A Brief History
Discover the ancient origins and fascinating history of tea!
17th Jan '22 - UKTIA
The Christmas decorations have come down, the bank account is in the red, and the bathroom scales are recording an extra few pounds. Yes – it’s Blue Monday – the third Monday in January when we are all supposed to be at our lowest.
The Samaritans want to raise awareness of the importance of sharing how we feel, so they are promoting Brew Monday to get people talking over a warming cuppa - “we know there’s no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ – we all have our good days and our bad days, and those aren’t for the calendar to decide”. So, friends and families are encouraged to connect over a shared brew, even virtually, and enjoy a much-needed chat.
Dietitian, Dr Carrie Ruxton, at the Tea Advisory Panel (www.teaadvisorypanel.com) comments: “While some people drink tea simply to quench thirst, greater numbers are recognising its effects on their health, emotions and mood. We found from data we reviewed, eight in 10 British adults say drinking tea helps them to combat stress, with a third (35%) get comfort from a cuppa that helps to reduce frustration. Even the act of putting on the kettle creates a feeling of relaxation, according to six in 10 (58%) adults in the research poll we reviewed.”
And this is all supported by scientific and health research, as Dr Ruxton explains: “Tea is nature’s destressor thanks to compounds in the tea plant which are released when we make a brew. Firstly, black, and green teas contain plant polyphenols which relax and open up the blood vessel which supply the brain, leading to an influx of nutrients and oxygen. Secondly, black tea uniquely contains a substance called L-theanine which makes us feel calm and focussed at the same time. It’s probably that which delivers the feeling of calm we enjoy when we sit down with a warming cuppa.
“Not only this, drinking tea has been found to boost mood, reduce stress and improve concentration. A crossover clinical trial published in Psychopharmacology tested the effects of tea versus a caffeinated dummy drink when participants performed stressful computer-based tasks in the laboratory. The results found that tea helped people to recover faster from stress and promoted feelings of relaxation. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, fell dramatically in saliva samples from people who’d drunk the tea compared with when they were given the dummy caffeinated drink”.
Here are Dr Ruxton’s five top tips for banishing the blues and marking Brew Monday:
 Survey conducted by Perspective Global on 1012 nationally representative UK adults 2021
 Steptoe A et al. (2007) The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial. Psychopharmacology 190 :81-9.