GREEN TEA & AYURVEDA
Like many foods that we know and love, the right amount taken at the right time is a tonic to the body. Green tea has become a bit of a superfood in recent years and certainly it’s a good alternative for many who rely on coffee and black tea to give them some get-up-and-go, thanks to its high antioxidant profile and lower caffeine levels. Caffeine is a little controversial; while it can be beneficial at the right times and for certain Doshic energies — e.g. Kapha types or those consuming it in the first Kapha period of the day (between roughly 6 am and 10 am) when we are more grounded, a little sluggish and lethargic from our sleep and have time to process it out of our systems before bed — it can actually fuel anxiety, restlessness and wiredness that many people already experience in the fast pace of modern life. For those Vata or Pitta types who already tend towards being easily stimulated and to those experiencing imbalances in these energies, caffeine serves to amplify the state of our already stressed out nervous systems.
SO, IS THERE SPACE FOR GREEN TEA IN AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda, the ancient recipe book of nature, has some remedies to help us to benefit from this herb. Green tea comes in many varieties — for some great antioxidants without the caffeine try rooibos green tea. Bancha and Kukicha green teas are lower in caffeine while still high in antioxidants. Adding some herbs to help counterbalance the astringent, stimulating qualities of green tea makes for a blend that's totally worth sipping. Many Ayurvedic tea brands offer these ready-made blends containing mint, ginger, jasmine flowers and cinnamon, etc. Just be sure not to drink too much (remember the dose makes the poison and more of anything is not always better!), stick to the right times of day (e.g. the morning), don’t use boiling water (around 170°F or less is good) for best flavour and antioxidant content, and avoid over-steeping green tea to keep the caffeine to a minimum (and because stewed green tea tastes awful!).