Tea is a Healthy Choice
Tea is one of the healthiest beverage choices available and is extremely popular all over the world. Drinking blackor green tea or infused herbs like chamomileor peppermintmay be one of the simplest ways to do something nice for yourself.
Although many of us drink tea or herbal infusions simply for taste and enjoyment, we know that tea is rich in beneficial polyphenols and other useful compounds. The ritual of tea drinking dates back at least 5,000 years. By the time of the ancient Greeks, infusions of at least 600 types of plants were given medicinally.
Recently, Flora’s product information department has received a flood of calls from customers concerned about safety, questioning the origins of herbs, or worrying about the presence of heavy metals, gluten or even plastics in their tea. They have been surprised by news stories that call the healthfulness of tea into question.
All of this can make it difficult to relax and enjoy a cup of tea in peace. It goes without saying that the consumption of tea and herbal infusions is not a healthy practice if the brew is full of plastic or other toxins! Rest assured that Flora teas are free from toxins, plastics, and health concerns.
No Need to Worry
To help you completely relax and enjoy your next cup of tea worry-free, we would like to address some common—and some downright outlandish—concerns surrounding tea.
Flora Teas are…
Microplastic-free. There is a growing concern over microplastics in pyramid shaped tea bags, following news of an experiment carried out by the Chemical Engineering department at McGill University. The researchers demonstrated that when steeped at normal temperatures, billions of microplastic and nanoplastic particles can leach into tea from these “silken” tea bags, which are really made of polypropylene, nylon, or PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic.
Flora’s tea bags are entirely free from plastics and petrochemical products. Although our Canadian medicinal teas come in a pyramid-shaped bag, they are made of non-toxic and biodegradable materials originating from vegetable matter. Testing of this type of material shows no recordable leaching when in boiling water for 30 minutes. Unlike plastic teabags, our pyramid tea bags can go in the compost bin. In the compost, bacteria and fungi will easily break the bag down into simple lactic acid.
Toxin-free. A BBC One video went viral showing that “paper” tea bags can contain much more; these common tea bags are up to 25% plastic, including PVC or polypropylene. They are also frequently treated with epichlorohydrin, which is considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Some tea was recalled this year for salmonella contamination, too.
Flora’s rectangular shaped paper tea bags are entirely made of cellulose fibre. This biodegradable organic matter contains no trace of toxins such as epichlorohydrin. We emphasize organic herbs and wildcrafted plants grown using biological control methods, not chemicals. Our quality assurance department tests for traces of chemicals such as cleaners and pesticides, microbiological contaminants like salmonella, heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, moisture (for stability) and nanoparticles.
Environmentally friendly. Many teabags that appear to be made of natural fibres like silk or paper may get mistakenly placed in the compost but will be unable to biodegrade due to their plastic content. Nanoparticles and microplastics from these bags can be a problem for our oceans and environment, as can their chemical content.
All Flora’s tea bags are 100% nanoparticle-free and contain biodegradable materials that will break down when you throw them away. All our tea boxes are made from 35-55% post-consumer material cardboard and are recyclable. Our Canadian pyramid style medicinal tea bags should go in the compost bin where they will completely break down. We cultivate relationships with organic growers who employ socially and environmentally responsible methods.
From trusted sources. Many people have heard that what is supposed to be in a product is not always what you get. Others want to know where their herbs and teas come from and what standards are used in selecting raw materials.
Flora always tests plants to ensure high quality and the expected DNA identity. From our air-dried Argentine yerba maté to our fine Sri Lankan green tea to fragrant South African rooibos, Flora sources the herbs for our teas from many different countries. Although we do not buy herbs from China for this project, we do include herbs from Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Ceylon and the USA, depending on the availability and market conditions for different ingredients.
Naturally tasty and effective—without common allergens.Some customers are worried that teas may use soy lecithin or come in bags sealed using wheat paste glues. Other teas get their taste from other potential allergens including barley, milk, or coconut or artificial flavours.
All Flora teas are top eight allergen-free and gluten-free. Flora facilities are GMP-certified and take steps to avoid cross-contamination. Flora herbs are tested to ensure taste and aroma, and we do not use other flavourings. We test the volatile oil content of items like cinnamon or peppermint to ensure freshness and flavour. The owner of Flora, Thomas Greither, still does the taste testing himself! Tip: when brewing tea, use a pot or keep the mug covered to retain any essential volatile herbal oils that may otherwise evaporate.
Not entirely without surprises.Although Flora teas don’t have any surprises in the form of plastics, chemicals or allergens, from time to time, you may get a surprise with our Bronchial Tea.
The sweet blend of soothing mallow flower, sweet licorice root, and fennel seed can sometimes produce a blue cup of tea. Yes, this can be considered normal but not expected! The blue hue is a known property of mallow flowers, and they are one of only three known tea flowers that can change colour! Simple add a squeeze of lemon and watch as they magically turn pink! The blue colour happens from time to time when there are enough blue petals in the cup you are brewing. If it happens to you, enjoy the 100% natural treat.
Flora teas are always of the highest quality and none of the ingredients or materials used are dangerous. We hope that helps you to relax and enjoy your next cup of tea!
Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP, NNCP, is a Vancouver-based educator and coach. She is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog and can answer your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Product Information Specialist at Flora.