Reconnect…with a Cup of Peruvian Botanical Tea
by Viana Muller, PhD
Tea drinking is integral to every culture and is so much more than a beverage. A cup of tea in most cultures represents relaxation, connection, and ritual — from the Japanese tea ceremony to the British cuppa. But in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, people worldwide are reconnecting with another aspect of tea.
Tea as “root medicine” and “leaf medicine” has been essential to the lives of many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Yes, there were “medicine men,” but most often, the women of the family who lived close to earth medicines had the role of healer. Today, despite the amazing advances of high-tech medicine, which indisputably has saved many lives, an increasing number of us are learning how to become our own healers and to trust our bodies, our hearts, our heads, and our guts.
Therapeutic botanical teas have been used for millennia as powerful natural remedies for everything from an upset stomach to constipation, diarrhea, and nausea to reducing inflammation and free radicals throughout the body.*
The indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon and Andes have a long tradition of using botanical teas for many bodily complaints and health conditions. At Whole World Botanicals, we have made several of our therapeutic Peruvian botanicals available in tea form. These include Royal Chanca Piedra™, Royal Cat’s Claw™, and Royal Desmodium. Our Royal Maca® also makes a wonderful tea, plain or with milk or plant milk, and cinnamon.
Why teas? There are several important reasons:
- Tea is an easy and pleasurable way to take botanical remedies.
- For purists, tea is the preferred form of assimilating a therapeutic botanical. There are no preprocessed elements. Water is the only additive.
- Tea is ideal for those people who have difficulty swallowing capsules.
- Tea works more rapidly than a capsule. According to experts, teas take one to four minutes to assimilate, while capsules require around 20 to 30 minutes to start to digest.
- Teas don’t require digestion, as a plant’s cellulose is eliminated, while the botanical plant’s active phytochemicals are retained and concentrated. There are no heavy metals detectable in teas, as they bind to the cellulose.
- According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, the body uses about 98% of liquid botanicals, compared to 40 to 55% of capsules.
While capsules are always an effective and convenient way to take botanicals, therapeutic-grade botanical teas are a potent and fast-acting choice for optimal wellness.
In this issue, I’d like to highlight two of our most popular teas — Royal Chanca Piedra™ and Royal Cat’s Claw™. In a future issue, I’ll cover the features of our Royal Desmodium™ Tea, an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory botanical that helps support the lungs, the muscles and tendons, and the immune system.*
Royal Chanca Piedra™ Tea
Our Royal Chanca Piedra™ tea contains wildcrafted, shade-dried Chanca Piedra leaves. Chanca Piedra – also known as “Stone-Breaker” or “Breakstone” – is a popular botanical to support kidney, bladder, liver, and gallbladder function. Research also shows that Chanca Piedra helps with fat digestion and can help prevent the formation of kidney stones and gallstones.* Whole World Botanicals does not make any medical claims for its dietary supplement products. Our only claim is that our products support the health of the organs and systems in the body for which there is scientific evidence. If you have a medical condition or concern related to your kidneys, liver, gall bladder or bladder, it is essential that you consult your health care practitioner.
Our Royal Chanca Piedra™ tea is a healthy, therapeutic tea for all and is safe to drink throughout the day. Many of our customers – myself included – absolutely love a cup of Royal Chanca Piedra™ tea after a meal to aid in fat digestion and soothe the stomach, – especially if it contains animal fat. (Think pizza, ice cream, or any type of meat.) There is an indescribably comforting feeling in your tummy when drinking this lovely tea!
Although Whole World Botanicals makes no claim for this effect, this tea may even support healthy weight loss, as drinking it several times a day for a few months can help the body eliminate excess fat! *
Royal Chanca Piedra™ tea has a sweet, herby smell when simmering and a pleasing, mild-tasting, slightly grassy natural flavor. You may especially enjoy your tea with a squeeze of lemon or even a drop of mint extract— or you can simmer with a few sprigs of fresh mint and some lemon slices.
Royal Cat’s Claw™ Tea
In some parts of the Peruvian Amazon, there’s a rainforest vine called Cat’s Claw, or Uña de Gato in Spanish, due to the thorn on the Cat’s Claw vine’s resemblance to a cat’s claw.
The Asháninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes of Peru have prized this botanical for at least 2,000 years for its incredible ability to support the body’s natural defenses.* Scientific studies of the last 30 years confirm its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, as well as its anti-mutagenic property–the ability to help the cells of the body maintain the integrity of their DNA.*
People are divided on the taste of Royal Cat’s Claw™ tea. I always compare the taste to Lipton Tea after you’ve left the tea bag in the cup too long. It’s bracing and slightly bitter – but not awful. Personally, I actually enjoy the mildly bitter taste when I drink it with ice cubes, the same way I like to drink water! (And, of course, Royal Cat’s Claw™ is caffeine-free, unlike Lipton’s!)
The bitterness in Royal Cat’s Claw™ tea comes from its rich helping of tannins, whose antioxidant properties support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and strengthen the immune system.*
Some people have a delicate stomach that can’t handle the tannins in the tea, If this is your case, you can add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of lemon juice while you are making the tea. The lemon juice binds up a good percentage of the tannins in the shredded bark of the tea and cuts the bitterness. After preparing the tea, for a milder taste, you can add more water.
Another taste option: simmer the tea with a bit of organic cocoa powder, stevia, and monk fruit. Some people add stevia and a little fruit juice. And one of our customers recently shared her favorite tip: “I always combine Royal Cat’s Claw™ Tea – which I find indispensable for my health – with mango or raspberry fruit tea. It’s a delicious combination, hot or iced, and banishes the bitterness!”
It’s not necessary to drink a whole cup of Royal Cat’s Claw™ Tea at one time to get the benefits. It’s more effective to drink half a cup several times a day. If you have an immediate and urgent health concern, you can drink as much as you like throughout the day!
I’ll let you in on a secret: If I could take only one medicinal tea with me while traveling, it would always be Royal Cat’s Claw™ Tea. It’s a lifesaver! It has helped me combat diarrhea, constipation, and food poisoning as I traveled the globe. And, since Royal Cat’s Claw™ has strong antiviral properties, it’s been very effective at dealing with all kinds of mystery viruses I’ve picked up while traveling!
How to Prepare Your Botanical Teas
Royal Cat’s Claw™ Tea: Add 8 level teaspoons of tea to 5 cups of boiling water. Reduce heat and let simmer (barely boiling) in a pot without a lid for 30-40 minutes. When cool, strain the tea and discard the leaves. This makes 4 cups of tea. Tea may be stored in a refrigerator in a glass or plastic jar with a lid for up to one week.
Royal Chanca Piedra™ Tea: Add 4 level teaspoons of tea to 5 cups of boiling water. Reduce heat and let simmer (barely boiling) in a pot without a lid for 15-20 minutes. When cool, strain the tea and discard the leaves. This makes 4 cups of tea. Store in the refrigerator in a glass container with a lid for up to one week.
If you like your tea piping hot, you can reheat it with no loss of potency. If you’re an iced tea lover, add your favorite sweeteners and/or garnishes like lemon or mint, pour over ice, and enjoy!