Miracle in a tea bag

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tea is a wonderful beverage, delicious served hot or cold.

The world's second most popular drink (right after water), tea relaxes, soothes and refreshes.

If you want to sit back and enjoy a cup of hot tea, give Janis Odom of Ellafair Farms a call. Visit her 19th century farmhouse and this gracious hostess will likely bring out her delicately flowered tea cups, cubes of sugar, lemon slices and

a pitcher of cream for you to enjoy, along with a fresh pot of tea.

&#8220A pretty china cup always makes the tea taste better,” Odom says with a smile.

Olga Morton of the Ridge, a native of Yorkshire, England, certainly enjoys her &#8220cuppa” and sometimes treats friends to a full-fledged English tea at her Dickens Field Road home.

Morton prefers loose tea, with boiling hot water poured fresh from the teakettle, into the teapot.

&#8220I like a good, strong tea with some body to it,” Morton says.

Even if we don't care for piping hot tea, most of us here in the deep South can't imagine a summer without a pitcher of tea regularly chilling in the fridge, ready to quench our thirst.

The fact is – tea is good for a lot more than drinking. It's also useful for bug bites, as an air freshener, astringent, a cure for morning sickness and a whole lot more.

Welcome to the wonderful world of tea and its many, many uses.

It's not just for meal or teatime anymore!

&#8220The sweet smell of success”

Try taping a fresh tea bag to the vent of the dashboard of your car so you will smell the sweet aroma when the A/C or heat is turned on.

Use Earl Grey tea bags (perfumed with the lovely smell of bergamot) as sachets in drawers or linen closets.

Mix together leftover tea, orange peels and cloves and boil on the kitchen stove.

The fragrance makes the house smell great.

Tea bags can also be used as bath sachets to make your soak a sweet smelling one.

Some folks use discarded tea bags in the bottom of their kitty litter boxes--they say it makes a wonderful difference!

Put your used teabags in a small bowl in your refrigerator to absorb pungent odors like onions and garlic and keep them from contaminating other food.

&#8220A natural beauty bonus”

Bring out the natural highlights in your hair with a tea rinse.

Brunettes, choose rosemary or orange pekoe tea; blondes, go with chamomile; redheads, choose red zinger or raspberry and black-haired folks, go with black or raspberry tea.

Brew some strong tea; let it cool.

Pour one cup over just-washed and conditioned hair and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Voila, instant highlights!

Sunburned skin?

Wiping used teabags over the painful burn helps relieve the pain and heal the burn more quickly (the tannic acid in the tea helps neutralize the burn).

Bloodshot eyes?

Use regular black tea bags to take the redness out (that wonderful tannic acid causes vasoconstriction).

Just-brewed teabags--still hot--also make compresses perfect for combating conjunctivitis (‘pink eye'.)

If you need a facial astringent, mint tea works like a toner on skin and its nice, fresh scent provides a quick-me-up.

Got stinky feet?

Wash them for 20 minutes or more in a bowl of inexpensive hot black tea once a day for three days, then once a week thereafter.

The tannin shuts down sweat glands and kills off odor-causing bacteria--leaving your tootsies smelling fresh as a daisy…

If you are a freckled ‘paleface' and want a different look, try taking an old cloth and soak it in strong brewed tea, then leave the cloth over the face for several minutes each day.

This trick reduces the appearance of the freckles and lightly &#8220tans” the face without the risk of sunburn or skin cancer.

You can even use tea bags to repair split fingernails.

Take the tea out of your bag and clip the bag into whatever shape you need.

Apply to nail with clean nail polish.

Want to open your facial pores, banish blotches and sweat out impurities? Mix chamomile and peppermint tea (the equivalent of three tea bags) into four cups of boiling water and pour into basin.

Pull hair back from a freshly cleaned face and drape a towel over your head; lean over basin. Wait five minutes, and then rinse face with cool water.

&#8220The best medicine”

A wet tea bag on an insect bite or sting provides instant relief.

Tea and honey soothes and helps get rid of a sore throat.

Chamomile tea with sugar as a thickener is recommended by some pediatricians as a natural nasal decongestant.

Make the tea, stir in the sugar and place a few dropperfuls into the nostrils to ease the discomfort.

Chamomile tea is also a great natural sleep aid.

Mixed with peppermint and catnip, it serves as a great stomach ‘calmer.'

Some believe sweetened chamomile tea is also an excellent way to soothe a colicky baby's tummy.

Got a real shiner?

Place a warm used tea bag on the affected area.

It takes away the discomfort and also seems to draw out the discoloration and heal the injury quicker than it would on its own.

Tea can also be used to soothe your baby after getting shots.

Place a wet tea bag on the spot, hold in place with an Ace bandage and baby will be happier with no swelling or knots.

Chamomile tea also helps women with those &#8220once-a-month blues”. Some expectant moms swear by peppermint tea to combat morning sickness.

Having a tooth extracted?

Use a moist tea bag to help the blood coagulate after the extraction.