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Highlight: Cup of Sunshine

Ingredients: organic turmeric, organic ginger, organic tulsi, organic malabar peppercorn, organic cinnamon

Our flagship brew: turmeric, tulsi, and spice

When Big Heart Tea Co. Founder Lisa Govro started selling tea from her 1969 Wigwam camper trailer, it was 2012, and she had just one item on the menu — freshly-grated raw turmeric and ginger with just a dash of honey — the OG Cup of Sunshine.

In 2012, turmeric wasn't quite a craze yet, but Lisa had just come out of an Ayurvedic chef training experience deeply immersed in the healing power of herbs and food. And it was the golden, juicy turmeric root that stole her heart.

Today's iteration of Cup of Sunshine is a freshly-ground, hand-blended tea of organic tulsi and spices. Our ingredients come to our warehouse whole, where we then combine earthy turmeric, gentle tulsi, warming ginger and peppercorn, and naturally sweet cinnamon into our flagship brew.

You can find this best-selling babe at corner coffeeshops, cafes, and little mom-and-pop gift shops around the country, and larger retailers like Crate + Barrel, Anthropologie, and Indigo Books and Music (Canada!).

what are the Benefits of turmeric, exactly?

By now, y’all have probably heard about superstar turmeric.

It’s one of the few herbs extensively studied by both Ayurvedic and “Western” allopathic medicine. Turmeric's health benefits range from being anti-inflammatory, aiding digestion, boosting immunity with its antioxidants, and easing the effects of chronic stress.

And not only does it contain a large quantity of antioxidants, but it even increases your body's own antioxidant defenses to scavenge free radicals with more gusto. 

It might be most famous for its anti-inflammatory power, and there's good reason for that.  

What's Curcumin, now?

Curcumin is a phytopolylphenol pigment found in whole turmeric and is the powerhouse behind the herb's anti-inflammatory power.

Curcumin is often isolated and extracted from our fave golden rhizome, and can be a powerful supplement for healing inflammation. Its supplements can be more effective at treating arthritis than allopathic medication for some people.

Additionally, there are neurotrophic aspects to curcumin. It boosts the brain's growth hormone BDNF, which enables the brain to make new connections, regrow damage, stave off depression, and perhaps even more (brain science is, like, a pretty mysterious field). It also shows promise for preventing or treating Alzheimer’s in animal models.

Curcumin also helps heart disease.  Since curcumin improves the lining of blood cells ("endothelium"), issues like blood-clotting, high blood pressure have a harder time taking root in your body. One study in postmenopausal women found it was as effective as exercise at improving heart health this way!

Of course, intense, high-dose curcumin supplements can have some adverse effects, too. Liver issues can rise up with such powerful herbal medicine, and we still don’t know exactly what long-term effects might be.

Cup of Sunshine tea, on the other hand? We keep it more chill. This recipe is for gentle wellness.

 

ORGANIC. GENTLE. DELICIOUS.

Like with every craze, turmeric products have a lotta hype right now. But sometimes, supplements can be too much for the body. And the ingredients don't always have the quality to match the hype.

Instead of taking capsules, drinking turmeric tea has distinct benefits. And tea is gentler on the body than a high-dosed supplement.

Around the world, turmeric is cooked into savory sauces for flavor and color. Almost anytime you see that tell-tale bright golden color marking a dish, turmeric is the artist behind it. Yellow mustard has turmeric to thank, in fact. But it’s more than a kitchen ally. Originating in India and Indonesia as a cousin to ginger, it was passing from hand-to-hand all the way to Babylon and Egypt as far back as 1500 BCE, known even then as a powerful wound-healer.

With Southeast Asian parents, Big Heart's VP Kunthearath grew up with turmeric for scrapes and cuts. If someone took a tumble, parents would slice open turmeric root (a staple in their cooking) and rub it in circles over the ouch. Kunthearath has memories of vivid yellow patches on little elbows and knees.

In South Asia, where Ayurveda highly prizes its native turmeric, this root is warmed in milk for soothing wellness drinks. Sometimes taken in combination with other medicinal herbs, turmeric is often enjoyed on its own as haldi doodh (Hindi for “turmeric milk” — it has many names!). The fats in cow or coconut milk help your body receive all the benefits, since turmeric is fat-soluble.

In Cup of Sunshine, you can sip assured that our turmeric is not only certified organic, but it’s tested for heavy metals (like lead), pesticides, herbicides, moisture (because mold spores!), and bacteria. That’s right. We’re not messing around. We take our healing teas very seriously. They’d better be as healthy and honest as they are delicious.

And oh, is Cup of Sunshine delicious.

The piperine-curcumin myth

Adding peppercorn to your turmeric does not drastically increase your body's absorption of curcumin, as health and wellness marketing influencers may lead you to believe (but peppercorn and its spicy piperine are powerful anti-inflammatory healers, so pairing them together doesn’t hurt.) 

Sure, piperine does help curcumin stay in the bloodstream, but it’s not a game-changer — and the same can be said for the other hundreds of beneficial molecules in whole turmeric. And in whole black peppercorn, for that matter! 

But despite the sudden boom in supplement companies marketing curcumin combined with piperine, the real issue is that most of turmeric’s compounds are fat-soluble, not water-soluble

What does that mean for nutrition? It means that eating turmeric with food, adding a splash of something creamy to your Cup of Sunshine tea, or enjoying Cup of Sunshine with a meal is the best way to go. Natural, tasty, and simple. In our teas, you’ll always find the whole plant doing its whole thing.

The health benefits of all our spices

Benefits of Black Peppercorn

We chose Malabar black peppercorn for the bold, fruity flavor associated with pepper from India's Malabar coast. But black pepper is a serious healer. It's most famous for its active ingredient piperine (often falsely cited as turmeric’s dance partner — more on that later), but it also holds a rich phytochemistry of beneficial volatile oils, oleoresins, and alkaloids — all immune-boosting, disease-fighting agents. 

Benefits of Ginger

And then there's ginger. Grandma might've given you ginger for nausea, and she was spot on. It does more than soothe your tummy, though - if consumed regularly, some of its compounds accumulate in your digestive tract, keeping a healthier digestive environment stable in your body. And with a crazy amount of antioxidants — like, only pomegranates and certain berries have more — it's a free radical warrior for your beautiful body, protecting you against disease.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a good friend, too. She's got those antioxidant polyphenols tea leaves are famous for, she's anti-inflammatory, she's heart-healthy. Cinnamon may protect against brain damage and neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It also “upregulates” (boosts) that same brain hormone we mentioned earlier, BDNF. And for folks with diabetes, cinnamon has been shown to lower insulin and cholesterol levels in animal models. And the list goes on.

tulsi: a rare adaptogen

Tulsi — a naturally mild, sweet adaptogen — is the best friend you never knew you had. She also protects your body from heavy metals and is overflowing with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Also known as holy basil, tulsi sits on a pretty short list of adaptogenic herbs, which makes her extra precious.

What's an adaptogen, exactly? They're all about balance and equilibrium. They interrupt general adaptation syndrome (GAS), the human body's stress response of alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Adaptogens help your body adapt (see what they did there?) and build resilience.

And in doing so, adaptogens keep us well, preventing illness before it starts. Stress releases cortisol, which can lead to irritability, anger, anxiety, and restless sleep. Adaptogens also balance the negative effects of metabolic stress (blood sugar, pressure, and lipid levels) and psychological stress (memory, cognitive function, and antidepressant). 

Brewing

Spicy and earthy.
Warming and soothing.
Sunlight in a mug.

 

Enjoy Cup of Sunshine at your favorite local coffeeshop who carries Big Heart (we’re in all 50 states!) or at home every day. It’s a morning ritual that will boost your body without any caffeine needed.

Folks enjoy this spiced, golden tea on the daily or whenever they feel a cold coming on. Add something creamy to absorb every drop of that golden turmeric goodness.

Brewing hot:

    • Measure 5 g loose leaf tea (or 2 heaping tsp) per 10 oz water
    • Steep in 185°F for 1 minute
    • Strain and serve 

Brewing cold: 

Here are cold brew instructions for any of our teas. You’ll discover a much more peppery flavor profile this way.

Bring more sunshine into your life.



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