Love or addiction?


 “If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.” 
William Ewart Gladstone

I live in Assam – the land of refreshing tea. My hometown Dibrugarh is one of the tea-growing places of the state. I have grown up in the smell of freshly plucked leaves as well as the smell of processed tea leaves coming out of the chimneys of the tea factories. So it is obvious that I drink love tea – the smell as well as the taste. In fact our whole family cannot think of a day without a cup of it. We have tea early in the morning & in the afternoons and also in between this- any time is tea time. 🙂 In most of the Assamese households this holds true. Also, it’s customary in Assam to offer a cup of tea (and also betel-nut) to our guests. In our home, the moment a guest comes in, our father gives us a shout to prepare the tea. 😛 In the old times when in villages, they cooked in firewood, they used to put a kettle on the fire all the time, so that there is no delay in serving the tea to a guest. 

(Trivia – Assam tea is manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia sinensis var. assamica. This tea, most of which is grown at or near sea level, is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color. Assam teas, or blends containing Assam, is often sold as “breakfast” teas.)

Like the rest of my family members, I too start my day with a cup of milk tea – I have to. Over the years it has become a kind of routine to head sleepily towards the kitchen after I get up. I go on a kind of auto-mode. The other thing is even if I want to I cannot skip this routine. Some days due to reasons like – forgetting to re-stock my milk/tea leaves supply, early morning travelling, etc. – I have to skip my morning tea and then I have to face the worse….a nagging headache. Even after having 2-3 cups later cannot compensate for this.  And today was such a day. I hate to start my day like this and to top it all today is Monday (I hate Mondays!).

Because I experience this headache, which takes a whole lot of time to disappear (even after some late tea or a tablet), whenever I skip my morning tea, I decided to Google around to check if I have become addicted to this beverage (which I love and will hate to part with). And I found out some interesting information –

  1. Caffeine in tea can make us addictive and if we try to stop having it, we can suffer withdrawal symptoms – headache is one such. But then, for most people, moderate doses of caffeine about two to four cups of tea a day — isn’t harmful. 
  2. Heavy daily caffeine use – about four to seven cups of coffee — can cause Insomnia / Nervousness / Restlessness / Irritability/ Nausea or other gastrointestinal problems / Fast or irregular heartbeat / Muscle tremors / Headaches /Anxiety, etc.
  3. Tea is also said to be a healthier drink than water (
  4. Tea contains low to moderate amounts of caffeine, much less than coffee. The smaller amounts of caffeine make tea a good alternative to coffee for people seeking to minimize the adverse effects associated with heavy caffeine use.
  5. There is some preliminary evidence that regular tea drinking may slightly lower the risk of heart disease.
  6. There is some evidence that black tea may reduce stress and promote relaxation. Tea also contains L-theanine, a chemical known to promote relaxation.
  7. Tea, like most natural plant-based foods and beverages, is rich in antioxidants. There is some evidence suggesting that these antioxidants may have a protective effect in the body, such as protecting against various cancers, although there is no strong evidence that tea can actually treat or prevent cancer.
  8. The antioxidants in tea, the same chemicals often being touted for their health benefits, can actually bind to iron. It’s possible that this could make your body absorb less iron, although the evidence on this is still uncertainty. People at risk of iron deficiency can minimize this risk by consuming tea after a meal, rather than before or during the meal.
  9. Although tea itself is relatively safe, there have been a few cases of tea being contaminated by pesticides or other harmful chemicals. This risk can be minimized by buying from a reputable tea company that knows the source of their tea.

Interesting find, right? From the above it is quite clear that with my daily intake of a maximum 3 cups of tea, I definitely don’t run into great risk. And tea is definitely not yet my addiction.  So is there any tea addict lover out there to join me for a cuppa? Do share if you have anything else – good/bad/ugly – to share in this regard.

Till then, enjoy your cup of tea!



Images: Google