The Refined Tea
Delicate, fragrant, and splashed with a hint of bergamot, Earl Grey is considered to be one of the most sophisticated tea blends on earth. Earl Grey is usually made with black tea leaves as the base but is lifted up with those fragrant notes of bergamot and a citrus fruit twist.
As its name suggests, Earl Grey was a tea of the aristocracy. It is named after the British Prime Minister Charles Grey and said to be a favored brew for those special occasions. But traditionally, adding Bergamot to a black tea base was actually considered to be a way of covering up poor tea quality.
It was said to have been crafted by a Chinese mandarin for the Lord Grey up in Northumberland. Because the water of the northern shores was full of lime, this person added bergamot to better balance the tea. Crafty!
Now tea lovers everywhere swoon over the sunny medley of flavors and the gentle joy that comes with each cup of tea.
This quintessential English drink is often made with the black tea leaves of the Camellia Sinensis but Earl Grey blends can also be made using Green Tea or Oolong as the base too. The bergamot orange that is added to the tea blend can be done in essential oil or rinds.
Bergamot oranges bloom in the trees of Calabria in Italy and they share a similar appearance to limes. Bergamot orange is believed to have been a hybrid tree that came from crossing the Spanish Seville Orange Tree with the Southeast Asian Lemon Tree. Rich in citrus properties, it makes an awesome addition to balancing the malty and woody black tea notes.
Some people like to serve their Earl Grey with a touch of milk whereas others prefer to add a slice of lemon. The caffeine content within Earl Grey is also similar to that of any other cup of black tea but less than a cup of coffee so whether you are trying to cut down on caffeine or if you are seeking a little afternoon pick me up, Earl Grey is a joy any time of day.
Not only is Earl Grey delicious but it’s also full of health benefits too. We take a look at some of the best health benefits that come from this stately tea.
The Health Benefits You Shouldn't Miss
Stuffed with antioxidant properties, the leaves of Earl Grey come from the Camellia Sinensis plant which is full of the good stuff like polyphenols and flavonoids and even a handful of important vitamins and minerals. From giving you an energy boost to helping your heart beat stronger, here are all the Earl Grey benefits you need to know.
1) More Energy
For those who can’t roll out of bed without the promise of a caffeine kick, Earl Grey can save the day. Caffeine consumption can be a double-edged sword, but as Earl Grey contains less than the average cup of coffee, it means that you can get that boost without the jittery side effects.
Coffee can also be dehydrating for the body whereas Earl Grey works to keep you hydrated thanks to its high potassium content and its ability to balance water content in the body. Although too much Earl Grey can counteract this due to the bergapten in the bergamot oil being a potassium channel blocker.
Hydration raises energy levels and for those who struggle to sip as much water as they should, tea can be a great alternative. This study from NHS England measured the difference between water and tea in terms of hydration and found that overall, they delivered the same measure of hydration.
2) Brain boosting
For those who find themselves in a brain slump past noon may find an added layer of concentration and focus when they pour themselves a cup of Earl Grey tea. As it tends to use black tea leaves as the base, black tea is known for having the amino acid known as L-theanine. L-theanine knows how to turn up the alpha energy in your brain, which leads to stronger focus and the ability to process information in a relaxed way.
This study on the acute effects of tea consumption on attention and mood found that there was consistent research on the benefits of caffeine and the performance benefits that came from drinking tea.
Next time you are having a brain blow out, grab yourself a cup of Earl Grey and let L-theanine work its magic.
3) Heart Health
Kick out LDL cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and dodge heart disease by welcoming a few cups of Earl Grey into your daily health routine. A study done by the University of Calabria in Italy (where the bergamot fruit came from) looked at the effects of bergamot extract on rats with a high-cholesterol level. It was found that the bergamot extract helped to lower the LDL cholesterol (AKA the bad cholesterol) and raised the HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
While the study was not a human study, it is certainly possible that the bergamot extract in Earl Grey would carry over and help humans to reduce cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and the risks that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
4) Weight Loss
The perfect blend of bergamot and citrus fruit can also mean that Earl Grey is the brew for you if you are looking for healthy weight management solutions. Earl Grey works on a couple of levels when it comes to weight loss.
Combine all of that goodness with the positive changes that citrus fruits can bring to body fat composition and you have an effective strategy for healthy weight loss.
5) Less Anxiety
Among the endless benefits that come with the polyphenols found in the bright citrus bergamot that makes Earl Grey is their ability to inhibit anxiety and stress on a cellular level. When life gives you lemons, make a cup of steaming Earl Grey and let it get to work on healing the nervous system.
Along with the beauty of the citrus bergamot, the L-theanine found in the black tea leaves also brings relaxation by cutting down sympathetic nervous system flare ups. The sunny aroma of bergamot as an essential oil is also said to promote peace and deep tranquility.
6) Reduces Chance of a Stroke
Black tea is the leaf that keeps on giving and it can even cut down on the chances of suffering from a stroke. We know that high blood pressure and hypertension can lead to serious health complications including heart attacks and strokes, but studies have shown that long-term sipping on black tea can positively affect your blood pressure and take it out of the red and into the black.
There was also a study done that pooled the data from nine different studies involving 194,965 adults including 4378 stroke patients and the results concluded that drinking three cups of black tea on a daily basis did in fact reduce the risk of stroke.
7) Teeth Health
Tea sometimes gets a bad rap for staining the teeth, and while dental studies have proven that tea alone has little impact on enamel staining, Earl Grey can actually be good for the teeth. This beautiful blend of tea contains an antioxidant called catechin. Catechin has plenty of healing benefits including the ability to help the body fend off oral infections. Earl Grey also naturally contains fluoride, a fighter against decay and a protector against cavities. Both fluoride and catechins are found in toothpaste meaning that getting your Earl Grey ratio up can keep those dental visits on the down low.
8) Antioxidant Boost
With black or green tea as the base, a cup of Earl Grey tea comes laced with plenty of antioxidants that will give your immune system a glorious boost.
The black tea base comes with all the benefits of theaflavins. This polyphenolic compound is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-dental, anticancer, and anti-osteoporotic. In short, these theaflavins are the business when it comes to building up the body.
When you use green tea as the base you also get the catechin richness that connects to immune boosting, weight management, and fighting against the free radicals that can cause damage to cells and everything from ageing to cancer.
9) Immune boosting
The unique makeup of immune boosting ingredients blended into Earl Grey make it a fighting fit choice for the body. Ever ready to reduce oxidative stress (cell damage) in the body, both black and green tea are rich in antioxidants so whichever base your brew uses is sure to serve you well.
The inclusion of citrus peels and the bright and zesty moods of bergamot oil also bring that delicious dose of Vitamin C that we know is so important during flu and cold seasons. Studies have shown that the citrus species of bergamot have beneficial effects when it comes to fending off free radicals, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation.
10) Reduces Stress
When moods are high there’s nothing like the gentle ritual of a cup of tea. Anytime you have felt on the brink of burnout, the simple self-care motion of preparing the tea and sitting down to sip it instantly has a soothing effect on the body, mind, and soul. But more than an act of personal goodness, there is a science behind the calming effect of Earl Grey tea.
The bergamot oil is a form of aromatherapy and a study conducted in Japan returned results that this sunny yet earthy scent reduced feelings of anxiety. Further studies showed that bergamot oil can also encourage the brain to release serotonin and dopamine (the happy hormones) which can relieve tensions and mood disorders too.
11) Better digestion
For those who struggle with digestion and getting into a regular routine, the delicate grace of Earl Grey has the added benefit of helping to wash away all your digestive woes.
This tea can be a natural remedy for everything from constipation to IBS thanks to the flavonoids that are found stashed within the ingredients list.
During an animal study, the base of the black tea leaves was proven to help prevent and treat stomach ulcer issues thanks to the theaflavins. As we also know that bergamot oil can reduce the effects of inflammation, this also lends itself well to problems within the digestive system that are caused by inflammation such as IBS and other intestinal infections.
12) Lowers Risk of Cancer
The bounty of antioxidants and the fight against free radicals means that Earl Grey tea could potentially help in the fight against cancer. Beyond the benefits of the black and green tea bases and their antioxidants, the bergamot oil can also play an important role in this.
Studies from the University of Messina in Italy showed that bergamot juice may be able to help to prevent various cancers especially in the colon, the liver, and the skin. It was found that bergamot juice displayed antiproliferative activity which stopped malignant cells from spreading to healthy tissue.
Traditional Earl Grey Tea Recipe
Now you know all those beautiful benefits of England’s favorite high tea, it may just be the perfect time to brew up a cup or two. Perfect for those times when you want to bring a citrusy flood to your taste buds or when you are craving a delicate chocolate earl grey aroma and to breathe in deep the laid-back vibes of bergamot.
Here’s how to brew your own Earl Grey Tea…
- Bring fresh water to the boil, spring water is always best but filtered water can also be used.
- Your base can be green tea, black tea, or oolong tea depending on preference. Usually, 2 grams of loose tea per cup of water is a good balance. Or if you want to keep your measurements simple you can simply drop in one of our Rose Earl Grey drops for a fuss free tea experience.
- Let the tea steep in hot water for several minutes. Remember, the longer you steep the tea, the stronger the citrus flavors will be as the citrus extract has more time to release those juicy tastes.
- Add a splash of milk or a slice of lemon.
Earl Grey tea comes with a whole slew of savvy health benefits and is safe to drink for most people. There have been cases where individuals have consumed an extraordinary amount of Earl Grey and found themselves with muscle cramps mostly due to the bergamot oil hindering potassium absorption in the body. Remember, excessive caffeine consumption can also cause the following side effects:
- Faster heart rate
What are your thoughts on Earl Grey tea? Do you love a good cup of this fragrant delight or do you prefer other types of tea instead? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Medical Disclaimer: While we have delved into the research available on the health benefits of these teas, this is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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