Anyone for a tea bag?
Tea is one of the most consumed hot beverages in the world.
Tea bags can revitalise tired and puffy eyes.
But there is more to tea than just drinking it to lift our spirits.
Tea enthusiast Kevin Dharmaratne says he is testimony to this because he is from Sri Lanka - the largest tea producer in the world.
Dharmaratne, now a restaurant manager at the InterContinental Sandton Towers, hosts what is called "Hi Tea" at the hotel, where guests get to taste the best teas in the region while he shares with them how they are made and what health or beauty benefits they have.
"I come from the land known for quality Ceylon teas. As a Sri Lankan, I am very passionate about tea. Tea is the most widely consumed drink in that country."
His wife is in the tea business so Dharmaratne learnt one or two things from her too.
"The intricate details I have about teas comes from my wife who is in the tea business and who has a good knowledge about teas and training. She imports premium quality Basilur teas," he said.
His love and passion for tea and its benefits dates back to his childhood. While his peers played about during the holidays, he would visit tea plantations and factories to learn about the beverage.
He explains that the beverage was first used as a medicine.
"It took about 3000 years to become an everyday drink. It used to be very expensive and kept in a locked chest to which the lady of the house held the key."
But today we have the added benefit of enjoying the drink and using the tea bag afterwards for various perks.
"It contains antioxidants that repair cell damage. If left untreated, cell damage can lead to wrinkles and other health implications."
Dharmaratne says you don't have to invest in expensive herbal teas to experience its beauty effects. Even cheap ones will do.
As summer slowly approaches we are exposed to the scorching sun that leaves the skin damaged. He says instead of buying really overpriced after-sun lotions, a tea bag can do the trick in healing sunburn.
"A few wet and cool tea bags applied to the affected skin will take out the sting. This also works well for other types of minor burns as well as reducing razor burn."
For severe sunburn, his advice is to put the tea bag in the bath water and soak the whole body.
Tea can also revitalise tired eyes.
Placing a soaked tea bag on eyes for 20 minutes can revive tired, achy, and puffy eyes.
"The tannins in the tea reduces puffiness and soothes tired eyes. This also works to reduce dark circles under the eye."
He says tea has an astringency component and therefore it can be also used as a facial toner.
"The astringency in tea can assist with the more oily areas on our face, so quickly wipe a tea bag over your trouble zones and then blot with a clean towel. This will help make your face less oily and is a quick substitute for a facial toner."
Smelly feet can also be dealt with by washing them with a cold or warm tea solution for 20 minutes.
"The astringency in tea closes up the sweat-emitting pores that create the smell in the first place, and the tannins kill stinky bacteria."
He claims it can also help heal bruises faster if a wet tea bag is placed on the bruise. "Tea bags should always be allowed to cool before they are used to avoid burns."