Tea and honey: The Perfect Pair

Is that all you think about when you think of this combo?

It’s much more than that!

The natural sweetener also contains antioxidants, prebiotics and other compounds that support healthy immunity.

Honey’s Ancient Uses

Honey’s healing properties are well-known. Honey was used for antibiotics and digestive aids as far back as 8,000 years ago. Many ancient civilizations also documented honey’s use as a medical remedy.

The Egyptians used honey to accelerate wound healing. Papyrus prescriptions, which date to around 1700 BC, and hieroglyphics show that honey was used to prevent surgical incisions from becoming infected.

The Greeks mixed it with water and wine to make an elixir that aids digestion. It was mixed with powders and herbs to treat infection and pain to make a paste that could be applied to the eyes.

What is the point of adding honey to tea?

Modern research supports most of the ancient civilizations’ theories.

For example, many studies have shown that honey’s antibacterial properties make it a good choice for treating cuts, abrasions and other wounds.

Others have discovered that honey’s phenolic compounds can help maintain a healthy digestive system. This is a key component of a healthy immune system.

Honey’s antioxidant content also helps protect cells from damage and supports the body’s ability to fight off illness more effectively.

Although you may not wish to follow the Ancients’ example and apply honey directly to your skin, or mix it with wine, drizzling honey into tea is a delicious way to reap honey’s health benefits.

Honey can also be used as a substitute for white table sugar or calorie-free sweeteners. It offers little to no nutritional value and has no distinctive flavor other than sweetness.

First, you need to be familiar with the different kinds of honey available on supermarket shelves and how they can impact the flavor of your brew.

Honey: There are many varieties

The United States has more than 300 honey varieties

All honey contains glucose and fructose, but each variety also has vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The flower nectar used to make the honey will determine the exact chemical composition. This composition determines honey’s color, as well as its flavor.

You can experiment with honey and tea pairings to create new flavors.

  • A floral honey-like Clover or Lavender can cut the astringency and sometimes bitter green teas. A nice complementing flavor is provided by blueberry honey.
  • Orange Blossom honey can brighten and elevate black teas’ dark, roasty taste.
  • White tea is delicate enough to be overpowered by stronger flavors. It should be paired alongside similar light honey, such as the Acacia variety.

You can also pair honey with other flavors. 

These pairings can enhance or complement the therapeutic properties of honey. Ginger can be used to soothe upset stomachs by enhancing honey’s digestive benefits and adding a little spice.

Use honey in your tea

Honey is sweeter than sugar and can be used in a small amount. A good rule of thumb is to add one teaspoon of honey to each cup of tea. After the tea has been steeped and the water has cooled slightly, you should add the honey.

Too hot water can cause phytochemicals to be destroyed and honey’s flavor to change, rendering it bitter. The water should be warm but not hot to the touch.

Recipes

Green Honey Lemon Ginger Tea

  • 1 cup loose green tea leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Clover honey

Spiced Honey tea

  • 1 cup loose Earl Grey tea
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Sage honey
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice

To make each recipe, heat water in a saucepan until boiling. Once it has boiled, pour the water into a cup and add your tea leaves and spices. Allow them to steep for three to five minutes, then strain them out. Add your honey and lemon juice, stirring to distribute evenly.

The Last Word

Honey is a smart addition to tea. It adds a touch of sweetness and contains antioxidants and other compounds that can help your body fight infections. Honey should be used to prevent illness, but not as a treatment. Consistency is key to avoiding illness. The best defense is a varied and balanced diet rich in phytochemicals from plant-based foods.

 

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Tea

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