Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chamomile Facts

Chamomile has a wide array of medicinal properties but unfortunately not everyone can use it. Chamomile is part of the Asteraceae plant family, which includes ragweed and chrysanthemum. People who are allergic to ragweed may have a reaction when they use chamomile either internally or topically. It is not recommended that pregnant or breast feeding women use chamomile. Chamomile is native to Europe and Asia with the flower portion of the plant used for medicinal purposes. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are the two key types of chamomile used for health conditions. Chamomile is regularly used in Europe for digestive ailments because of its anti-inflammatory properties known to ease spasm and discomfort in the digestive tract. It is a popular treatment for numerous ailments: sleep disorders, anxiety, digestion and intestinal conditions, skin irritations including eczema, and diaper rash. If you are not allergic to ragweed give Chamomile a try!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yerba Mate- Is it a miracle drink?

I have studied and researched tea (Camellia sinensis) but my only real experience with Mate was when I purchased it at a health food store about 5 years ago after I read that it acted like an appetite suppressant. It ended up on the "junk" shelf in my kitchen with an embarrassingly large variety of other potions to keep it company. Last year one of our family friends went to Brazil and came back with a gourd that she told me was the typical Mate drinking vessel. She explained that she had become a Mate "convert"- and didn't need to drink coffee anymore because she got so much energy from the Mate. I decided to research Mate and was shocked by what I found out. Yerba Mate contains vitamin A, C, E, B1, B2, B complex, carotene, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin and vitamin C complex. It also has 15 different amino acids,magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, manganese, silicon, phosphates, zinc, niacin, sulfur, and chlorophyll, choline, and inositol. The list of health benefits seems endless: improves mental clarity, reduces the symptoms of hayfever and allergies, balances blood glucose levels, relaxes peripheral blood vessels (thereby reducing blood pressure), stimulates a weak nervous system, boosts immunity and suppresses the appetite. The list doesn't end there but I will save the rest for another time. Of course I had to add Yerba Mate to our menu and encourage you to give it a try. It is pretty close to being the "Miracle Beverage".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wine & Live Music Events Added To Calendar

We have just posted two new events to our calendar. If you are in the Philadelphia area come out and enjoy some tea with us!

Live Music on Sunday, March 22nd 12Noon until 2pm
Enjoy a pot of tea while folksinger Michael Mabry performs an eclectic mix of traditional and original story songs, drawing on American, British and Celtic roots. An accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, Michael has been entertaining audiences in and around Philadelphia for 15 years.

Discover The Wines of South Africa~ Friday, April 10th
Did you that while South Africa produces only 3% of the worlds wine it ranks as number nine in overall wine volume production? Until recently, most people in the U.S. had never tried or heard of South African wine even though they have been making wine since the late 1600’s. Today there are more high quality South African wines for sale in the U.S. than ever before. Join us as we sample Shiraz, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and other selections accompanied by perfectly paired cheese. This class will be facilitated by a professional wine instructor.

Time: 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Cost: $40 per person
Where: The Hill Tea Bar
Reservations: 215-381-2226

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pu-erh and Weight Loss

If you ever stopped by my shop you may already know that in 2007 I lost 40 pounds and that I credit much of it with my switch from coffee to tea. I did not go the green tea or oolong route- I switched to pu-erh. In 2006 I was introduced to pu-erh at a tea house in San Francisco during a business trip and quickly became addicted to the earthy, dark tea. I was so intrigued by pu-erh that I spent some time researching its history and I learned about numerous studies that concluded pu-erh helps with digestion in addition to providing powerful cholesterol lowering effects and blood cleansing properties. Then- Bingo- I found a study that suggested pu-erh aides significantly in weight loss efforts by curbing the appetite and flushing the fat ingested from greasy meals. Once I discovered it could help me loose weight I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey and started drinking 6-7 cups of pu-erh per day (Yes, I was drowning in it). When Mark Ukra's book, The Ultimate Tea Diet, came out in early 2008 I was excited to find that he included a unique array of recipes that incorporated pu-erh into everyday meals. If you are a tea lover and have not read the book you need to borrow a copy from your library- it is a great book. Well, yesterday I was waiting in line at the grocery store and was paging through one of those gossip magazines and saw an article about a famous movie star who credits her good shape to.....pu-erh tea!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

SereniTEA is Needed Today!

I knew when I woke up it was going to be a bad day. Well, I wasn't 100% sure until my husband told me that my hair looked half-done. When I asked him to elaborate he told me that it looked like "I started but gave up". Considering that this came from a bald man I was not too thrilled. A few hours later I heard banging in the kitchen of our Tea Bar and I went back to see what was going on. There was my husband again- I asked what he was doing and he told me that he was our "Protector of Information". He was dismantling one of our old computers and being obsessed as he is with identity theft my husband explained his method for protecting our information- he removed the hard drive from the computer, ran a magnet over it, submerged it in water and smashed it with a hammer (in this exact order). He told me that he didn't have time to finish the job until you see what I have to look forward to? Well, I figured it was a day for SereniTEA. Chamomile mixed with the green tea is always relaxing and you can blend it yourself at home. Try to use dried chamomile flowers (not powdered or crushed) for the best flavor.

For 1 large 16 ounce mug:

1 tsp panfired green tea
1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
Mix together and steep for 4 minutes- Cheers!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crowsfeet and Green Tea

Hi to all of my friends who have told me that they love the green tea face toner (men and women alike). You have been asking me for more all-natural, anti-aging products and I have been working on it! Last week I tested out a DIY green tea eye treatment that I am really loving- I have noticed a marked improvement in the crepiness under my eyes. Give it a try and let me know what you think...

2 Tablespoons Jojoba Oil
2 Tablespoons Very Strong Brewed Green Tea (cooled- I use Gunpowder Green)

Place the jojoba oil in a small, sterilized bottle and add the cooled green tea. Shake very well to mix and apply with a q-tip or finger around the under eye area making sure to gently pat in the mixture. Unrefrigerated the potion will last 1-month; in the refrigerator it will last 2 months.

Jojoba oil is a non-greasy oil recognized for its ability to penetrate and protect all three layers of your skin. Jojoba oil is a natural antioxidant and it also acts as a natural sunscreen with a SPF of 16. You can purchase the oil in a health food store, a natural grocery store or online.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Phillip Silverstone Comes to The Hill Tea Bar!

We are so excited that starting in March 2009 The Hill Tea Bar will be partnering with world renowned wine expert Phillip Silverstone to offer exclusive Sunday afternoon wine tastings. Read more....

We are proud to announce a series of unstuffy Sunday afternoon wine interludes with Wine-tertainer Phillip Silverstone. Ever the consummate raconteur, Silverstone's presentation will include a sampling of his favorite slurps during his un-snooty, unpretentious, witty and unpredictable conversation.

Phillip grew up in St John's Wood, London and has lived in Philadelphia since 1977. Phillip is a TV and radio wine commentator, author and columnist, writing and hosting his award winning radio features "Time Out For Fine Wine" heard on WRTI 90.1FM. His twice Emmy nominated PBS TV series "One On Wine with Phillip Silverstone" was seen on WHYY TV. Phillip's column "Wining About The Good Life" is syndicated in weekly publications, and his book "Cheers! The World of a Wine-osaur" is published by Camino, Philadelphia. He has been featured on CNN and the Food Network.

With his ever present, self-deprecating dry British sense of humor, Silverstone's philosophy is refreshingly simple and unique, for anyone intimidated by the subject. His anecdotes, short stories, outspoken opinions and practical tips are aimed at anyone who enjoys a lighthearted approach to the subject of wine. He calls it: Wine-tertaining!

Phillip's Wine-tertainment is offered the last Sunday of each month.
WHEN: Sunday March 29th 3-5 pm
WHERE: The Hill Tea Bar, 6 East Hartwell Lane, Chestnut Hill, PA 19118
COST: $60 per person (includes wine and cheese and fruit)