JusTea Blog Archives

5 Surprising Ways Chamomile Tea Can Benefit Your Health

Guest Post by: Jenny Hart

Jenny Hart is a health and wellness writer with a passion for travel, cycling and books. Her focus is topics related to the effects of ageing on health and she is interested in research that can help people age better. When she isn’t writing or travelling, she’s traversing NYC with her two dogs Poochie and Ramone.

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People have been drinking chamomile tea for thousands of years. It was used in ancient Egypt as a treatment for colds, and the Romans used it to flavor drinks, to scent incense, and as a medicinal herb. Chamomile was also used to flavor beer before hops were.

Today, people use chamomile for all sorts of health benefits. Some of these benefits are better-documented than others, but many of them have research backing them up. Here are some health benefits of chamomile, and what they mean for you.

Chamomile Cleanse

Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune system. It helps protect our body from bacteria and viruses. But sometimes, it goes overboard, and inflammation occurs even when there’s nothing to protect you from. This can be caused by certain types of arthritis, by asthma or other long-term illness, or simply by getting older. (This process is called “inflammaging.”)

Inflammation can cause muscle stiffness and discomfort. But it’s also a risk factor for other conditions, like Alzheimer’s and kidney disease. That means that keeping inflammation in check is an important part of staying healthy as you get older.

One of our best protections against inflammation is antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent your body from firing up the inflammation response when it isn’t needed. And chamomile tea is a fantastic source of several antioxidants. (They’re called “flavonoids” and “polyphenols,” if you want to get technical.)

May Help Digestive Health

Partially because of the anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile tea has been shown across several studies to help with a wide range of GI issues. Chamomile has long been a traditional treatment for indigestion, gas and nausea. Studies on animals have shown that chamomile extract can help with diarrhea, ulcers, and other, similar issues.

Many digestive problems are interconnected. They’re symptoms of each other, or influence each other. Taking care of one or two can sometimes stop a wide range of symptoms. While we still need more research about the ways that chamomile affects our digestive system, so far the news all looks pretty good.

Helps Fight Diabetes Complications

Studies have shown that chamomile tea can lower average blood sugar in people with diabetes, and studies of people and animals alike have shown that it can help reduce blood sugar spikes after eating.

Blood sugar makes a huge difference in managing diabetes complications. High blood sugar can reduce the flow of blood to the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to your organs and extremities. This can cause problems in your brain, eyes, kidneys, and feet.

While chamomile tea is no substitute for insulin or your other diabetes medications, it can definitely help when used alongside those things.

May reduce anxiety and help with relaxation and sleep

One of chamomile’s oldest uses is as a sleep aid. (Not every study out there has confirmed that chamomile helps people get to sleep, but a lot of them have!)

But sleep isn’t the only mental health benefit that chamomile tea can provide. Several studies have come along showing that chamomile tea may help reduce the severity of anxiety. Some of these studies used tea itself, while others used a pill made from concentrated chamomile. Not every single study agrees, but many of them indicate that chamomile can help reduce the symptoms and severity of generalized anxiety disorder.

Reducing menstrual pain

There was another study that found chamomile helped reduce anxiety, but that wasn’t the study’s main point. Instead, that study was about whether chamomile tea could help with menstrual pain. Turns out, it did! Those researchers weren’t alone, though. The anti-oxidants help with inflammation that causes pain, and another substance in the tea, called glycine, helps

Chamomile and your health

There are plenty of reasons to drink chamomile tea. From the ritual of preparing it, to the actual taste and smell of the tea itself. But it also seems to help our bodies with a wide range of things, from cramping to anxiety to stomach distress. It’s not a cure-all—nothing is. But it does nudge your body in a positive direction, in a lot of ways. And we could all use a little help with that.

— Jenny Hart

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JusTea’s Chamomile Cleanse is a calming and smooth blend of organic chamomile and lemongrass that helps cleanse your body of toxins and calm your mind of stress. Members of a Kenyan women’s coop handpick the organic lemongrass in this blend. Your tea purchase directly benefits their employment.

JusTea Chamomile Cleanse

Health Benefits of Lemon Lavender Tea

This week we announced our new limited edition Thrive Lemon Lavender tea. This caffeine-free, herbal loose leaf blend will be available through January and is limited to only 50 refill pouches. Additionally, 10% of sales will go to our Kenya Life Gardens project with Thrive.

Thrive Lemon Lavender tea laid out on table with ingredients

The healing-powered ingredients that make up this blend are lavender, lemongrass, licorice root, and ginger. It was blended by our very own Tea Captain, Paul Bain, with the organic lemongrass  coming from the same Women’s Tea Co-op in Kenya that we partner with for all of our herbal teas. We’ve broken down the health benefits of each ingredient for you below.

We don’t expect this tea to last much longer so order it now while stock lasts. 10% of your purchase will go to training members of our community in Kenya, as they learn sustainable organic farming techniques to improve the quality and quantity of their food. The greatest outcomes of this project are a projected 75% reduction in local malaria cases, higher quality food for tea farmers and their families, and enough surplus food to generate additional income.

Health Benefits of Lavender

Unsurprisingly, lavender has historically been used mainly for its scent. The Egyptians used it as a perfume and in mummification rituals; Medieval and Renaissance France used it to scent laundry; and the Romans used it in cooking and bathing.

Over time we’ve come to understand lavender’s effects on more than just the nose, and it can often be seen making an appearance in herbal alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription medication. Its main health-related uses include:

  • Countering insomnia
  • Natural pain remedy
  • Improving skin quality
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Relief of asthma symptoms
  • Combat fungus growth
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Lessens the effects of menopause

As a tea, lavender has been found to be most helpful for reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.

Health Benefits of Lemongrass

The lemon in this blend’s title actually comes from lemongrass. Similarly to lavender, lemongrass has a history of use in perfumes and other scent-based applications. From a health perspective, lemongrass is known for:

  • Relieving anxiety
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Preventing infection
  • Boosting oral health
  • Relieving pain
  • Boosting red blood cell count
  • Relieving bloating

One of the main contemporary uses of herbal tea is relaxation and reduction of stress, and this lemon lavender blend is, as you’re probably gathering by now, an excellent option for that.

Health Benefits of Licorice Root

From a health perspective, licorice root is best known for combatting upper respiratory symptoms and benefiting the digestive tract. This includes:

  • Treatment of canker sores and ulcers
  • Reduction of effects of bronchitis
  • Relief from symptoms of bowel cancer
  • Soothing indigestion
  • Lessening the effects of menopause

While there’s no risk of this from the small amount used in our tea, it’s also fascinating to note that gross overconsumption of licorice can have a poisoning effect. The results of this are high blood pressure, swelling and sluggishness! On Halloween in 2017, the FDA published a statement that said: “Black licorice contains a sweetening compound called glycyrrhizin, which can cause a drop in potassium levels. The good news is that potassium levels return to normal after you stop eating copious amounts of black licorice.”

Health Benefits of Ginger

We’ll bet you’ve made yourself ginger and lemon tea on more than one occasion of having the flu in the past! Stating its potency as a health-giving food seems almost redundant today, but nevertheless, some of the health benefits of this delicious spice include:

  • Help with digestion
  • Relief of nausea
  • Relief cold and flu symptoms
  • Reduction of pain and inflammation
  • Improved cardiovascular health

 


 

So there you have it. As we take on the challenges of January weather (at least here in Canada!), cozy up with a mug of this limited-time herbal tea and we’ll contribute 10% of your sale to training our friends in Kenya to grow their own health-giving foods.

NB. These health statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Hand-Carved Kenyan Spoon Partnership

Makueni Carvers: Here’s the scoop on our hand-carved Kenyan spoon partnership

According to your reviews, the crafty little wooden tea spoons that come attached to the side of our loose leaf tins are as loved by our customers as they are us! To keep up with demand we are expanding our carving partnership, and the Makueni Carvers have designed a new spoon shape that showcases the beautiful grain of the olive wood they’re made from. This upgrade also features the removal of the plastic beads from around the neck of each spoon. They are subsequently now both more functional (they can now be used for other foods like jam, honey, spices, and sugar) and more eco-friendly as we try to reduce our use of plastic (see our recently released compostable refill pouches).

3x olive wood wooden spoons

You may already know that our mission is to help develop sustainable and ethical tea farming practices in Kenya, and increase trade in tea-growing communities by importing only the highest quality of tea for steepers all over the globe. What you may not know is that this mission applies to more than just tea leaves. In this blog post we turn our attention towards the people behind our wooden spoons: a group of carvers from Makueni County in southern Kenya.

Note: The profile images in this article were sent from a cell phone in Kenya and their quality is subsequently not excellent. The images at the bottom are our own from a past trip to Makueni.

Samuel carving a spoon

Samuel is 36 and has 2 children. He is from Makueni County and was formerly a subsistence farmer. He turned to wood carving after several seasons of crop failures and now comfortably supports his family and both of his daughters, who are in school.

 

William organizes the spoons

William is 58 and also comes from Makueni County. He has been carving wood for 17 years and encourages unemployed youth in the community to learn the skill. He is also a key figure in creating work for and training new carvers.

 

Joyce, Jannifer and Roda beading spoons

Joyce (44), Jannifer (52) and Roda (50) work at sanding, oiling, and beading. They taught themselves beadwork 5 years ago because farm work was becoming too physically demanding, and they now earn a much higher wage that allows them to contribute to school fees for their grandchildren.

Joyce says she loves this work because she can “sit and chat with good friends while we do our work. I also love that we are making things that will be used in homes far away. Everyone can have a small piece of Kenya with them”.

 

Justus poses for the camera

Justus is 42 with 4 children.  He comes from Taita-Taveta County, south of Makueni and just over the border from Tanzania. He was also a subsistence farmer but now earns enough from wood carving to employ people to work on his small farm.

Economic and Environmental Sustainability

Carving of this type is mostly a seasonal job because the demand is driven by tourism, so in the off-season there is a reduced need for workers. Our spoons are made year-round and by partnering with the group we’re helping to create sustainable employment for over 80 carving families. 90% of the price JusTea pays for the spoons goes directly to the carvers, with the remaining 10% going to supplies and transport. They earn about 2-3 times the minimum wage in Kenya.

Coming from the beautiful Kenyan highlands, the group share our west coast love for nature and they make every effort to produce sustainably. All of the spoons are made from off-cuts of olive wood from larger items like bowls and tourist gifts (think carved giraffes). By turning these off-cuts into spoons the carvers reduce their waste and create for themselves additional income. Climate change looks a lot different in Kenya than it does in North America, the effects of which underscore the importance of increasing forest cover around the country. Together, we have committed to planting 3 trees for every one that is cut down, ensuring an exponential environmental return.

 


 

This week we announced a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket-inspired spoon lottery: 20 special painted spoons are waiting to be found through orders on our website, Amazon (CA & US), and even in stores across the continent that carry our products. If you find one of these painted spoons you’ll win a free loose leaf tea tin of your choice (including a spoon!), plus one of our new compostable refill pouches.

 

JusTea Spoon Lottery

 


 

We’ll leave you with these pictures of the carvers at work, taken on a recent trip to Makueni County.

How to make a London Fog

If there’s one thing that makes us crave tea even more than our normal above average obsession with it, it’s rain. The patter of rain on the windows and a big warm cup of tea? Nothing is better.

So as fall approaches and the inevitable rainy days follow, we welcome it with open arms (and a warm cup of tea)! In this case, an Earl Grey Vanilla Tea Latte, otherwise known as a London Fog.

London Fog ingredients

London Fogs are delicious. They’re rich and creamy and the vanilla bean beautifully compliments the bright citrus bergamot flavours from the Earl Grey tea. Perfect for snuggling up with with a warm blanket and a good book!

JusTea Kenyan Earl Grey tea being added to a pan of hot water

Our Kenyan Earl Grey is made with cold-pressed bergamot oil, which provides an aromatic and rich taste with flavours of bright citrus and wildflowers. Grown under the Mediterranean sun, the organic bergamot oranges marry perfectly with the natural fruity notes of our whole leaf Kenyan tea. Unlike any other Earl Grey you have tasted, it’s no wonder it’s one of our best sellers!

Add milk to the Earl Grey tea

Servings: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

JusTea London Fog Ingredients

2 cups water
2 tsp (or 2 teabags) of our Kenyan Earl Grey
4 cups milk of your choice (we used almond milk – delicious!)
2 tbsp honey
1 vanilla bean

How to make a London Fog

  1. Add the water to a medium-sized pot over high heat. When the water begins to boil, turn the heat to low and add the tea leaves (or tea bags). Let the tea steep until it’s as dark and strong as possible (about 5-7 minutes).
  2. While you’re waiting for the tea to steep slice open the vanilla bean pod and scrape the seeds out, set aside.
  3. Remove the tea from the pot (if using loose leaf tea strain through a tea strainer into another cup or pot and then return tea into pot) and stir in honey until it dissolves.
  4. Add the milk, the vanilla bean seeds and the whole vanilla bean pod to the pot and stir gently with a spoon until the mixture reaches a simmer. Keep the heat low to prevent mixture from boiling and maintain a low simmer. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Strain the mixture as you pour it into 4 mugs and enjoy!

If you tried this recipe leave a comment below or tag us in your photos @justeakenya on Instagram or Facebook! Cheers, friends!

A mug of JusTea London Fog on a rainy windowsill

Other recipes and posts you might enjoy

Compostable Refill Pouches are here!

We’re proud to announce a new kind of packaging for refill pouches… now when you want to refill your tin, there will be ZERO packaging waste!

Compostable Refill Pouches

Introducing our new Omnidegradable Refill Pouches!

Not sure what Omnidegradable means? Here’s the down-low: regular plastics take centuries to decompose and are clogging oceans, landfills and sewers.

Omnidegradable Plastics are fully backyard compostable, meaning that you can throw them in your home compost and they will fully decompose in a very short amount of time (including the zipper on the pouch!). Even if they end up in a landfill they will biodegrade naturally and much quicker than other forms of packaging.

If you don’t have a home compost then we recommend reusing these pouches! These can be rinsed out and are shelf-stable indefinitely. They can be used to store Cheese, Meats etc. instead of using plastic zip-lock bags.  Want more info? Click here

Compostable Refill Pouches JusTea

 

Compostable Refill Pouches JusTea

Classic Southern Sweet Tea (Kenyan Style)

Ahhh Southern Sweet Tea, a classic! Of course, we had to put our own Kenyan twist on it by using our Mt. Kenya Black Tea. Mt. Kenya Black brings malty and sweet flavours with notes of dried fruit and cocoa bean, giving this southern classic a Kenyan punch!

We tried to think of some ideal situations to sip on this, but to be honest this classic goes with just about anything in the summertime! Sitting at your desk getting through the workday, in the backyard putting in some time in the garden, you name it! Southern Sweet Tea (Kenyan style) has got your back.

Classic Southern Sweet Tea

Of course, this classic is SO simple and takes only two ingredients aside from water, but it can be hard toying with those few ingredients to find a perfect balance between malty black tea and sweet sugar. We wanted to share this with you because we think we have found the perfect combination. So experiment no further – the perfect Southern sweet tea is here!

Servings: 8

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 Litres fresh cold water
1 heaping cup of granulated white sugar
4 teaspoons or 4 teabags of Mt. Kenya Black 
2 Litres fresh cold water

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized pot heat 2 litres of fresh water over medium-high heat.
  2. When the water is near a simmer, turn the heat off.  Add the 1 cup of sugar and stir until sugar dissolves.
  3. Place the tea bags into the water, place the lid on the pot.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Remove the tea (if using loose leaf tea, use a tea strainer to remove)
  5. Pour the tea concentrate into a 4-litre size tea pitcher and add the remaining 2 litres of cold water.
  6. Serve over a full glass of ice cubes.

If you tried this recipe leave a comment below or tag us in your photos @justeakenya on Instagram or Facebook! Cheers, friends!

Fruity Purple Tea Rosé Cocktail

Oh rosé, how we love you so. And apparently so does the rest of the world! Rosé is getting some serious attention lately. Ever tried Frosé? Rosé sorbet? Rosé gummy bears? Yeah, for real. Go out and get yourself some, they’re delicious. We’ll wait…

This Fruity Purple Tea Rosé Cocktail is a fun spin on all of this rosé madness. It includes our Purple Leaf Tea so not only is it delicious, but it also provides the benefits of Purple Tea. We’re sure you’ve heard us rattle off the benefits of Purple Tea at this point, we can’t help ourselves – it’s just so amazing! So if you want to learn more check out this blog post.

Fruity Purple Tea Cocktail

We had no idea how much we would LOVE the pairing of lime, orange and lemon with our Purple Leaf Tea! Of course, we normally add a squeeze of lemon in our Purple Tea (it’s delicious and turns the tea a vibrant pink colour), but, the addition of more citrus fruits is unreal. It pairs so well with the plum and fresh spring green notes that come from Purple Leaf Tea. Of course, the vodka and rosé doesn’t hurt as well 😉

This recipe is another easy one, it’s so simple to put together! Make a big batch of this and throw it in a pitcher to enjoy with friends while soaking up the sunshine.

Fruity Purple Tea Cocktail

Servings: 3

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons (or 4 tea bags) of our Purple Leaf Tea
3 cups boiling water
a bottle of sparkling rosé
75ml vodka
Honey – to taste
Lemon juice – to taste
Ice cubes
2-3 orange slices
2 slices of lime

Instructions:

  1. Pour the boiling water over the 4 teaspoons of Purple Leaf Tea and leave to steep for 10 minutes. after 10 minutes, add honey and lemon juice to taste and place in the fridge until cool.
  2. In glasses, pour a 25ml shot of vodka in each. Fill the glasses with cold tea until they are about half full.
  3. Top up the glasses with sparkling rosé and add ice cubes.
  4. Garnish with fruit slices and enjoy!

If you tried this recipe leave a comment below or tag us in your photos @justeakenya on Instagram or Facebook! Cheers, friends!

Fruity Purple Tea Cocktail

JusTeam Canada Feature: Cleo Bain

Cleo Bain

Assistant to the Regional Manager

Cleo is our JusTea Canada mascot. She can sometimes be found running the show at our head office in Vancouver, where up until recently she had her own playroom. Other times she might be painting her feet blue at daycare or finding bugs in the garden at home.

She likes spinning in circles and jumping on trampolines and playing hide and seek. If you plan to eat raspberries in her presence, be prepared to give most of them away. Cleo will turn 3 at the end of September and she has been looking forward to her birthday for a long time; since last September, in fact! Read on to learn more about Cleo and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

JusTea

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea?

Using two hands so that I don’t spill.

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy; maple syrup or poutine?

I’ve never tried poutine but I like cheese. 

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?

That is not something my parents would like to contemplate and they are writing my answers for me 🙂

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

I like a song called “Happy Nose”. Also known as “If You’re Happy and You Know it”

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish?

I sort of watched Moana once. 

What TV show are you watching right now?

I like watching videos of myself on my Nana’s phone.

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea?

How do you take it? Any herbal tea, tepid and heavily watered down. Is there any other way?

Do you have any funny stories from Kenya?

I haven’t been yet but I’m excited to see an elephant and a giraffe.

How do you spend your free time outside of work? 

Taking care of my mom and dad.

JusTeam Canada Feature: Nicole Van Leeuwen

Nicole Van Leeuwen

Online Marketing Manager

Nicole is our online voice at JusTea, she’s the one behind all of our social media accounts! If you’ve chatted with us through Instagram or Facebook, you’ve likely been chatting with her. Along with managing our social media pages she also helps out with our photography and graphic design.

While Nicole works at JusTea she is also working towards getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration to pair with her Diploma in Marketing. When she’s not working or at school you can likely find her at a yoga class, cooking and baking or competing in a trivia league with her friends! Read on to learn more about Nicole and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea?

The best is having a cup of tea in the morning while I’m camping, a cup of tea outdoors just always tastes so good!

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy; maple syrup or poutine?

Definitely maple syrup.

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?

I actually think I could last a while, my family has a cabin that’s pretty secluded.  I think if we headed there we could at least last a few days unnoticed!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit. Or anything by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats just because I adore all their stuff and I feel like I constantly have it playing!

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish?

Mean Girls.

What TV show are you watching right now?

I just finished the second season of Marvelous Mrs. Mazel – SO good! But I’m always re-watching some old favourites like The Office, New Girl, Brooklyn 99 and Parks and Rec.

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea? How do you take it?

It’s a tie between Purple Chocolate and African Chai. I like both straight up!

How do you spend your free time outside of work?

These days you’ll mostly find me doing yoga, studying, or competing in a trivia league with my friends!

JusTeam Canada Feature: Adam Sharp

Adam Sharp

Marketing Strategist

Adam is the most recent addition to our team; he joined the JusTeam back in July last year. He’s a Google & Amazon wiz and he handles all of our top-level strategizing to ensure that our products are seen online. Adam works closely with Nicole, our online marketing manager, to plan out monthly campaigns and strategies.

Adam actually comes from a coffee background, but he’s seen the light! He’s now hooked on our Fair Trade teas, especially Purple Chocolate. In his free time, you can find Adam dabbling in various hobbies such as screen printing and playing in a few bands. Read on to learn more about Adam and follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more #JusTeamCanada features.

Adam Sharp JusTea

What is your favourite thing to do while drinking tea?
The best thing about tea is that there’s something for every occasion! I’ll typically have a green or black tea in the morning to give me that little boost (JusTea’s Nandi Hills Black is dynamite, and I can say that without bragging as an independent contractor!), and I’ll often read a book with that one to ease into the day. That’s my favourite cup of the day. Evening teas are also nice. Purple Rain is great for tiding me through some evening work. The tiniest little pick me up but not significant enough to affect my sleep.

What’s your favourite Canadian delicacy; maple syrup or poutine?
Maple syrup! I’m British and never fully got the poutine thing. Cheesy chips and gravy are the UK alternative, but the cheese is melted instead of curds. Wayyyyyyy better…

How long would you last in a zombie apocalypse?
At 6’8”, I’d probably feed a family of zombies for a week, so I’m expecting not very long.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?
I wish I was cool enough to pull off Ride of the Valkyries or Eye of the Tiger or something. It’d probably be something like the Mr. Rogers Theme-tune though…

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish?
There are three, all from my childhood. (I guess as adults we don’t tend to watch the same movie on repeat too much?) 1) Mighty Ducks: D2. 2) Dumb & Dumber. 3) Home Alone.

What TV show are you watching right now?
I try not to go down the TV show rabbit hole – I get fully addicted and lose hours of my life to the television. I’m more of a film person for that reason. There are a few that I get excited for though. Stranger Things. Big Mouth. Brooklyn 99.

What’s your favourite tea from JusTea? How do you take it?
Without a doubt, it’s Purple Chocolate. Best tea I’ve ever had! I take it black, although I bet it’d only get better with milk and sugar. Must try.

How do you spend your free time outside of work?
I’m a screen printer and I make a lot of music posters in my free time. Aside from that, snowboarding in the winter, cycling, swimming, photography, and I play in a couple of bands.