Sunday, 19 October 2014

Journey through teas

In doing my research of each of the individual types of leaves that can be turned into teas, most of the therapeutic benefits tend to be listed as anecdotal and very few have had extensive research done.  I can understand why this is so: research costs money and if something cannot be patented that it is of no interest to the pharmaceutical companies.   I remember the attempt by a major company within the last year to try and patent Habatus Sauda which to me was absurdity to the maximum.  This spice has been used for centuries by many cultures and now that this giant company see that money can be made out of it, tried to patent it to prevent others from selling it.  Studies have been done by universities on soursop leaves and lemon grass that focussed mainly of the nutrition aspects of it as well as the chemical composition as well as the cancer preventive and curative aspects of it.  Since no major profits can be expected, this is not well publicised and therapeutic properties is still mainly anecdotal.

 Misai Kucing
As such, I began my own journey on the herbal teas based on plants and trees that are grown in Malaysia and grows well here in our tropical climate.  I spoke and discussed with several traditional medicine practitioners, people who have taken or tried them, as well as reading up on any study that I can find on them.  The choices plants are plentiful so I decided to focus on misai kucing (cat's whiskers), durian belanda (soursop), ruku (holy basil), kemangi (lemon basil) and serai (lemon grass).  The reason is due to its therapeutic values for diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory system and cancer as well as serving as a detoxification agent.

With these five basic herbs and leaves, there are many options for blending depending on the therapeutic values being sought.  From a personal perspective, I wanted to have teas that provide me with therapeutic values whilst not tasting like "medicine" or unpleasant such as bitter.  I also wanted prevention options as well as curative without the many side effects as often found in pharmaceutical medication.  Being able to consume it as part of my normal drinks list was critical so that I can continue to drink them without feeling like I am taking medication.

Durian Beland
From the farm production perspective, we are able to produce pure teas as well as blended teas and now custom-blended teas.  I have always enjoyed providing personal touches so the custom-blended teas enabled me to tailor the teas in accordance to customers needs.  My philosophy to is have the tea produced in smaller batches and often, with no preservative and maximum therapeutic benefits.  As such, we do not keep stock of more than 1 month and the teas can last for several months stored in a cool and dry area.  From my own testing, it can last for over 6 months with no impact to taste or condition of the tea. I am happy that at the moment, I am not able to keep stock as the teas run out within a couple of weeks after production.

To me it is key that no chemical pesticides or herbicides are used so as not to introduce contaminants.  As such, they are all grown organically using organic fertilisers and organic pesticide control.  It doesn't make sense to produce something for its therapeutic values and yet using growing methods that introduces contaminants which often are toxic or carcinogenic.

At the moment, the farm produces for local consumption only and in order not to impact quality and our principles, we do not cater for the mass market.  At the end of the day, this project allows me to pursue one of my passions and is infinitely satisfying.