We all love a good cup of tea, but did you know that Britain’s favourite drink has a host of valuable uses that can help everything from your head to your feet.
Here, we take you through some of the more unusual healing powers of tea . . .
MAKE HAIR SHINE
Green tea can give your hair a gloriously glossy shine.
While it comes from the same plant as black (camellia sinensis), it is harvested differently, giving it different properties.
It is these electrons that help to create shinier hair follicles. Steep three green tea teabags in a small jug of boiling water and allow to cool. Remove the bags and wash the green tea water into your hair. Leave for ten minutes, then wash and condition your hair as usual to lock in the shine.
. . . OR DARKEN IT
If you have a big night out planned but no time to pop to the hair salon to cover your roots, never fear. Use black tea instead. It contains a strong natural tanning agent that can be used to dye hair darker. It even works on greys.
Mix three teacups of loose black tea leaves into a pan containing a pint of boiling water and leave until the water turns a deep brown. Strain off the tea leaves and leave the liquid to cool.
Wash into your hair after shampooing, leave for 15 minutes, then rinse out.
Repeat if you want it darker.
BEAT PUFFY EYES
If you have more bags than Victoria Beckham after a shopping spree, then two used teabags could be your saviour.
Bags under the eyes are caused by fluid retention due to various factors including stress, alcohol, allergies and hormone changes. But the caffeine in tea constricts the blood vessels under the skin, making them shrink, with the result that eyes lose their puffiness.
Take two warm used teabags and place them on your closed eyes. Leave them there for about ten minutes, after which time you should have fresh-looking peepers.
Does your carpet need freshening? Then buy some loose tea — any kind will do — and sprinkle a thin layer over it. Then spray a small amount of water from a spritz bottle over the tea and lightly brush into the carpet. Wait 15 minutes and vacuum to remove all the dirt and smells from your carpet.
Sprinkling loose tea over your carpet and spraying it with a little water will act like a lint roller and latch onto any dust a dirt in the carpet fibres
This works because, when the tiny flecks of tea are wet, they act like a lint roller and any dust and dirt sticks to them.
The natural aroma from the tea leaves acts as a deodoriser.
When you’ve stayed too long in the sun without protection, take some ordinary used, cool wet teabags and place them on the affected area for ten minutes. You can also soak a flannel in brewed, cooled tea and place it on larger areas of skin.
Putting cool, wet teabags on areas affected by sunburn will reduce skin temperature and soothe the area. Camomile tea is even better because it repairs damaged cells and may prevent blistering
It works because the catechins in tea leaves reduce skin temperature, quickly soothing any burning sensation.
Even better is camomile tea because this also contains phytonutrients called flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties to repair damaged cells — ideal to prevent the skin blistering after sunburn, allowing it to heal quickly and naturally.
HEAL SHAVING RASH
If your underarms are sore after shaving, press a cold, damp teabag on the area after you have removed the hair and hold it there for five minutes.
Do you have sensitive skin that’s often sore after shaving? Press a cold, damp teabag on the area will soothe any burning sensation and prevent shaving rash
The catechins in the tea soothe any burning sensation in skin and prevent shaving rash, which is usually caused by using a blunt razor. Soak a cloth in tea to cover larger shaved areas such as your legs.
MAKE MEAT TENDER
The tannins in tea are polyphenols — compounds found in many herbs and plants. They break down the molecules in meat, making it tender and easy to cut.
For this, place four teaspoons of black tea leaves in warm water and allow to steep for five minutes. Strain the tea leaves and throw them away.
The tannins in tea are polyphenols which break down the molecules in meat, making it tender and easy to cut
Add one teaspoon of brown sugar to the tea water (this helps break down tannin elements in the tea, so you won’t taste it on the meat).
Place the meat in a baking tray and pour the liquid over it. Cook as you would a normal joint for half an hour, then drain the tea water and continue cooking. This will tenderise up to 3 lb of meat.
GET MIRRORS GLEAMING
Tea can also be used to get your mirrors squeeky clean. Soak a cloth in the liquid and wipe over the chosen mirror to get a sparkling result
Don’t bother buying specialist glass cleaner. Just steep a couple of teabags in a small jug of water for a few minutes, then soak a cloth in the liquid and wipe it over mirrors.
The tea’s tannic acid cuts through dirt and grease, leaving them sparkling clean.
FEED IT TO ROSES
Roses love the tannic acids in tea, so split open your used teabags and sprinkle the leaves around your rose bushes. The nutrients soak into the soil.
Sprinkling the contents of a tea bag around your rose bushes means that the nutrients will soak into the soil, which is perfect because roses love the tannic acids that are found in tea
After you’ve had your holiday jabs, place a cold used teabag on the site and the catechins in the leaves will instantly soothe your skin.
What’s more, tea has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, so it will help to prevent the area getting infected.
A great natural way to calm babies after inoculations.
FRESHEN UP FEET
If you find your feet whiff a bit after a workout or a long day at work, forget expensive foot sprays and place them in a big bowl of warm tea instead.
The offensive aroma is caused when your feet sweat and the moisture can’t evaporate because you’re wearing socks and shoes. The bacteria naturally present on skin feed on this trapped sweat and grow, producing a niff.
The tannic acid in black tea not only helps kill these bacteria but closes the pores on your feet, which reduces the amount of sweat produced.
Pour a kettle of hot water into a bowl that’s big enough for your feet.
Steep three teabags in it for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid is cool enough to soak your feet.
Do this once a week and those smelly tootsies should be history.
CLEAR UP ACNE
For those who suffer from spots, green tea might be the answer.
It contains a substance called benzoyl peroxide (also found in tea tree oil) that stops skin producing the sebum that clogs pores, leading to spots.
For those who suffer from skin blemishes, use green tea bags on the affected area or wash you face in it to help clear up mild cases of acne (stock image)
Either use cool, used green teabags and place on the affected area, or make a cup of green tea as if you were to drink it, then wash your face with it when cool.
Repeated every day, this can help to clear up mild cases of acne.