With Valentine’s Day coming up, you’d think that the usual flowers and chocolates would do the trick to impress your lover. But a group of British scientists suggest otherwise. A cup of piping hot tea. Yes, you read correctly. According to the findings of a two-year study by the Open University in the UK, it is not grand bouquets of flowers that keep the love alive, but rather selfless gestures.
A cup of tea has been singled out as a significant sign of your partner’s affection. The team of UK Researchers interviewed close to 5 000 men and women on how to make love last in the 21st century.
The study, which was aptly called “Enduring Love”, found that while saying “I love you” was important, showing love in deed and not the only word alone, was valued most.
Thoughtful gifts and generous acts of kindness were described as expressions of love and were not dependent on money or significant dates, such as a birthday or Valentine’s Day. It was rather what the gift or gesture signified that was most important.
Brew a cup of love
Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) says one of the most important facets of our lives is having a meaningful and loving relationship with someone we deeply care about.
“Sharing a cup of tea with someone is designed to build deeper and more meaningful relationships,” she says.
It does so in three ways:
- Tea provides a mutual experience that can be enjoyed together.
- It consists of an act of kindness. From carefully measuring out the leaves or tea bags, gently pouring the water into the teapot and emptying its contents into your finest cups, make your companion feel appreciated. It’s symbolic of how you feel about them.
- Carving out time to be with your special someone at that moment, also encourages richer conversation.
Herbs your lover will love
Du Toit also says that throughout history, people have turned to herbs to express feelings of love, passion and romance. Still, in many cultures, herbs like lavender, spearmint, ginger, damiana, chamomile and lemon balm are celebrated for their romantic powers.
Due to its high antioxidant content, Rooibos too is considered one such aphrodisiac. The popular herbal infusion stimulates neurons to keep firing feel-good messages to the brain, which is considered the most important organ in the body when it comes to intimacy.
Du Toit says antioxidants aren’t naturally produced in the body but are obtained through consuming fruits, vegetables or tisanes, like Rooibos.
“Showing affection to your loved one on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break the bank. While appreciated, grand romantic gestures aren’t always as nurturing as connecting with the one you love over a cup of tenderly made Rooibos. Carving out quality time will make your partner feel seen, heard and loved.”
Try out these love potions
Du Toit shares two recipes to brew up some romance this Valentine’s Day.
A love potion to share with the one that holds your heart
½ cup loose leaf Rooibos
¼ cup dried rose petals
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
2 whole vanilla beans, chopped
2 tbsp cacao nibs
OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp dried ashwagandha root (indigenous to Southern Africa, commonly called geneesblaarbossie (Afrikaans), winter cherry (English), ubuvimbha (Zulu), ubuvuma (Xhosa) and bofepha (Sotho)
- Combine all ingredients in a jar, lightly stir or shake until loosely combined. Seal and store out of direct sunlight until ready to use. To make the tisane, boil water and place 1-2 tbsp of the loose leaf in a French press, tea strainer or tea bag.
- Pour hot water over tea and allow to steep for 5-10 min before serving. Serve alone or with a splash of milk and raw honey.
Rooibos & Hibiscus Love Bath
Rooibos can soothe your skin. Add a strong cup or two to your bath water or enjoy a fragrant infusion of flower petals and essential oils this month of love…
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup rose petals
½ tbsp cardamom pods
20 drops of rose essential oil
5 drops of sandalwood essential oil
½ cup Epsom salt
1 cup loose-leaf Rooibos
- Mix the salts and essential oils together in a bowl. Take another bowl to mix the flowers and Rooibos together.
- Gently stir in the salts and essential oils into the bowl of flowers. To enjoy your bath tea, scoop the mix into a reusable cotton bag, cheesecloth, or muslin bag.
- When you’re ready to use your bath tea, directly hang the bag under the faucet for the water to soak up all the tea before entering the bath or place it in the bath directly. Soak it all in.
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