According to some experts, tea has been cultivated by humans for about 5,000 years. It was the Chinese who originally began using tea leaves to prepare a beverage, but the cultivation of the plant spread quickly around the region and throughout Southeast Asia.
Today tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. There are several varieties of the tea plant, and the resulting beverage depends on the type of plant and the way the leaves are processed. Many different types of herbs and other plants are also steeped to create a tea-like drink, or these herbs are mixed with actual tea leaves to create new and interesting flavors.
The health benefits of tea have long been known, but this remarkable beverage has many other practical uses as well. Read on to learn more about things you can do with tea that you might never have been aware of.
1. Beauty Treatments
Almost everyone knows that wet tea bags placed on the eyes can reduce morning puffiness, but there are many other uses for tea in the beauty realm.
- Hair treatments. A strongly brewed batch of black tea infused with rosemary and sage can restore color to gray hair. Let the mixture steep overnight then apply it with a spray bottle to wet hair. While it might take a few of these treatments to achieve the desired results it’s much cheaper than a trip to the salon.
- Relieve a sunburn. Not only are sunburns damaging to your skin, they can be extremely painful. If the burn is limited to small areas of your body cover that area with wet tea bags. If it’s a larger area throw several tea bags in the bathtub and get in. The tannins in the tea will reduce the pain, and the antioxidants can help your damaged skin heal faster.
2. In the Garden
The healthful properties of tea are not only good for humans; they’re great for plants too.
- Give roses a boost. If your roses are looking a bit lackluster, give them some tea! Sprinkle used tea leaves or bags around the base of the plant, then cover with mulch. The tannic acid will have them looking beautiful in no time.
- Use tea bags in potted plants. When you’re potting new plants put a few tea bags on top of the stones you’re using for drainage. They’ll retain water and give your plants a boost.
3. Cooking With Tea
The flavors of various teas can do a lot to enhance many different types of dishes. The acid in the tea also tenderizes meat.
- Asian style chicken. If you’re preparing an Asian style chicken dish, marinate the meat in feverfew lemongrass tea. The resulting flavor will be a delightful addition to your recipe.
- Green tea soup. If you’re making stock for soup, add 1/2 cup of brewed green tea to enhance the flavor. This works especially well for vegetable stocks.
4. Tea Cocktails
Tea has been making a strong appearance in the cocktail world as of late, and that’s a good thing. Try this boozy tea concoction.
- Green Iced Tea. Place a bag of ginger or lemon tea in 1.5 ounces of tequila and let it steep for 30 minutes, then squeeze the bag carefully. Combine the tequila with 3 ounces of cucumber juice and squeeze of lemon. Serve on the rocks.
5. Clean Your Home With Tea
In addition to its place in your kitchen, tea needs to find a place in your home cleaning arsenal. Try these tips for a sparkling clean home.
- Clean wood. Wood furniture and floors love tea. Brew a strong pot of tea and let it cool. You then either use a sprayer, cloth, or mop to clean the wood. The color of the tea may also help hide scuff or scratch marks.
- Clean glass. This one might sound strange but it actually works. Tea is acidic like vinegar (which is the main component in some commercial glass cleaners) so brew a pot and let it cool. Fill a spray bottle with tea, spray your mirrors and wipe them down with a clean cloth. Use another cloth to buff them until they shine.
Whether it’s in a cup, in your food, or in your garden, tea is a surprisingly diverse and useful thing. Try some of these tips with your tea and be amazed at the results!