Tea, Earl Grey, Hot..and Healthy!

That Captain on Star Trek famously enjoyed his “hot,” but however you take your Earl Grey tea, know that it comes with some tremendous benefits for your health.

Earl Grey tea has a storied past, but unfortunately most of the lore associated with the brew is just that: stories. What we do know for certain is that the tea bears the moniker of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s, and that it was meant to be a less expensive knock-off of pricier Chinese brews popular in the 19th century. It's not likely the Earl ever had a cup of the tea that bears his name, as no record of an Earl Grey tea exists until well after his death.

The big selling point – or turn-off, depending upon whether Earl Grey is your cup of tea or not – is the bergamot. It's an oily substance that is extracted from the rind of the fruit of a dwarf variety of the Seville orange tree. It is most famous as the Earl Grey taste maker, but the oil is also used topically to treat psoriasis and certain fungus infections.

Of course, bergamot smells great, and unlike anything else you will eat or drink! Aromatherapists use it as a ward against depression and anxiety, and believe that Earl Grey tea affords the same benefits. Bergamot is a natural disinfectant, and Earl Grey is sipped by people with throat infections.

Earl Grey tea also contains fluoride, that same substance we've added to tap water to help prevent tooth decay. So if you're living off the grid and drinking only well water, brew up some Earl Grey tea to take better care of your teeth.

Bergamot helps in controlling cholesterol with the same efficacy as statins. The compounds are called hydroxy methyl glutaryl flavonones, and they can kill proteins that cause heart disease. A study of over two hundred patients with high levels of blood fats found that LDL (“bad cholesterol”) was reduced by 39 percent after a month of taking Earl Grey extract. It also reduced blood sugars by 22 percent and raised “good” cholesterol by 41 percent.

What's more, a study by the University of Cantanzaro in Italy in 2012 indicates that Bergamot could help in losing weight and protecting against diabetes. The study was published in Preventive Medicine