Fever is in the air. A flowery love poem for Valentine’s Day, or the kind in songs about passion? Not. It’s the mundane kind. The coughing, sneezing, aching variety.
I wanted to curl up and die. An age-old remedy came to my rescue.
Tea was said to be discovered by Emperor Shennong in China and used as a medicinal, elixir of life. It was also served as a welcome gesture to guests.
The week before I came down with the wretched bug, I was welcomed at a Twinings Earl Grey tea tasting. The brand goes back more than three centuries. The vision of its founder, Thomas Twining, was to replicate a tea he’d received from a Chinese Mandarin (Emperor Shennong??). When Prime Minister Charles Grey approved of the creation in 1831 Twinings Earl Grey herbed-infused teas became available. Twinings still sells tea from the original shop – Tom’s Coffee House in London — but now tea drinkers in more than 115 countries around the world enjoy 200 varieties of the tea, making Twinings the leader in the growing bergamot-flavored tea segment. (Bergamont oil, which is found in Earl Grey teas, improves the immune system, helps to cure fevers and is used as a cold remedy.) I tasted my favorite, Jasmine Earl Grey and the new verity, Lavender Earl Grey.
The citrus flavor of the Extra Bold Earl Grey was intense and vibrant. I couldn’t decide which I liked better. I brought home one of each.
When the flu hit, I made gallons of all three. Slightly sweet, the fragrant aromas soothed and relaxed my body and spirit. I brewed sizable pots and drank while inhaling the floral scents.
The fever ended and the doctor told me the congestion would clear eventually (friends have landed in a hospital for weeks with this bug!). Her drill was age old: bed rest, tea, Acetaminophen, more tea and call if it got worse. It didn’t. I’d live after all. I attribute it to Twinings Earl Grey teas. Once over the bug I’ll enjoy the tea as a drink of choice.