In praise of Earl Grey, the tea that could tackle heart ailment

‘Tea. Earl Grey. Sizzling.’ Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the educated, sophisticated and diplomatic Starfleet Captain, is aware of a issue or two about perfect inter-galactic refreshment. Not only does the hero of Star Trek: The Subsequent Generation choose to drink this most delicately flavoured thirst-quencher in any galaxy. But now it emerges – with apologies to Picard’s old friends the Vulcans – that this bergamot infusion allows 1 to ‘live extended [and prosper]’.

For our current generation now learns that Earl Grey tea is a lot more than just a rather taste. The tea, served in sensible households all over the place from Buckingham Palace, Downton Abbey, and even Nigella Lawson’s house (where it pops up in Earl Grey tea cakes), could also reduce cholesterol amounts and decrease the possibility of heart illness, says new Italian research.

Findings from the University of Calabria indicate that nutrients referred to as HMGF (hydroxy methyl glutaryl flavonones), which are existing in bergamot, worked just as well on the proteins which result in heart condition and ‘bad’ cholesterol as statins.

However, even with so several smart endorsements, and now a verified wellness advantage, there are specific tea-lovers who – excuse me, whilst I recover from a swift shudder with a restorative sip of the scented nectar – think Earl Grey is ‘Not All That’.

In truth some folks have been heard to make disparaging remarks about this easy black tea, brewed from conventional Camellia sinensis leaves laced with oil of bergamot oranges. Criticisms variety from the basic, ‘That muck?’ to the more convoluted view that this tea is blatant aspiration that Earl Grey is a kind of gateway drug to dreams of a much more fascinating daily life. The naysayers claim it the compound de choix when you are 18 wanting to be 28 or Hyacinth Bouquet but dream of getting the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Both that, or they snigger that perfumed potpourri as anything favoured by the most effete of metrosexual men or, confusingly, lesbian plumbers.

Pish posh, I say. Place the kettle on, Polly, and we can all be realistic over a warmed pot, a heavenly aroma, and for me – though not for some – a dash of skimmed milk (added right after pouring) to leaven the tannins.

For Earl Grey followers – comme moi – are not pretentious. We are sensitive souls with the tastebuds of poets who like to seduce our senses into action of a morning or to simmer us down gently submit-heart assault-inducing Newsnight. But really do not confuse us with the wilting violets who favour Lady Grey tea (invented for Norwegians whose delicate noses discovered the Earl’s blend too pungent), which is unforgiveably spliced with lemon and orange peel, and even dangerously subverted with – ye gods – lavender.

No, tamper with our brew at your peril – as Twining’s discovered out in 2012 when they made the decision to tweak with the authentic flavour and had been hit with an on-line campaign culminating in an outraged Facebook web page that swiftly racked up 1300 Likes. All the much more cause to pour a cup and inhale the scent of bergamot – an oil which, in accordance to research in Taiwan, could decrease the blood pressure. Certainly Bergamot is a traditional treatment for tension in aromatherapy, and an antiseptic in Mediterranean folklore.

So my dear Earl Grey – not only are you delicious, you are also down-to-earth efficacious. And I really do not need to have a spoonful of sugar to assist this medication go down.

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