Citrus teas, such as green tea with lemon, are thought to be particularly good if you have a coldBen Brown

Not long after you’ve unpacked your stuff and moved into your room, there comes the moment where you need your first cup of tea of the new term. A similar moment comes later in the first week, when you have to accept you’ve caught freshers’ flu, and you find yourself in need of a healing cup of hot tea. But then you recover from freshers’ flu just in time for Sunday Life and find yourself the following Monday morning with a hangover and not wanting to do anything until you’ve got yourself a cup of tea.

There is almost no health benefit that has not been attributed to green teaBen Brown

Being already a fan of herbal tea, the sheer number of times I find myself boiling the kettle in a week gave me the idea of looking into the different herbs and their supposed benefits. Placebo effect or not, I basically just enjoy drinking flavoured hot drinks when I’m in one of the aforementioned situations, but my interest in herbal tea has also led to me having interesting conversations with people who unexpectedly turned out to know a lot about it. I’ve also found that the tea section in Sainsbury's is much better-stocked and varied than I thought it would be!

So here's my list of my least favourite situations that seem to keep recurring, and the types of tea I've discovered can be helpful for each one.

For when you have a cold

Having a cold is literally the worst thing ever and you deserve a cup of tea to help you cope with it. Citrus teas, such as green tea with lemon, are thought to be particularly good if you have a cold. My personal favourite is St Clements tea, although I don’t really know how to describe it because “hot liquid orange” sounds gross. So just trust me, St Clements tea is nice.

For when you're stressed

I know I don’t need to mention why I think readers of Varsity might be familiar with stress, so I’m just going to cut straight to telling you that peppermint tea contains natural muscle relaxants and doesn’t contain caffeine - it’s ideal when you need to unwind. However, lotus flower tea is also an option. I hadn’t really heard of it until I was in Russia recently and my landlady gave me lotus flower tea, telling me it lowers blood pressure. She had to repeat it so many times to make sure I understood it that I will now always remember that lotus flower tea lowers blood pressure, and how to say that in Russian.

For when you're sleepless


Mountain View

Simplifying self-care

One of the most annoying things about being stressed in term time is the fact that it also stops you sleeping well, which is, you know, an important way to recover from stress. The herbal solution to this is chamomile tea. It’s been used as a natural sedative in many cultures for centuries. I first tried it on a trip to Germany, when I was staying in a hostel with a neon sign right outside my window and curtains which didn’t fully shut. And to be honest I don’t really remember ever struggling to sleep so chamomile tea is definitely effective!

For when you have bad skin

Green tea! There is almost no health benefit that has not been attributed to green tea, but it being good for your skin is one that comes up a lot. A lot of people find green tea too bitter to drink. But there are so many varieties of green tea that this is no excuse. I discovered green tea with mango and lychee during Easter term last year and not only was it a lifesaver, but it’s also a weird enough combination of flavours that it proves you can get green tea with pretty much anything.