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Kenneth Roberts

Kenneth Roberts

A customer once asked us if tea causes kidney stones. That customer had chronic kidney stones and their doctor had told them that they should stop drinking tea. So I did some in depth research and was very surprised by what I found.

It's important to start off by talking about what causes kidney stones. 80% of kidney stones are caused by calcium oxalate, which is found in many plants and foods such as spinach, rhubarb, parsley, leeks, celery, green beans, chocolate, and, yes, even tea. But the oxalate levels in loose-leaf tea are not high enough to be a major contributing factor in kidney stones, and are much lower per gram than in many of the leafy vegetables I mentioned earlier. Plus, since with most teas you are drinking an infusion instead of consuming the whole leaf, your body absorbs less oxalate than when you eat a serving of leafy veggies.

There are differing levels of oxalates even in different types of teas. White teas, greens, and oolongs all have lower levels than black teas. In fact green teas have been shown to effect the crystallization of calcium oxalates by causing them to form flat crystals that are easier for the body to break down. A Japanese study done in 2005 even found that drinking green tea could help prevent kidney stones due to its high levels of catechins, which have antioxidant effects.

Why the different result? Well, it could be due to the fact that the Japanese researchers would have been more likely to include loose-leaf tea in their testing rather than just tea from teabags. As we've mentioned before, not only is the tea in teabags more likely to be old and adulterated with chemical flavorings and preservatives, but most commercial teabags themselves are plastic and contain phthalates! I will go into more detail on phthalates in a later blog, but for now it's important to know why using teabags can throw off the results of studies about tea.

Every study I found stating that tea formed kidney stones was from 2004 or earlier and was conducted with bagged teas not loose leaf, and they were not looking at all the chemical factors. They assumed that it was oxalates when later studies have shown that phthalates are more likely to be a major contributing factor. The one consistent recommendation has always been that drinking lots of fluids helps prevent kidney stones.

What is the takeaway here? As with everything, science is always an ongoing process and what was thought to be true decades ago may not actually be the case, so it's always important to make sure your research is up to date.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:48

Raise a Glass to Lemongrass!

I recently came across several new reports and studies on lemongrass. It has so many uses and benefits that are hard to ignore. I was amazed by some of the more recent research, though. I will have to break this into a couple of blogs, but here is the first installment.

I have always loved using lemongrass in my herbal blends. You can find lemongrass in our Peaceful Pathways, Slimming Goddess, Thai Lemon Ginger Rooibos, and several of our WellTeaing Herbals. Its anti-inflammatory properties help clear the mucous membranes of the sinuses, lungs and digestive tract. It also helps break down the trans fats and saturated fats that are so high in the American diet. As it turns out, however, lemongrass has even more positive effects than I was even aware of.

With my recent research, I discovered lemongrass also affects cholesterol. Lemongrass has anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that regular consumption of lemongrass provides remarkable results in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing the body's LDL cholesterol. This helps prevent the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promotes the unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries and prevents various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis. 

Another surprise was the information I found for use with diabetes, especially type II. In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, studies have shown that the citral in lemongrass helps maintain optimum levels of insulin and improves the tolerance of glucose in the body.

There is still much research for me to do and more to report to you, so make sure you stay tuned for even more great benefits to be enjoyed from Lemongrass! 

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