Ontario has just witnessed its first flurry and I was out in the morning , chilly winds blowing through my hair with a cup of Chai tea in my hand and the words ,
` There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.’ - by Lin Yutang made so much sense .
It is the second most consumed drink , second only to the water. Health benefits of tea have been highlighted in manuscripts , for years it was believed that it caused a placebo effect-but as the modern day science unraveled tea , it has provided a basis for this belief. Tea has been cultivated for years around the world not merely for its taste but also for medicinal properties and every research published in scientific literature provides a stronger evidence for these claims. Tea is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds ( catechins and theaflavins) that provide most if not all the health benefits . They have been shown to be beneficial in cardiovascular diseases particularly atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. , debilitating human diseases, metabolic disorders , anti aging, anti diabetic , the list extends.
Tea indeed is a drink that has been a part of civilization ever since the beginning. From sending the first man on moon (circa , 1960 , NASA) , to the of Decision building Great Wall of China (220-260 bc),to the weblog getting its modern day name blog ( in the 1900's ),it all started over a cup of tea. Tea as we all know is an aromatic beverage made by pouring boiling water over fresh or cured leaves of Camellia sinensis , an evergreen shrub native to the land of South Asia .
As the world lunged into Urbanization and advancement ,so did the Tea industry , with constant research and breakthroughs we saw the rise of different teas ( wine infused tea, flavoured tea, cold brew tea, oolong tea) different brewing techniques , however Tea Bags remain the pinnacle of this shift . Tea bags have been on the top of the list and much of it has to do with the ease it offers to Tea lovers.
Pop open the box, take out a tea bag, drop it in the boiling water and you are ready to taste that soul awakening beverage. Tea bags continue to be a popular choice as they allow proper extraction of colour , aroma and can also help personalize tea as they can be removed as soon as you get the desired characteristics. Another merit it serves over the traditional brewing using leaves is that; it is available in so many flavours and variants. Tea bags also serve as a more sophisticated method of brewing . Starting from the use of tea eggs to reaching a point of using Tea bags, the tea industry has seen a lot of innovation, Tea bags no different story, their shapes changing from rectangular to pyramidal to give it a more aesthetic look but hardly it is studied beyond this point and the threats it can serve to human life .
If you ever got the opportunity to look at a tea bag upclose, you would have noticed that it’s a small sachet with leaves enclosed inside it and a thread attached to it. This thread is often adhered using a stapler pin. A tiny metallic pin, tiny enough that it goes unnoticed most of the time . But what if it gets into your tea. It can do more harm than the assistance provided by the tea. Tea bags were invented to save the brewing time and people often put them in cups and microwave it to make quick tea, but this habit needs to discontinue as stapler pins attached to tea bags are made up of iron and it should strictly not be heated.
To add to this, what if it is ingested. There have been incidents reported throughout history where people ingested pins and later had to be rushed to hospitals. If drunk along with tea stapler pins may tear up the stomach lining , can lead to gum bleeding ,can damage the food pipe or in a much more serious case can rupture the stomach lining and immediate medical assistance would be required.
Another health concern related to stapler pins would be the galvanized iron. The iron used for making stapler pins is galvanized meaning it is made up of zinc and iron , this prevents the iron from rust . This galvanized iron is toxic in nature , if heated the pin may release the galvanized material in the tea and this can negatively affect the intestinal health.
Many countries across the globe have banned the use of stapler pins to make tea bags. Very few companies are coming upfront with the new knotted tea bag designs but in reality most of the tea bags available commercially are still made using stapler pins.
Though if ingested, quantity would be less but over time this can lead to serious damage, thus follow up a more preventive approach. My personal advice would be to steer away from the bags with stapler pins attached to them , read the label and choose a knotted bag and spread the word because the industry would only change if the consumer demands it.