Green tea is one of nature’s most nutritious foods which you would typically enjoy the benefits of in the form of a drink. Quality loose leaf tea can be infused as many as three times and will still offer wonderful benefits to your health with each infusion. After the third infusion the leaves still retain some valuable ingredients that can be used for other purposes. Rather than discard the used leaves, why not put them to good use?
You can use a weak solution of tea as a mouth rinse after a meal to remove strong odors.
Using green tea as a gargle is very effective in killing potential germs and bacteria in flu and cold season.
Used green tea leaves can also be used as part of a beauty regime.
Re-infuse the used leaves, pour the weak brew into a small pump spray and allow to cool in the refrigerator. On a hot summer day you can use this as a spritzing spray and be thoroughly refreshed by green tea. This spray also offers protection against minor sunburn and infection from insect bites, minor cuts and abrasions.
For proven acne treatment, you can also rub used green tea leaves over your face and wash them off.
A strong brew made from used tea leaves makes a wonderful foot soak for people who suffer from smelly feet.
For the ultimate calming experience, place used green tea leaves in a cotton muslin bag and drop it into your bath while you soak.
Soothe your tired and puffy eyes with cooled, moist tea bags placed on your eyelids.
For the breastfeeding mother with sore cracked nipples a used moist teabag inside the nursing pad in the bra will sooth soreness and reduce inflammation.
You can also dry your used tea leaves and store them for many other wonderful uses. To dry the leaves thoroughly strain them after your third infusion. Then spread the leaves (flat) on a cheese cloth or paper towel to dry. When the leaves are partially dry you can toss them lightly to let air in around them or place another cloth or towel over them and turn them over, then leave them uncovered. Once dry, place them in a container for future use. If your home suffers from high humidity, be sure to sun dry your tea leaves outside your home.
Once dried, the sun dried leaves work very effectively in a damp corner to absorb excess moisture.
Dried tea leaves also work very well to absorb odors by placing them:
in a small bowl in the refrigerator
in a cotton bag in your pantry
sprinkled generously in the trash can
sprinkled lightly in your shoes
Additional uses for dried tea leaves include -
A light sprinkling of slightly moistened tea leaves on your carpet before vacuuming helps to deodorize and attract dust away from the carpet.
New wooden furniture often carries a very strong wood smell. If you do not find this smell appealing, rub the pieces a few times with dried tea leaves and this will get rid of the smell.
Soaking used tea leaves in water for a couple of days and using the tea water (minus the leaves) to water the plants serves as a fertilizer for the plants.
Used tea leaves also make a great addition to your compost bin. If you are bothered by pesky flies and mosquitoes while you are camping, burn some sun-dried tea leaves in your campsite area. The smokey smudge will keep the insects away. A great way to clean and deodorize your wooden cutting board is to rub some dried leaves on the rinsed board and then rinse it again. If you have odors on your hands as well, rub the tea leaves with your hands and they will clean both your hands and the cutting board of odor and bacteria.
If you are troubled with insomnia, high blood pressure or headaches, according to Chinese folk medicine, sleeping on tea leaves will help you. You can make yourself a small neck roll pillow and stuff it with sun dried tea leaves. It will take a lot of leaves but it will be worth the effort. The only problem is that tea leaves in a pillow will get damp easily, so you have to sun it frequently.
For those of you who are feeding silk worms, they love leftover tea leaves.
Matcha green tea is made from shade-grown tea leaves and is stone ground to a fine, bright green, talc-like powder that is very rich in healthy catechins. The Japanese tea ceremony is a cultural activity that centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha tea. Matcha, the green tea leaf in an altered form, also has many different uses besides being consumed as a tea. Mixing matcha green tea powder with olive oil (for dry skin) or mayonnaise (for normal skin) makes a very healthy skin cream, which if used regularly in the evening, will reward you with younger looking skin. The catechins in green tea help to prevent premature aging of the skin caused by overexposure to UV radiation.
In foods, matcha can be used to make green tea ice cream, milk or yogurt and is used to flavor and dye foods such as noodles. The only word of caution is that the casein in cow’s milk is thought to inactivate the healthy catechins in green tea. For this reason, it is best to use non dairy milk such as soy, almond, oat or rice milk, and soy based yogurt and ice cream.