Large pasta pan = 1 small table cloth
- Fill ½ of the pan with water.
- Add the tea bags. The more tea bags you use the darker the color.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Remove from heat.
- Soak article to be dyed in pan with tea bags. Be sure to get all areas wet.
- Let it soak for… minutes for light color
minutes for medium color hour for darkest color
- Stir every 5 minutes to get even color.
- Wring out all liquid.
- To set the new color, place in the dryer. Be sure to clean the dryer after use, so you don’t stain the next load of laundry.
- If you need to hang it to dry, iron it when it’s almost dry. The heat helps to set the color.
- If it is too dark, wash it with detergent before drying.
Mirrors that sparkle and shine – Brew up a batch of strong tea, let it cool, and then use it to clean your mirrors. Buff it dry with a soft cloth for a great streak-free shine.
Keep the dust down – Sprinkle damp tea leaves over the ashes in your fireplace before cleaning it out. The tea will help keep the ashes from rising and getting all over the place while you lift them out.
Tea as a deodorizer – Place a dish of tea leaves in your refrigerator to keep it smelling fresh.
- • Put dry tea leaves in a knee high stocking and stuff it into shoes and sneakers to keep them smelling fresh.
- • Remove fish and onion odors from your hands by rinsing them with cooled tea.
FOR THE GARDEN
A tea party for your roses – Tea leaves sprinkled under your rose bushes will give them a new lease on life in mid-summer. Tea provides tannic acid, which roses love.
Feed your houseplants – For lush, luxurious ferns, give them an occasional spot of tea. Use tea instead of water once in a while, or work wet tea leaves into the soil.
Fertilizer for the Garden – Brewed tea leaves yield nitrogen, phosphoric acid, manganese, and potash. To use as fertilizer in the garden, pour 1 quart boiling water over 1 cup tea leaves (black or green) cover, and steep for 15 minutes, then strain, let cool and water needy plants.
Seed your lawn with a tea bag patch – Sow grass seed in small bare spots with a used tea bag. Make sure the bag is moist, and place it on the dirt where you want the grass. Sprinkle it with seed. The bag will hold moisture and gradually decompose.
Out of the teapot and into potted plants – Place a few used tea bags in the bottom of a planter, on top of your drainage material (gravel, Styrofoam, etc.). Add soil and your plants as usual. The tea bags will hold moisture and gradually leach nutrients into the soil.
Enhance your compost pile – To speed up decomposition process and enrich your compost pour a few cups of strongly brewed tea into the heap. The liquid tea will hasten decomposition and draw acid producing bacteria. Creates desirable acid rich compost.
After you have brewed your tea, don’t throw the bags away. Add them to your compost.
What Makes Tea Good for the Body?
Tea contains high levels of antioxidants, some of which are called polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, and all of which take on the “free radicals” in the body and prevent them from harming the healthy cells on board.
In other words, sending in antioxidants is disease prevention in its finest form. Antioxidants are ready and waiting not only in teas but also in several fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, and even wines. If that were not enough, tea also contains flouride which benefits your teeth and has bacteria killing properties which helps control bad breath and the formation of plaque.
Are All Teas Equally Good for the Body?
This is a question researchers are still squabbling over. Does green tea have more antioxidants than black tea? Should I drink instant tea or loose leaf tea for better health benefits? Is hot tea better than iced tea? And here’s what it comes down to:
Higher quality teas may have more catechin antioxidants than lower quality teas.
White tea has more antioxidants than any other tea.
Green tea has more catechin antioxidants than black tea since black tea goes through more processing.
Unfermented rooibos tea has more polyphenol antioxidants than fermented rooibos.
Freshly brewed teas have more polyphenol antioxidants than instant or bottled teas.
More researchers seem to agree that brewed (cold or hot) or caffeinated tea has more antioxidants than instant teas. Here’s a short preview of the hundreds of recent studies that boast the health benefits of tea and its antioxidants:
- Study finds tea drinkers have lower blood pressure (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004).
- Tea may lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease (Journal of Nutrition, 2003).
- Black tea may lower “bad” cholesterol (United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, 2003).
- Tea consumption may help heart disease patients (Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association, 2001).
- Green tea could help stem esophageal cancer. (Harvard Medical School, 2004).
- Green and black tea can slow down the spread of prostate cancer (Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, 2004).
- Tea may protect against cancer caused by smoking. (Journal of Nutrition, 2003).
- Green tea and white tea fight colon cancer (Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University study, Carcinogenesis, 2003).
- Hot tea may lower risk of some skin cancers (University of Arizona study, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (Vol. 9, No. 7), 2001).
- Green tea consumption may lower stomach cancer risk (University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health study, International Journal of Cancer (Vol. 92: 600-604), 2001).
- Green and oolong teas reduce risk of hypertension (National Cheng Kung University study, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004).
- Tea believed to boost the body’s defenses (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2003)
- A green tea component helps kill leukemia cells (Mayo Clinic, 2004).
- Drinking tea might delay Alzheimer’s Disease (Newcastle University’s Medicinal Plant Research Centre study, Phytotherapy Research, 2004).
- Tea may play a role as an AIDS fighter (University of Tokyo, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2003).
So how do you get started in doing your body some good with tea?
To get the most health benefits out of your teas, choose high-quality loose leaf teas from your local or online tea shop. Brew it up and enjoy. And of course, don’t throw out the idea of enjoying instant or bottled teas when you’re on the go. You just might have to drink a little more.
Don’t wait any longer. Sip, savor, and fight disease today. It’s never too late to enjoy the many health benefits of tea!