Here in the UK, we’re known to love a good cup of tea, and there’s nothing better than sitting down and putting your feet up with a nice hot brew after a busy day of business meetings, travelling, or whatever else life happens to throw at you. But while we may have become rather attached to our luxury English Breakfast or Earl Grey blends, there are a plethora of other teas lining the shelves of your favourite health food store that you might not ever have considered bringing home with you – and if you have pondered branching out from your usual hot beverage of choice, you might quite simply have found yourself spoilt for choice.
These days, the benefits of your brew go far beyond the warmth and comfort of a hot cup of tea, and from supporting your overall health to addressing specific issues such as inflammation, anxiety and a whole lot more, today, it seems that there is a tea for everyone.
Gladstone St. Auburn Etienne, founder of innovative new brand ZABICOLife herbal teas, believes that their power has, over the years, been underestimated. While in Chinese medicine, herbs and spices have been used for centuries to treat a range of different ailments, in the western world, we are more likely to head to the pharmacy. But with the global Covid-19 pandemic having shone a spotlight on the importance of maintaining good health, natural remedies that have the power to boost both physical and emotional wellbeing are enjoying renewed attention. People, it seems, are becoming more conscious of what they put into their bodies, and rightly so – from the quality of the foods they choose to eat to the water they drink – and are increasingly looking to natural ingredients to replace over-the-counter painkillers and medications.
Gladstone was inspired to start ZABICOLife by his life-long love for herbs, herbalism and healthy living. A master herbalist himself and hailing from the Caribbean island of Dominica, he hand-selects a variety of organic leaves, flowers, fruits, barks and the roots of various herbs for his tisanes, with the aim of helping as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of these all-natural, and often underrated ingredients.
“I grew up on an organic farm, and my mum is a traditional herbalist,” he explains. “So it has always been in my family. I learned about it from her at a young age, and my passion for it began early on.”
As a child, Gladstone lived amongst an abundance of herbs, fruits and vegetables and rarely visited the doctor when he was sick. Instead, his mother would administer various homemade potions and remedies comprising herbs and natural ingredients from the land. Experiencing their powerful benefits first-hand in such a way only to realise that they remained surprisingly underused in much of the world would inspire him to bring them to the forefront later in life, having grown up with herbs being very much a part of his life.
According to BBCCaribbean.com, Dominica is home to the largest number of centenarians per capita of any nation – owing largely, it is thought, to diet. The typical Dominican diet doesn’t just consist of seafood, fruits and vegetables, but plenty of herbs, too – and the combination certainly seems to be having the desired effect.
Now based in the USA, where he migrated to further his education, Gladstone has set aside his degree in finance to return to his roots, setting up ZABICOLife nearly six years ago. What started out as a 28-day nutritional program for around only ten clients quickly blossomed into something far bigger and better than he could have imagined.
The results were impressive – with one particular woman, who had been suffering from around 30-35 debilitating migraines per day, reporting a reduction to just three or four. It was seeing this undeniable evidence of the power herbal medicines had to change lives for the better that made Gladstone realise he had to bring it to a larger audience, and help as many people as he could.
“I believe that herbal tea blends are just as important as physical exercise for the body,” he says. “They are something so easy to incorporate into our lifestyles, and yet many people still are not reaping the benefits.”
In fact, Gladstone’s blends are not teas, but tisanes – and are an excellent choice for anyone looking to reduce their caffeine intake, too.
“All teas come from the camellia sinensis plant, which mine do not. All other beverages most people consider teas are more properly called tisanes – an infusion of herbs, flowers, barks, leaves, roots, spices, and fruit. While caffeine is a natural characteristic of the camellia sinensis plant, tisanes are typically caffeine-free,” he explains.
“To create my tisanes, I use only hand-selected organic leaves, flowers, fruits, barks, and the roots of various herbs.”
So, for those new to the world of herbal teas – or perhaps those looking to ramp up their existing efforts to include it in their daily routine, where should they start?
“The CBD Body Relax is one of my favourites,” says Gladstone. “It’s an incredible blend which helps to ease feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve sleep – so for anyone who has been finding the pressures of pandemic has been tough on them, it’s the perfect choice.”
According to the Office of National Statistics, upwards of 37 per cent of people in the UK reported increased stress levels at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the USA, 18 per cent are thought to suffer with an anxiety disorder – so if ever there was a good time to try a natural solution, then this is it.
This tea comprises broad spectrum CBD, which has been extracted from the hemp plant along with all other compounds and cannabinoids – except for the psychoactive compound of THC. Then, there are the antioxidant rich hawthorn leaves and flowers, which have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, and chamomile, which is a relaxing ingredient which helps to promote better sleep. Add to that the benefits of catnip, lemon balm, skull cap and spearmint, and you have a pretty powerful tisane.
Gladstone recommends not just adding a cup into your daily routine, but creating a moment of calm in which to enjoy it in order to truly reap the benefits.
“While your cup of CBD Body Relax is steeping, I recommend taking some time out to practice breathing exercises, inhaling through the nose to a count of four and exhaling completely through the month for a count of six.”
The luxurious Black Label blend is another stand-out choice from ZABICOLife, featuring a unique blend of rare and exotic wild herbs sourced from pristine mountain rainforests. Comprising hawthorn leaves and flowers, rooibos, rosehip, hibiscus flower, rose leaves and petals, raisins, dried blueberries and a whole lot more, it’s an excellent all-rounder that will have you feeling your best each and every morning.
2021, it seems, is the year to put our health first – not just for now, but for the future, too. And if something as simple as adding an expertly blended cup of tea to our daily routine can help us to face all that life throws at us, then here at LLM, we’re in.