Archive for the ‘Rooibos’ Category

  • Holiday Road Trip With Ella

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    EllaDuring the holidays, our family had the rare occasion when we could all take time off from our jobs and busy schedules to make the 11-hour drive to visit my husband’s family. We packed up the car and tucked Ella, our 3-month-old puppy, into some blankets on the back seat with our son. Ten hours into the trip, Ella got carsick. We’re not too sure why she got sick, though she was watching a DVD with Ryan when it happened. I got everyone cleaned up without too much trouble, and we got to Gramma’s without any other delays. The whole incident, though, brought up a lengthy discussion on the uses and benefits of teas for dogs. When we got back home I did some research and was surprised with the results.

    Tea and coffee are dangerous to dogs because it affects their heart and nervous system. Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant that can cause all kinds of problems. Small amounts of caffeine can cause vomiting and diarrhea, whereas large amounts will increase heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to seizures and death. That means black, green and oolong teas should never be given to your pet. The question arises, is decaffeinated tea ok? It seems that I could not get a clear answer. While some studies say decaffeinated tea is all right in moderation, other studies say that even decaffeinated tea still has some residual caffeine, and a greater concern would be the dog’s reaction to the chemicals used in the decaffeinating process.

    I then researched herbal teas for dogs. There were even more pros and cons on this subject, but I found a few that seemed safe enough for dogs.

    Chamomile tea was safe in most cases. One caution, animals with allergies to goldenrod or ragweed should not consume teas containing chamomile. Also, never give chamomile tea to a pregnant animal since it can cause uterine problems. Chamomile tea is used to calm an animal; place a little in their water dish or soak a treat in it.

    Ginger tea seemed to be generally accepted for pets. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat a myriad of aliments such as gas, nausea, arthritis and heart problems. It can also be used as an antiviral and fever reducer. There are some cautions when using ginger. It can decrease blood sugar levels, increase absorption of oral medications and might cause uterine problems in pregnant dogs. Too much ginger on an empty stomach can actually cause a dog to become nauseated.

    Rooibos tea was the one herbal tea that I couldn’t find any negative side affects. It’s packed with over thirty powerful antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and doesn’t contain caffeine. With its natural sweet taste, dogs seem to love it.

    The best way to use tea for pets is topical. Here’s a few interesting ways to use teas.

    Brush your dog’s teeth with green tea. Green tea is great for oral health and helps kill the bacteria that cause plaque build up, cavities and gum disease

    Use green tea as an astringent for healing minor open sores. The antibacterial properties of green tea are great for drying out and healing hot spots.

    Spray your dog’s coat with Chamomile tea. It makes your dog smell great and, since Chamomile kills bacteria, it can sooth and relieve itchy skin

    Here are a few tea recipes that will help make your doggie more comfortable.

    Ginger Tummy Tea

    Pour a cup of boiling water over several slices of peeled fresh ginger root and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove ginger slices and cool. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Ginger Tummy Tea to your pet’s water about a ½ hour before leaving the house. This tea can be administered every 2 to 3 hours while traveling. Keep tea in the refrigerator or cooler and discard after 48 hours.

    Coat Deodorizer

    Brew a couple of cups of chamomile tea, cool and place in a plastic spray bottle. To use, lightly spray your dog before brushing. Keep tea in the refrigerator and discard after 48 hours. If your dog has itchy skin, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the tea.

    Remember, I’m not a veterinarian and am only sharing what I learned. Only your veterinarian knows what’s best for your particular pet, so before trying any natural or herbal treatments, always consult with him or her first. Please be a good pet parent and keep your pet safe.

  • Stress In Your Life

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    Does it seem like you never have enough time to get things done. Are you always on the go? Do you find yourself over whelmed with responsibilities? If so, you know what it’s like to be stressed out.

    Long-term stress can cause a lot of nasty health problems. It can lower your immune system making you more susceptible to infections. It has a direct affect on the cardiovascular system causing high blood pressure and increases your chances of heart disease and stroke. Continuous stress causes the body to stay in “flight or fight” mode and the liver produces high levels of blood sugar. If this happens, you’re at risk to develop type 2 diabetes. It can affect your memory; make you depressed, or more aggressive.

    There are some easy ways to reduce or eliminate stress in your life.

    Eat right – don’t skip meals, limit junk food, drink plenty of water, substitute teas for coffee and energy drinks. Green teas have natural antioxidants and a soothing and calming effect on the nervous system.

    Laugh or Cry – laughter releases endorphins that counteract hormones that causes stress. Crying rids the body of harmful stress induced hormones.
    Exercise – simple stretching exercises, a short walk, or yoga all work wonders to improve our mood and release stress

    Rest – lack of sleep actually increases stress. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Having trouble falling asleep? Listen to soothing music or sounds. Avoid caffeine late in the day. Try Rooibos Tea. It’s an herbal, caffeine free tea with excellent calming abilities.

    Take Deep Breaths – slow, deep breathes by inhaling through the nose and slowly exhaling through the mouth oxygenates the blood, clears the mind, and lowers stress.

    Talk – find someone to talk to. Make sure that person is someone you can trust and will be sympathetic and reassuring. Can’t find someone, then talk to yourself. Make a plan that you can easily achieve and then tell yourself everything will be OK and tomorrow will be another day.

    Touch – hold a loved one’s hand, pet your cat or dog, hug you child, or get a massage.

    Sound – forget rock and roll when you’re stressed. Try classical music, wind chimes, or simple natural sounds like ocean waves or cascading water.

    Hobbies – pick a fun hobby, something you enjoy and allows you to escape from the daily grind

    Get Rid Of Clutter – clutter causes stress so clean up your house or office and keep it in order

    Learn To Say “No” – don’t take on more than you can do in a day. Find different ways to get unpleasant tasks done. Learn to nicely say no to extra responsibilities or obligations that you know you can’t possibly fit into your schedule.

  • Tea In The Garden

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    The title of this blog might be a bit misleading. I’m not talking garden parties or afternoon tea; I’m talking gardening with tea and tea leaves.

    Tea is high in nitrogen and contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and even fluoride that are needed for healthy plants.

    Tea leaves make a great organic fertilizer. When added to soil, they add bulk and acidity and help absorb and hold moisture. The recommended tea leaves for fertilizer are black, green, oolong, and Rooibos (also known as redbush).

    True teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant are highly acidic and are the most beneficial for acid-loving plants. Try sprinkling your used black, oolong, green and/or white tea leaves around the base of azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns, hollies and roses. Vegetables plants that benefit from tea leaves include tomato, pepper, and eggplant.

    Got leftover tea? Add it to your watering can and use it to water your indoor and outdoor potted plants. This will add nutrients and, in the case of green tea, may even discourage insects.

    Another added benefit of adding tea leaves to your soil is the possibility of warding off slugs and snails. Some studies have shown that as little as a 1 to 2 percent solution of caffeine can kill these pests.

    This sounds great, but does it really work?

    I scared my husband a bit when I surrounded his tomato and pepper plants with a generous amount of used tea leaves. After a few waterings, he had deep green, healthy plants that almost doubled in height. It was amazing. Even the little runt of a tomato plant greened-up and started growing. So after the vegetable garden, I moved on to the roses which are now blooming like crazy. When we potted up some flowers, I added tea leaves to the potting soil. So far, I have nice healthy plants that seem to be withstanding the heat.

    Just remember that too much of a good thing can kill you plants. It’s recommended that you only add tea leaves or water your plants with tea no more than every two weeks.

    Happy Gardening!