Callie’s Cabin: Tea-riffic tea for summertime blues

Cal Orey
Special to the Tribune
Homemade Ice Tea on Wooden Table. (Getty Images)

It’s no secret that June is National Iced Tea Month.

But you may not know that tea offers cool home cures, including beating sleepiness, and it can also keep you calmer than java.

It turns out when I was in the TSA line at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, I was asked by the agent: “Have you ever been searched?” I answered: “No,” and I was led into a booth and searched. I was told it was the metal on my boots and layered clothing that got me into this intimidating compromising position. I survived the early morning adventure with the greatest of ease, sort of.

But I was thankful for the tea I drank en route. It was the green tea with less than more caffeine, and no intense heart-racing coffee that helped me stay chill. Read: I had the right complacent attitude and made the flight out of the Sierra and into Salt Lake City — two airports known for turbulent flights. More tea, please. Again, kudos to mellow tea, wo(man)’s best friend.

Welcome to summertime … It’s a time for travel, stress, skin woes, and even “I shouldn’t have eaten that!” dog day afternoons that tea can be a blessing. I’ll describe four common health ailments and provide why there is a growing trend about of at-home tea cures that’ll wow you with their potential healing powers. I sprinkled in tea wisdom from tried-and-true folk remedies.

1. Jet lag (Snag some energy.) Sleepy or not? Getting on and off that jet plane can wreak havoc on your mind and body.

What Tea Rx to Use: Drink 1 cup of green tea before an early morning flight. Chase it later in the day with 1 cup of immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich black for the extra caffeine buzz. Repeat as necessary.

Why you’ll feel tea-rrific: Drinking green tea in the early morning hours is better on your system than a cup of Joe or black tea because the latter has less caffeine but enough to wake you up so you’ll be alert. Savoring a stronger cup of tea later in the day can help you feel awake and energized but not as much as coffee, which can leave you feeling jittery.

2. Summer stress (Snap out of it.) Summer can affect serotonin levels, making you feel down, especially if you live in a region when the heat soars. Or if you live in a town like South Lake Tahoe and the quietude is suddenly changed to a hectic environment with loud noises, traffic, and crowded stores to beaches, it it can wreak havoc on your nerves – for both tourists and locals.

What tea Rx to use: Opt to try a blend of black and white or green and white tea. Use 1 teaspoon of each or 1 bag of each and 2 cups of water. Heat to almost a boil, steep for 3 minutes. Drain. Serve with calming citrus slices.

Why you’ll feel tea-rrific: Both white and green tea have less caffeine than black tea — but all three teas boast calming effects. Drinking a hot cup of tea in the morning or night or iced tea throughout the day can also beat stress and calm your frazzled nerves.

3. Sunburn (Treat your skin.) Summer can be a drag for some people, especially fair-skinned winter lovers who detest getting burned by the sun. My sibling, blue-eyed with a light Irish complexion like my father, for instance, traveled to Cabo, Mexico, a place touted for its warm climate. He went fishing and enjoyed the water and sun all day long on a chartered boat. Unwittingly, his legs and feet were not covered with a sunscreen. The damage was second- degree burns that sent him to a general practitioner once he arrived back home to South Shore.

What tea Rx to use: Cool a strong infusion of white tea, use it to soak a sponge or soft cloth, and then gently pat onto sunburned skin. Infused tea can also be added to a spray bottle or atomizer to apply without touching painful burns.

Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: If Whether you are away or at home, tea is an inexpensive, soothing treatment that can offer immediate relief as well as continue working to work to soothe the pain, redness, and inflammation of a sunburn, thanks to its the compounds found in antioxidant-rich white tea—often used in beauty skin products.

4. Tummy troubles (Soothe the queasiness.) A stomachache can be triggered by a variety of factors including eating something that doesn’t agree with you, motion sickness (car, boat, or plane) or even a bout of eating the wrong food from raw fish to salad gone bad or the “I ate the whole thing” syndrome at that picnic on the Lake. You’ll want a remedy ASAP to beat feeling blah.

What tea Rx to use: Tummy Soothing Chamomile-Ginger Tea: Combine 1 teaspoon ginger tea and 1 teaspoon chamomile tea (tea bag or leaves). Heat 2 cups tap water in a tea kettle. Add tea in strainer for 3–5 minutes. Add a slice of orange and honey to taste. This is an easy, all-natural rescue remedy. Makes 2 servings.

Why you’ll feel tea-rrific: Both chamomile and ginger contain properties that can help stave off tummy distress. Calming chamomile can stave off anxiety (stomach distress is a symptom) and ginger is touted for its compounds to beat the queasies.

So, is tea a cure-all for jet lag to tummy trouble? Nah. But the right tea can help you cope with oh-too common summertime ups and downs.

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Tea (published by Kensington).

Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

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