What is Yaupon Tea?
The brewed medicinal/herbal tree is prepared from the leaves of Yaupon holly/plant – a plant indigenous to North America. It is one of two plants in North America with natural caffeine. Traditionally, medicinal tea was brewed from the leaves, and because of the color of this tea, it was referred to as a ‘black’ drink. Yaupon Tea has a mild, grassy, and earthy taste, and given the many health benefits, it is becoming hugely popular. Yaupon Tea is a great beverage to consume especially when you need that slight nudge to ‘get up and go’.
The presence of natural caffeine makes it a healthier substitute for coffee. Not just as a drink, but Yaupon is becoming increasingly common as an ingredient in skincare products such as serums, moisturizers, and cleansers. Despite benefits, it is always advisable to check with your doctor/nutritionist as to the amounts that you can consume of any new food/beverage.
Nutritional Benefits of Yaupon Tea
Complementing its antioxidant properties are compounds such as caffeine and theobromine, which are said to elevate energy levels and boost brain function, thereby potentially preventing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Yaupon tea contains powerful polyphenols (a type of plant-based compounds that are brimming with antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, thereby preventing damage from them) such as rutin, crypto-chlorogenic, neo-chlorogenic, and chlorogenic acids. These compounds play a critical role in keeping at bay chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and also contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Elevated Attentiveness and Energy -
Since Yaupon naturally contains caffeine, it acts as a stimulant and energy booster. This, in turn, increases attentiveness, reduces fatigue, acts as a mood enhancer, and reduces the vulnerability to distraction.
Preparation of Yaupon Tea
Dried and roasted Yaupon leaves are required. The darker the leaves post roasting, the better and deeper flavor of tea one gets. Fresh leaves can be used as well, however, the flavor would be subtle. Boiled water should be poured over the leaves or a teabag, and allowed to ‘sit’ for about five minutes. Enjoy your healthy cup of Yaupon tea. The great part is that the same leaves can be re-steeped, however, the flavor would get weaker with every brewing. Best had hot, Yaupon tea can also be served cold with ice. It is advisable to restrict the amount of tea consumed, since its natural caffeine could make one hyperactive and also work as a laxative.
Where to Buy and How to Serve
Since it is a novel item, it can be bought from select stores/cafes and some online portals. Dried Yaupon tea leaves look broken and pounded. Longer and deeper roasted leaves would have a dark brown color, akin to the color of ground coffee. Such leaves would give you the magnificent black tisane that is loved by Yaupon tea drinkers.
As with any other tea, Yaupon tea too should be stored in a tight container and kept in a dry dark place. Wet leaves do not remain fresh for use later.
Possible Problems from Yaupon Tea
As advised, always check with your doctor prior to introducing a new ingredient/food to your diet, and the same holds true for Yaupon tea, despite its taste and health benefits. Given its natural caffeine, it could cause some adverse reactions in some people, especially if consumed in significant amounts.
Caffeine is known to irritate the digestive system, cause irritability and anxiety, accelerate heart rate, cause insomnia, and other health issues. Some severe side effects include disorientation, seizures, heart-related problems, and even psychosis. It is advisable to limit the consumption of caffeine to about 400mg per day, but a person should consume depending on advice from their doctor, particularly young mothers and pregnant women. Additionally, those with pre-existing health issues would be strongly advised to check with their doctor prior to consuming Yaupon tea.
For those who love this tea, it symbolizes purity, happiness, camaraderie, and a feeling of belonging. Enjoy your cuppa and feel a sense of warmth and a hug enveloping you! Happy drinking!
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