The Power of Flowers is Real
The use of flowers in tea and traditional medicine is as old as time. But why is this? Flowers can add a beautiful visual or color to a blend, but the primary reason is for their perfume. Aromatherapy is the practice of using fragrant extracts from flowers and fruits for therapeutic benefit.
The first instances of flowers being used medicinally as well as in religious ceremonies date back to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.
French soldiers returning home from WWI were given aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and PTSD. Today, we find calming fragrances and treatments in the form of essential oils, perfumes, candles, spa treatments, and, of course, tea and herbal blends. Essential oils are even used in hospitals, to help improve moods, reducing stress, anxiety and depression, and as sleep aids.
Tea can be flavored by adding fruits, floral essences, and flavorings to the finished tea leaves. All tea leaves are very absorbent of fragrances (and all odors, in fact, which is why air-tight containers are important for tea storage). Popular scented black teas include Earl Grey, which is blended with bergamot; lapsang souchong, which is fragranced with pinewood smoke; rose tea, caramel tea and various fruit-flavored black teas.
When a floral fragrance activates smell receptors in your nose, messages are sent to the complex system of brain nerves known as the limbic system. It is associated with basic emotions, instinct, drives, memory and mood. Different aromas will stimulate different responses, and may even affect breathing patterns, blood pressure and heart rate.
So the next time “flower power” conjures up images of VW Beetles and the 70’s in your mind, remember that the true essence of the term is in a centuries-old all-natural alternative medicine which promotes physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing.