With flowers bursting into bloom this spring, it’s worth savouring the fragrant delights of teas such as Persian Chai Gol Gavzaban (which translates to flower of cow’s tongue). I’m a big fan of Persian Chai Gol Gavzaban (borage tea) because it’s flower power for relaxation. It’s great for healthy living, helping to relieve menstrual cramps and drinking it always leaves me feeling relaxed and stress-free.
How to make Chai Gol Gavzaban tea
To make it, steep the dried purple flowers in hot boiling water for around 30 minutes in a teapot before serving. As it’s quite bitter, the tea can be sweetened with rock sugar (nabat) or honey. A typical dose is one to two grams per day. You shouldn’t drink too much of it.
There are huge health benefits to be had from drinking borage tea as it contains high levels of GLA, gamma linolenic acid. This essential fatty acid is something our body needs for optimum health. A deficiency can affect cardiovascular function, inflamation and mood. EFAs can also improve hair and nail growth and appearance.
Borage tea is a great herbal remedy particularly for women because it contains high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, B and C vitamins and beta carotene, making it really nutritional. The tea helps calm body and mind by restoring the adrenal glands to their natural balance. The adrenal glands work hard to prepare the body for fight or flight situations, but adrenal fatigue can occur when we are overstressed.
Borage tea is also a natural sedative which can help to ease depression and mood swings. It is well-known for its soothing qualities and is therefore great to drink before sitting a driving test or if you have travel sickness. Borage is currently being researched as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help relieve certain skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis.
Where to buy
You can buy Chai Gol Gavzaban tea from most Asian supermarkets. I buy mine from MA Brothers in Newcastle. Note: It is not recommended to drink borage tea or take supplements in pregnancy or when trying to conceive.
Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Tea Advisory Panel, comments: “Just as flowers come in all colours, so do herbal infusions. Unlike most of the blooms springing into life over the next few months, infusions and teas provide surprising health and wellness benefits for our hearts, bones, immune system as well as our minds.”
Check out these wellness tips on other colourful herbal infusions and teas.
With gentle notes of apple and a mild honey-like sweetness, Chamomile is a firm favourite at bedtime. “And its benefits for sleep are not an old wives’ tale”, says Dr Ruxton. “A study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that drinking chamomile daily for two weeks improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue.”
Made from the leaves of a South African shrub, Rooibos has a smooth, gentle flavour with a slight nutty sweetness. Dr Ruxton says: “In a clinical trial, six weeks of drinking rooibos daily stimulated antioxidant pathways in the body, a great stress buster and lowered LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides – fats linked with heart disease risk.”
Peppermint and spearmint have a refreshing minty taste and a vibrant aroma. Dr Ruxton comments: “While better known for digestion, mint infusions can also help re-balance hormone levels. Great news for those feeling angst with emotions. A 30-day randomised trial in women with polycystic ovary syndrome found that drinking mint tea twice daily reduced testosterone levels and boosted normal female hormones.”
With its gorgeous deep pink colour, Hibiscus offers floral notes sharpened by acidic flavours of cranberry and redcurrant. Dr Ruxton says: “A clinical study in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking three daily servings of hibiscus significantly helped lowers systolic blood pressure after six weeks compared with a placebo drink. Some of us often find that stress can cause blood pressure to rise.”
Well known for its rich red colour, Rosehip has an intense tangy taste similar to green apples and ripe plums. Dr Ruxton notes: “Rose hips have anti-inflammatory properties. A recent review of 24 pharmacological studies found that preparations of rose hips helped to reduce pain and swelling in conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Don’t forget the leaves…
While herbal infusions are bursting with ‘flower power’ don’t forget the traditional cuppa and green tea. They are both borne from Camellia Sinensis – and bursting with flavours, aromas and vibrancy. They are packed with health and wellness properties. From heart, memory and bone health benefits to gut, digestive fitness, skin and beauty hydration needs to stress-busting properties. So, pop the kettle on, sip, take time out for yourself. Dream and enjoy that tea moment, whatever the aroma or flavour.
Until next time, chai on, fabulous mamans!