There is an ancient Chinese proverb that goes something like this “drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary”. Well, tea does come with amazing health benefits and is, perhaps, one of the easiest ways to enjoy the goodness of plants. And, when the tea is foraged from the wild then the goodness is amplified!
Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is typically cultivated in vast tea plantations and this is the tea that most of us are familiar with. However, the forests of Northeast India are home to wild tea. They belong to the same species as cultivated tea, but grow on tea trees in the wild without any human intervention. These can grow up to thirty feet tall and are ancient to boot – a hundred years or more! In the forests they grow through the natural biological process of seed germination and go on to develop deep root systems as they remain unpruned. The deeper root system enables them to absorb more nutrients and minerals from the earth.
Their natural origins, absence of harmful chemical fertilisers and pesticides in their growth, pollution-free bio-diverse forest eco-system – all of these contribute in making wild tea beyond organic! Wild tea is skilfully foraged from the forests by native tea pickers and processed using indigenous techniques which helps retain the uncrushed whole leaf and all of the nutrients.
Wild teas, by themselves, possess many beneficial properties. They are known to be rich in anti-oxidants, can help boost immunity, aid in weight-loss and lower cholesterol. When they are blended with potent indigenous ingredients, the flavour, aroma, and goodness of the brew gets enhanced. Some herbs, which may be difficult to consume by themselves, taste great when complemented with wild tea.
At Beyondarie, we have explored the rich variety of native herbs and spices found in the North East- some growing in the wild and others sustainably cultivated- and looked at ways of complementing their unique flavour profiles with those of wild teas to create delightful blends. Each curated blend has distinct aroma, flavour, taste, and a whole lot of goodness.
First, meet the native herbs & spices.
Lakadong Turmeric gains its potency from the presence of curcumin and it is the most potent variant of turmeric as it contains the highest curcumin percentage (7-12%) as compared to other variants (2-3%). Interestingly, it is only found in Lakadong, Meghalaya and that’s how it derives its name. It is a powerful antioxidant, a natural anti-inflammatory and has been in use for medicinal purposes since ages. Various studies from around the world support its beneficial effects in combating some of the major health risks of today such as cancer, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Karbi Ginger is found in Karbi Anglong district of Assam and is GI tagged on account of its superior quality and medicinal properties. It is no secret that ginger is a superfood with its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. And there are studies now that show that it may be an anti-carcinogenic.
Galangal is a spice native to Southern Asia. It’s used either fresh or in its dried form and is a popular addition to many Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian dishes and features in North Eastern cuisine too. It has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines for centuries because of its beneficial properties. It is known to be an anti-oxidant, an anti-inflammatory and some studies suggest that it may even fight infections and protect against cancer.
Wild Litsea is an aromatic evergreen shrub or small tree with a citrusy aroma and small berry-like fruits, which turn black on ripening, thus giving it its common name of mountain pepper. It is known for its medicinal properties and has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. In the North East, it is found growing in the wild and its fruits are foraged by the locals and used for culinary purposes.
It possesses therapeutic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It is used for the treatment of colds and flues and is also known to be a nerve tonic which induces a feeling of relaxation.
Wild Cinnamon grows in the wild in the high altitude regions of the Northeast. This spice has many medicinal and soothing properties and is frequently used in Chinese herbal medicine. Its distinctive smell and flavour come from essential oils contained in the bark called cinnamaldehyde.
Cinnamon has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help improve gut health because of its prebiotic properties. Cinnamon extract has been used to alleviate gastrointestinal problems in both Eastern and Western medicines for years.
Lemongrass is a tall and stalky tropical plant with a fresh, lemony aroma and a citrus flavour. Lemongrass essential oil has been used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and uplift the mood. It has also been used as a folk remedy to promote sleet, relieve pain, and boost immunity. It has anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory properties and some studies suggest that it may help fight cancer, promote healthy digestion, and enable weight loss.
Tulsi, also known as holy basil, and Mint are herbs that are native to India and widely cultivated across the region. Tulsi is rich in Vitamin C and Zinc, thus acts as a natural immunity booster. It has immense anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties which helps protect us from various infections. Mint, although not typically consumed in large quantities, contains fair amounts of several nutrients and is an especially good source of Vitamin A and anti-oxidants.
Then, brew the perfect cup of blended wild tea!
We’ve crafted sixteen varieties of blends that reflect the richness and diversity of ingredients, flavours and benefits. All you have to do is pick a blend that you fancy and soak in its goodness!