Teas are classified as the basic commercial tea, or black tea, and the herbal teas. Tea is essentially a drink, usually hot, made from soaking various plants in boiling water. Teas, like coffee, really should be considered more as drugs or medicinals than just as liquid beverages. The commercial teas contain theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant like caffeine, and tannin, or tannic acid, which can be an irritant to the intestinal mucous linings and kidneys. Other than fairly high amounts of fluoride, common tea provides little nutrition. It is used commonly in our culture, the Orient, and the British nations as a social beverage. "Tea time" is an afternoon relaxation period, often concluding in caffeine restimulation.
Herbal teas are better overall than the caffeine-tannic acid teas and are becoming more popular. The berries, barks, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of all kinds of plants have specific therapeutic actions when consumed in sufficient dosages. The knowledge of these medicinal properties has been passed down through the ages and can be found in a variety of texts. The science of the use of herbs is termed "herbology."
Coffee is probably the most commonly used and abused drug (caffeine) in our society?and in many other cultures, for that matter. The caffeine-containing coffee bean is roasted and ground and then "brewed" by passing boiling water through the coffee grounds.
Caffeine has a number of metabolic effects as a central nervous system stimulant. It increases the heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, gastrointestinal activity, stomach acid output, kidney function, and mental activity. Some people use it to relieve fatigue, though many develop a taste and love for the unusual, slightly bitter flavor. Coffee abuse is very common, with regular drinking of it throughout the Day , especially in the 9-to-5 work force. This may create cardiac sensitivity, with abnormal heartbeats, anxiety and irritability, stomach and intestinal irritation, insomnia, and withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue or headaches. Coffee can also interfere with the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and iron.
Caffeine addiction can be a problem, though usually not a major one, and withdrawal from coffee may be very difficult. Many coffee substitutes are available, and decaffeinated coffee is used much more commonly by those who like the flavor and social scene of coffee drinking but do not like the caffeine stimulation. There are some concerns over the chemicals used to decaffeinate coffee and about coffee in general. It is wise to reduce and minimize the regular intake of coffee.
Sodas are carbonated (with carbon dioxide gas) beverages whose use has increased greatly in the last 25 years. I believe that these "beverages" have a fairly destructive nutritional pattern and are greatly abused. They have no nutritional value, contain high amounts of phosphates, which can influence calcium and bone metabolism, and often contain tremendous amounts of white sugar or chemicals that may rot the teeth?and the body, too, for that matter. The cola drinks often contain high amounts of caffeine as well, which prepare the children who often drink them for later coffee abuse. I have seen people completely addicted to colas, drinking 10-12 bottles or cans a Day . These drinks can deplete the body of nutrients as well as overstimulate. Most of the noncola drinks are also high in sugar or chemicals. If these beverages are used regularly or in excess, it is wise to replace them with good, clean water or other more nutritious drinks, and use these "soda pops" only as an occasional treat. Though the huge industry that promotes the use of these drinks and their availability in all stores and restaurants make this more difficult, as with other tantalizing treats of our society, our will power and discipline to avoid or replace these sugars or drugs that can hurt us with more healthful habits or substances is one of our challenges of life.