“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.” ~KAKUZO OKAKURA, Book of Tea
I’ve been a tea lover for years, but for me now, it’s medicine first and a beverage second. Tea is also soul satisfying and hearkens back to long-held traditions. What’s more civilized than sharing a steaming cup of tea? Little did I realize it would come to play such an important role in my health when worsening, inexplicable anemia had my family doctor insisting I pay a visit to the hematologist. After a lot of blood work and a bone marrow biopsy, he floored me with the diagnosis of T-Cell LGL Leukemia, a rare form of chronic leukemia, in May of 2010. I knew something was wrong, had been for some time, and must have sensed it was some kind of blood disorder because vampires chased me through my dreams, and not the sexy kind who are so popular these days. Advised to anticipate slow deterioration until I required treatment, which would be postponed until I got really bad since the treatment was worse than the disease, I was sent home to wait to get worse and return for frequent check ups.
Nothing if not determined, I spent hours (days) online researching everything and anything that might help me ward off the inevitable. Then I came across a clinical study by the Mayo Clinic using green tea extract to slow or even reverse symptoms in a different form of chronic leukemia, an even worse kind. So I thought if the extract would work for that type, why not mine? As I didn’t have access to their specially formulated concoction I decided just to drink a lot of green tea. Next followed a lot of research into the proper way to brew the tea to achieve maximum health benefits.
Note, water for green tea should be brought to just below the boil. Boiling water will not make as good tasting or beneficial a cup. To achieve this temperature, I ordered an electric tea kettle from Amazon that has settings for green tea and regular tea or instant coffee, whatever you need boiling water for. I can’t find the exact one over there anymore but here’s a list of choices. Also be careful not to over-steep the tea, brew for 1-3 minutes and try to drink within half an hour as the quality deteriorates rapidly. Bottled tea has little benefits at all. Also, caffeinated tea has the most beneficial properties, so if you drink decaf you will need twice as much. Then I experimented with different varieties and settled on one main kind: Yogi Green Tea Kombucha *Kombucha is also very beneficial. I drink two quarts of freshly brewed green tea every day. It has a refreshing fruity flavor and I add extra mint to it–soothing to the stomach. I also like a loose leaf citrus variety I get from Mighty Leaf Tea.
I should also mention the importance of Olive Leaf extract which I came across on a leukemia message board. I get mine from Olivus online (their best quality capsules) and take one three times a day–the maximum dose. I began with one capsule and worked my way up. Olive leaf helps with many things, including being a powerful immune booster and can aid blood levels. To this I add Vitamin C and TOCQ10 supplements–also on the message board. The only contraindications I know of for olive leaf are that you shouldn’t take it if you on on a blood thinner because it also thins the blood. And it can interfere with the effectiveness of an antibiotic so take it at a different time of day.
My report, slowly but surely my blood levels have improved over the months until this December they were the best yet. My red blood count is up to normal levels, the white count is respectable, and there’s a substantial decrease in my lymphocyte levels. My lymph nodes are undetectable and there’s no inflamation in my spleen or liver. Is it all the green tea and olive leaf I’m taking? My hematologist has no other explanation for why I’m doing so much better than expected. All I can say is thank God for leading me to this discovery.
*Disclaimer. This is my story. Not a scientific study. Make of it what you will. *Olive leaf can make you worse before it makes you better as it cleanses toxins. *I sweeten my tea with a little raw honey–also healthful–or plain sugar. Artificial sweeteners are incredibly bad for you.
“Tea … is one of those rare treasures, enjoyed throughout the world, that actually benefits health.” ~KIT CHOW, All the Tea in China
“Ever since tea was first discovered, its cultivation and consumption have been encouraged because of its apparent ability to ward off disease, strengthen powers of concentration, cleanse the body, and aid digestion. Legends of its medicinal properties reached Europe and the New World from China, intriguing the Western consumer, and now, centuries later, modern research has begun to confirm many of those early beliefs.”
~JANE PETTIGREW, forward, New Tastes in Green Tea
“Tea beckons us to enjoy quality time with friends and loved ones, and especially to rediscover the art of relaxed conversation.”
~DOROTHEA JOHNSON, Tea & Etiquette
“Tea is the most popular beverage, after water, throughout the world.”
~LESTER MITSCHER, The Green Tea Book
“Tea is hot and getting hotter. From iced to spiced, from austere black tea to sweetened and milky chai, from a flowery pick-me-up to a healing herbal, no other beverage has such a place in the heart of every civilization. No wonder it is the most popular beverage in the world, next to water.”
~SARA PERRY, The New Tea Book