For Zhena Muzyka, tea is a way of life. The author of “Life by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-Filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success” began her love affair with tea because of her grandmother, who was a Gypsy in Ukraine.
“She gardened and had this massive garden with botanicals and roses and herbs,” Muzyka told FoxNews.com. “And she taught me that flowers and spices and teas and herbs can fix any woe— mind, body or spirit.”
Muzyka drinks about five cups of caffeinated tea and one herbal tea per day, after meals. She uses tea to wake up, feel better, make better decisions, and connect with people in her life.
In the morning, Muzyka starts with two cups of black tea, such as Pu-erh. The tea has been known to protect heart and blood vessels.
“Mid-morning, I’ll do an oolong after breakfast. Oolong is thermagenic— it burns fat. It’s the tea proven to burn fat the most,” she said. She also suggested drinking oolong before going to the gym for an added boost. Oolong falls between green and black tea in oxidation. After lunch, Muzyka drinks a green tea, jasmine pearls, which can reduce stress.
“The green tea is fantastic for collagen production, as well as antioxidants. [It’s] fabulous for your immune system and it also does burn fat,” she said.
Before stopping caffeine for the day, Muzyka switches to white tea. She likes Yin Zhen silver needle.
“I’ll blend some roses into it; I put goji berries into it and the goji berries are a great tonic for the liver and kidneys. They also add great flavor and a little bit of sweetness and have tons of amino acids,” Muzyka said. “Sometimes I’ll sprinkle in osmanthus flowers, which are great for your immune system.”
Muzyka calls the mix her “beauty tonic,” since it can help decrease lines in your face, increase collagen production, and is an ancient beauty treatment in Asia.
At about 4:30 p.m., Muzyka stops drinking caffeine and switches to florals, which do not have tea leaves in them. She likes licorice, marshmallow root, milk thistle— which is great for the liver— osmanthus flowers, and roses.
“At night, I love a cup of straight osmanthus flowers— it has the same effect as chamomile, but chamomile is a ragweed so a third of the population is allergic to it. Osmanthus flowers…have a great floral flavor; it’s super relaxing and it’s a natural sedative,” Muzyka said.
One addition Muzyka likes to her osmanthus and roses is tulsi, an Indian herb that has no caffeine. Tulsi helps the body stop absorbing and producing cortisol, the stress hormone that ages us and taps out our adrenal system.
“Holy basil is one of those magical, beautiful, relaxing herbs that actually helps your body by solving the problem, not just covering up the stress,” she said.
Steeping loose tea may make some people nervous, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Muzyka carries her teas in a little packet, with a strainer. At a restaurant, she’ll order two cups, one with hot water and the other empty. She then pours the loose leaves in the hot water, puts the strainer on the empty cup, and pours the steeped tea into it.
“It’s cheaper, it’s easier, and you can steep most teas multiple times— some teas up to 14 times,” she said.
According to Muzyka, it’s important to drink organic teas so you avoid digesting pesticides.