As we traverse along our wellness journeys, some of us may have started sipping more teas following a basic understanding that they are typically better for us than alternative hot beverages and mocha frappa what-nots. And while our intentions are good, it’s important to be mindful of the difference between a wellness tea and a regular tea. Inspite of catchy names and cute branding, some teas are filled with unexpected items like artificial colouring, flavours and sweetners, rendering our attempts at a healthy alternative null and void.
So imagine our delight in discovering Lee’s Tea, a Canadian-born line of wellness teas that ticks all the boxes; delicious, full of good-for-you ingredients, cute branding and charitable (10% of all profits go towards saving the endangered Asian elephant).
We chatted with Lee Capatina, founder of Lee’s Tea to learn more about what makes a tea a “Wellness Tea”, how adaptogens work, stevia and more. You are also invited to join us for a Guided Meditation and Adaptogen Iced Tea Workshop led by Lee and hosted at Good Space on June 23rd. Check out full details here.
1. The term “wellness tea” has been leveraged quite a bit recently in conversations around personal well-being and health. What’s the difference between a “wellness tea” and a regular tea?
The main difference between regular teas and wellness teas is the ingredients in them and their intended uses. Regular teas are made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, which are processed to create white, green and black teas. There’s no doubt that regular teas are good for you, as they are known to contain high levels of beneficial compounds such as catechins (primarily in green tea), amino acids and polyphenols (antioxidants). However, wellness teas take the benefits of tea to the next level. Wellness teas are formulated with adaptogens and other herbs intended to provide more benefits than your average cup of tea. These benefits range from improving digestion and focus, to boosting energy and libido, and everything in between.
2. Similarly, the concept of adaptogens is one that is new to a lot of people. Can you shed a little light on the term for us?
Adaptogens are such a fascinating group of herbs, which have recently become quite popular in the health and wellness community (for good reason). Some herbs in this family include ginseng, ashwagandha, tulsi, maca, cordyceps, reishi and many more. These ingredients have been used for thousands of years to help bring your body back to a homeostasis or state of balance. For example, if you are low on energy and need a pick me up, they provide a natural boost of energy. If you are stressed and anxious, they can help you calm down and relax. One way to understand them is to think of them like a best friend who always has your back and looks out for what’s best for you.
3. The adaptogen of choice for Lee’s Tea is Tulsi. What are the benefits of Tulsi and what inspired you to create a line of Tulsi-infused teas.
Yes, we absolutely love tulsi here at Lee’s Provisions! Also known as holy basil, tulsi is an incredible adaptogen that’s been used for over 5000 years in Ayurvedic medicine.
I first learned about tulsi from a friend who is a yoga teacher and an avid follower of Ayurveda. She taught me that this herb is very beneficial for my dosha, or Ayurvedic constitution and gave me a tulsi plant as a gift to plant in my garden. Since then, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for this herb and have incorporated it into my daily routine, mainly by steeping it as an herbal infusion. Since I began drinking tulsi tea every day, I’ve noticed my stress levels go down and my mind becoming more calm, clear and focused. Witnessing the benefits of tulsi firsthand inspired me to share this amazing herb with others, in my line of organic tulsi wellness teas. I even had a tulsi plant at my wedding, as it’s believed to bring good luck!
In addition to being an adaptogen, tulsi is also known to help relieve headaches, balance hormones, regulate blood pressure, reduce stress and increase energy levels.
4. Stevia is found in 3 of your teas. Are there any benefits to stevia aside from being a natural sweetener?
Stevia leaf grows in India where we source most of our organic herbs and spices, so it’s a natural fit for our teas. We use whole stevia leaf in some of our teas to round out some of the more bitter flavours of the herbs, which makes up about 1% of the total tea volume. Stevia leaf differs from stevia extract in that it’s not nearly as sweet as stevia extract and there is no after-taste. I chose to use whole stevia leaf as it’s completely natural and unrefined and doesn’t spike insulin levels. In addition, whole stevia leaf is also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and contains high levels of antioxidants.
5. All four of Lee’s Teas are incredible. Do you have a favourite?
Thank you so much!
I’d have to say that Pink Chai is my favourite, as I love a good spicy chai. Not to mention the pink colour wins my heart, every time. That being said, each tea is very different and I have them on rotation so I can choose one based on how I’m feeling any given day.
What many people don’t know is that each blend is designed to provide specific benefits. For example, the Mint chill is more cooling and is great for Summer or when you’re a bit agitated or fiery. The Pink Chai is really warming and grounding, which is great in the Winter or when you’re feeling a bit spaced out. The Gold Rush is the most stimulating and is great when your digestion is a bit sluggish in the Fall and Spring, when you need a bit of a detox or some extra energy to get you going. The Original tulsi blend is great to drink anytime, as it has the most adaptogenic properties. The important thing is just listen to your body and pick a tea that speaks to how you’re feeling.