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10 "Uncommon" Teas You Should Add To Your Stash (& Why)

Teas you may have never heard of before that are really, really good for you.

Wellness

While I know that I'm made up of roughly 60 percent water and consuming it on a daily basis is one of the best things for my system, I'll be the first one to say that I'm not the biggest water fan on the planet. To me, drinking "wet air" isn't exactly my idea of a good time). At the same time, something that I will happily consume is tea. I don't just mean syrupy sweet southern sweet tea either. I mean warm herbal tea that only has a bit of honey in it. I think that, more than anything, it's psychological because, anyone who is a tea fan knows that herbal tea isn't too far off from straight-up water (especially if you don't put a lot of "stuff" in it). Still, because I know a lot of the health benefits that come with different varieties of tea, I feel like whenever I drink some, I'm doing a lot for my overall health and well-being.

So today, I'm going to share some teas that I think everyone could benefit from, whether you are a tea connoisseur or you just wanna try something new. I call them "uncommon" because, while they don't get the same kind of attention as say, green tea or rooibos does, they can still hook you and your system up in ways that will make you wonder why you haven't been drinking them all along.

1. Lemongrass

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Tastes Like: lemon/lime mint

If you like tea that has a bit of a citrusy taste to it, then you'll really enjoy lemongrass. Because it's got anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial (which means it either kills or significantly slows down the growth of bacteria and viruses) properties, it's the kind of tea that can help to reduce the risk of heart disease while also helping to prevent oral decay. Lemongrass tea is also really good for you because it helps to promote healthy digestion, regulate your cholesterol levels and, it can even make PMS symptoms (like cramping and bloating) so much easier to bear.

2. Pu-Erh

Tastes Like: sweet/sour/floral

Remember that we're touching on new teas to add to your collection; ones that you quite possibly have never even heard of before. That said, I'd be semi-floored if you're familiar with Pu-erh. It's a caffeinated and fermented tea that derived from China. Its caffeine helps to give you a bit of an energy boost while its fermentation helps to promote a healthy gut.

Some other benefits of this tea include the fact that it improves the health of your liver, can aid in inhibiting the production of cancer cells, is a great detoxifier, promotes bone health and, because it's high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, Pu-erh a wonderful tea if you're looking for a way to strengthen your immune system.

Just make sure to keep in mind that, due to its semi-high caffeine content, too much of it could make it hard to sleep or give you dizzy spells (similar to when you consume too much coffee), if you're not careful. A cup a day is more than enough.

3. Sweet Violet

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Tastes Like: grass (kinda)

I'll be honest with you, if there is a name of a tea that definitely sounds sweeter than it tastes, it's sweet violet. The best way to describe it is it tastes similar to grass or spinach. Yeah, that's not super-appealing, I know but if you add some lemon and honey to it, you won't even notice. Anyway, this tea makes the list because sweet violet is an herb that contains some absolute bomb medicinal properties. Some people drink it in order to soothe abdominal discomfort or heartburn. Others drink it because they are looking for relief from menopause-related symptoms. And still, other folks appreciate this particular tea because it relieves minor joint discomfort. Sweet violet tea can even help to treat headaches and, it even makes cold and flu symptoms less annoying. So yeah, I bet you can why sipping a tea that has a bit of a grassy taste could still prove to be pretty worth your while, huh?

4. Marjoram

Tastes Like: sweet thyme

If you enjoy tea that has a bit of an orange and woodsy taste to it, marjoram has totally got you. Aside from drinking it in tea form, marjoram is an herb that's pretty popular when it comes to Mediterranean dishes; in fact, it's oftentimes compared to oregano. It's also a tea that's loaded with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help to reduce bodily inflammation, treat fungal infections, help to heal stomach ulcers, bring balance to your hormones and even help to regulate your period. Something else that's great about marjoram tea is it can increase blood circulation throughout your system too; and that's always a good thing.

5. Juniper Berry

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Tastes Like: sweet 'n sour wood

Another tea that has a bit of a woodsy taste is juniper berry; only this time, the "wood" has its own naturally sweet 'n sour taste.

Just like its name suggestions, juniper berry tea is made from juniper berries and since those berries are high in Vitamin C and plant compounds (like camphor and beta-pinene), drinking this tea can help to reduce cellular damage and strengthen your heart. Also, because juniper berries are full of antibacterial and antifungal properties, it's an ideal tea to add to your diet if you happen to have a yeast sensitivity (you tend to get yeast infections often).

Some people also hail this tea's ability to keep kidney stones at bay while naturally helping to clear up urinary tract infections (UTIs) too.

6. White

Tastes Like: sweet/light/delicate

White tea is rich in tannins, fluoride and catechins (plant-based molecules that are a kind of antioxidant). If you drink the tea, a couple of times a week, it will help to reduce your risk of heart disease, decrease the bacteria that can lead to oral decay, lower insulin resistance, fight aging signs, make your hair stronger, increase energy levels, improve liver health, reproductive health and even one's memory. Out of all of the teas on this list, this is perhaps that one that you should invest in first.

7. Yarrow

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Tastes Like: Earthy bitterness

If you decide to do any research on yarrow tea, you'll be hard-pressed to find an article that doesn't refer to it as a "medicinal tea". And medicine doesn't always taste the best (hence the "earthly bitterness" reference). Still, it's got to go on this list of must-haves because yarrow tea is a tea that will help to increase the production of connective tissue (so that any minor wounds that you might have are able to heal faster). Not only that but the flavonoids and plant-based alkaloids in this particular drink can reduce stress and anxiety, assist in relieving depression-related symptoms and increase brainpower as well. Some folks also like it because they say that it helps to make hay fever issues less of one, if seasonal allergies are something that you happen to struggle with.

8. Osmanthus Flower

Tastes like: Fruity/floral/peach

This tea right here has manganese, selenium and beta-carotene in it. The reason why you might wanna pick some up is because Osmanthus flower is able to fight off free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, promote both skin and eye health, detox your system, decrease the amount of phlegm that your body produces, prevent bad breath and soothe lungs that may be inflamed due to allergies. All sounds pretty darn good to me.

9. Kava

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Tastes Like: muddy/chalky water

I already know. You probably looked at this and was like, who wants to drink anything that tastes like dirt? Even still, I just had to add it because the health benefits are pretty amazing. As a plant that comes from the Pacific Islands, kava tea contains stress-fighting compounds called kavalactones that are able to help to treat insomnia, relieve anxiety-related symptoms, relax your muscles, reduce minor pain discomfort and put you in an overall better mood. In fact, the sedative effects are so potent that it's best to not mix the tea with alcohol because it could possibly result in liver damage (yep, it's just that strong!). And what can you do to make the taste more tolerable? Pouring some juice or puree into it should do the trick. Again, it's not really a tea that is a favorite because of its taste, so much as what it can do for your overall health and well-being.

10. Bug-Bitten Oolong Tea 

Tastes Like: floral/fruity/slightly "grassy"

If you just read the name of this tea and wondered if it was literal, it actually is. Bug-bitten tea is tea where an insect known as a leafhopper has been feeding on the leaves of the plant, to the point where the leaves' plant chemistry totally changes. As a result, the enzymatic effects of the leaves mean that they become sweeter and more palatable. As far as oolong tea goes, it's a fermented and semi-oxidized tea that is really high in Vitamin C. Some of the health benefits that come with it include that oolong is able to ramp up your metabolism, lower your cholesterol levels, improve the health and quality of your skin and hair, stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep your bones nice and strong. If you want to give this particular kind of tea a shot, I found a loose tea form of it on Etsy for a pretty good price. You can check it out here.

As you can see, there is a world of teas out here that can do real wonders on your health. So, consider treating yourself to a new one over the next couple of weeks. I'm telling you, it's a pretty good alternative to drinking wet air (if wet air ain't your thing).

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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