CASA GRANDE — If you’re looking for yet another green to add to your St. Patrick’s Day theme, here’s a suggestion: Green tea. Green tea is remarkably versatile; while it’s yummy when enjoyed as a beverage, the uses for green tea go far beyond drinking.
Rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and bioactive compounds, green tea is believed to be beneficial for things such as fat burning, anti-aging and heart health. It can also be useful in lowering cholesterol and is beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes.
While most benefits come from consuming the beverage, green tea bags can also be used to treat under-eye puffiness, fight wrinkles and relieve dandruff, among other things.
Below are a few uses for green tea that go beyond drinking.
Brew several tea bags in about two cups of water and allow to cool completely. Pour over clean, dry hair and allow the rinse to sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse completely. Done once a week, a green tea rinse acts like a conditioner, penetrating the hair, fighting dandruff and soothing the scalp. It also rejuvenates the hair, adding shine and removing dullness. And no, it won’t turn your hair green.
Relieve eye puffiness
With its antioxidants and tannins, green tea is a popular natural remedy for reducing under-eye puffiness and dark circles. And it’s relaxing. Brew two green tea bags and allow to cool completely. Place over eyes, relax for about 15 to 20 minutes. Because of the astringent qualities in the tannins, the tea will constrict blood vessels, shrinking puffiness and reducing swelling. And it’s relaxing.
Use cooled, brewed tea bags as a compress for a cut to stop bleeding.
Use as part of a facial
Open up a tea bag and combine green tea with sugar, oatmeal and water to create a facial scrub that can relieve dry and irritated skin.
Brew about five green tea bags and allow to cool to room temperature and add brewed tea to a foot bath. The anti-bacterial characteristics of the tea will work to remove odors from the feet.
Treat a sunburn
While green tea won’t prevent a sunburn — it does nothing to block the damaging rays of the sun — it can help soothe sunburned skin. Brew a few tea bags and allow to cool. Dip a clean washcloth into the tea and use as a compress over sunburned skin.
And of you still have lots of green tea left, make a green tea cake.
Green tea cake with almond
This cake has only a hint of green tea, mostly in the drizzle of frosting on top. For a richer tea flavor, you could substitute the almond milk for green tea, but I’ve found that it makes a drier cake.
While any type of marmalade or jam can be used in this recipe, I prefer using blueberry, partly because I like blueberries and I like the soft purple color that results. But orange marmalade or strawberry jam would work just as nicely.
3 green tea bags steeped in one cup of water
1 ⅔ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup sugar
½ cup almond milk (substitute green tea for more tea-like flavor)
½ cup sliced almonds plus a handful extra for sprinkling on top
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons jam or marmalade
2 tablespoons tea
½ cups powdered sugar
Steep tea and let sit until desired strength. Allow to cool.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients including flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice.
In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients, including eggs, butter, jam, milk and tea.
Add ingredients from first bowl into second and stir until well incorporated. Add almonds, saving a few to sprinkle on top after baking.
Spray baking pan. I use a bundt pan but any size or shape could be used. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until done.
Allow to cool. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. For glaze, mix powdered sugar and tea and drizzle over cake.
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