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THT BLOG: Can Tea be to your Body what Soap is for Hands? - by Gail Gastelu, Publisher, The Tea House Times

image loading... by Gail Gastelu, Owner/Publisher, The Tea House Times
posted Tuesday Apr 07, 2020 12:00 PM

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Gail Gastelu

Owner/Publisher, The Tea House Times

About Gail Gastelu

GAIL GASTELU is owner/publisher of The Tea House Times, producer of continuing education and online tea etiquette certification. She is also producer and presenter of Tea Course Fast Track and produces numerous other products and services to connect businesses and consumers to everything tea. Gail lives in NJ with her husband and two children. Her motto is "Just Do It!"

Can it truly be that black tea is helpful right now during this pandemic? While doing some reading and research yesterday, I think I found a correlation…. But I still need to bring this to my technical and institutional friends to confirm. To see what I mean, please read through, yes it is long! But, I’m sure you have the time!!

Listen, I am no scientist, but… I do read a lot (i.e. 200+ books about tea sent to me for reading/review over the past 17 years publishing The Tea House Times).  Not to mention scientific papers/studies shared with me by scientists the world over. And meetings with tea dignitaries around the world. In fact, in 2017 I had the pleasure of meeting heads of the Tea Research Institute in Sri Lanka who recently published their comments on the health benefits of black tea (click here). The Sri Lanka Tea Board, in turn, has shared this news along with their own announcement of successfully launching the first ever e-auction for Ceylon tea after 150+ years of in-person auctions! (Read announcement here.)

Something you might not know about me… In addition to owning/publishing The Tea House Times and other tea industry services, I have recently taken on a side-gig, consulting job, with a company which makes vitamin supplements and personal care.  I consult and direct them on including tea as a healthy beverage or added ingredient. 

While researching the benefits of soap, yes soap, I read all of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control – guidelines on proper hygiene.  I also spent the day researching bacteria vs. virus as it pertains to cleanliness and proper handwashing.

Back up a moment, I recently read a report that was floating around about the benefit of theaflavins, a well-known component of tea. I’m sure everyone in the tea industry has seen it (here). But, being the responsible business owners that we are in the industry, we have all been quite careful about sharing such knowledge too deeply and careful not to make any health claims.  The link takes you to a piece entitled, “The potential chemical structure of anti‐SARS‐CoV‐2 RNA‐dependent RNA polymerase” – And in it, the take away is … studies suggest that theaflavin, a polyphenolic compound in black tea and theaflavin gallate derivatives have shown broad‐spectrum antiviral activity against several viruses.

Sure… tea is healthy for you, but is it truly helping us now during this very difficult time??  Is it? Tea is definitely part of a healthy diet. And a healthy, nutrient rich diet, can help your body to be strong in times of stress and anything that attacks our health or immunity. 

During my research today, I landed upon an article entitled, “What’s better to fight coronavirus: antibacterial or plain soap?”. And I must quote the following statement from this article….

“The reason soap is so effective against viruses is that it tears them apart. Coronavirus, like many other viruses, is held together by a fatty shell, a lipid membrane.  Soap, by its molecular nature, strips that protective fat layer away from the virus…”

By definition, a lipid is any group of organic compounds that are greasy to the touch, insoluble in water, and soluble in alcohol and ether: lipids comprise the fats and other esters with analogous properties and constitute, with proteins and carbohydrates, the chief structural components of living cells.

Think about it a moment. Most of us do not know why we are told to wash our hands as the most important part of keeping viruses at bay or to use an alcohol based sanitizer if soap is not available.  Think of it this way. When you wash a greasy pot or dish, it is the dish soap that blasts the fatty grease to make it clean!! If soap can blast the membrane of a virus, that's very interesting to know!! This is the same concept applied when using good old soap for the correct amount of time and specifications in proper hygiene. This likely applies to the rest of our bodies too. Face, hands, body. Wash it well!

NOW – the correlation for tea, have you noticed the pattern yet?

By definition, theaflavin and its derivatives, known collectively as theaflavins, are antioxidant polyphenols that are formed in tea leaves during the enzymatic oxidation of black tea. And, polyphenols are plant compounds that, in theory, may protect against some common health problems as they can act as antioxidants and protect cells and body chemicals against damage caused by free radicals (a toxin, for example) which can cause tissue damage in the body.

Did you know that many people use tea as a household cleaner? The astringency of tea cuts through grease and dust. Thinking again….cuts grease. Could be the tannins too.

Now….moving on…. Of course I researched more about lipids in relation to tea. What I found is that there needs to be more studies to evaluate the possible lipid-lowering effects of tea consumption, however, one study (Synthesis of Theaflavins and Their Functions) showed black tea to restrain elevation of lipids in the plasma. Another study suggests consumption of black tea results in significant prevention of cardiovascular diseases by decreasing plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Even so, there is limited research on the biological significance of the ingestion of theaflavins.

Again, I just wonder…..lipid lowering in plasma!!?? Can it be likened to busting the lipid membrane of a virus?? Can tea be the soap our bodies need to bust this? You decide. Hopefully the scientific community will chime in.

For now, let’s do as the Sri Lanka Tea Board suggests. Drink black tea!! Yes, Ceylon tea, aka tea from Sri Lanka, is well known all over the world.  Just look for the Lion Logo to ensure authenticity. Visit for more info. 

If you are a tea industry buyer, food and beverage professional, or other qualified buyer, visit my very own virtual and perpetual 24/7 online tea trade show waiting to direct you to the best wholesale sources of tea including exporter members of the  Sri Lanka Tea Board. It may have been ahead of its time when I introduced it nearly two years ago, but it is super useful now!!! Go to to register for buyer access. Pre-approval is necessary.

Consumers looking for tea should read The Tea House Time latest publication (we opened our last issue for free viewing) to find tea suppliers easily found online for retail sales/home delivery. Click here for the MarApr2020 issue of The Tea House Times.

Three cups of black tea a day, just might… might… keep the virus at bay.  You decide. But remember, all things in moderation. Even too much tea can put your body off balance.

#DrinkTea and use the Drink Tea Campaign. See

Remember, all things in moderation!

Whew!! If you made it to the end of my blog post, I commend you!  This is what working from home brings. White space, great thinking, plenty of time to read and research. No wasted time spent commuting in the car.  Call me crazy or brilliant, who knows.  Thanks for your time!!

Enjoy a lovely cup of tea. I will do the same.  Be well, stay safe. 

For the Love of Tea. . .Always!

~ Gail Gastelu, The Tea House Times

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GAIL GASTELU is Publisher of The Tea House Times, Producer of continuing education and online tea etiquette certification. She also produces and presents Tea Course Fast Track in person. Gail launched the very fist virtual trade show for the tea industry in 2018. See Gail provides numerous other products and services to connect businesses and consumers to everything tea. Her motto is "Just Do It!"


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