COULD THIS TEA SHARPEN OUR SENSES? DIMINISH THE AGING PROCESS? MAYBE.
A few years ago, I started visiting Yeniköy, and in particular, Yeniköy Kahvesi, a tea garden/coffeehouse set above the village’s main boulevard, nestled beside one of the community’s Greek churches. Overhung with vines and interlacing tree branches this quiet spot is a popular weekend brunch option year-round with its mix of sun and shade, indoor fireplace and relaxed attitude.
One day when a group of us gathered there in early spring with our books and Sudoku puzzles, my friend Despina ordered an adaçayi (sage tea). I’d like to think that my life has changed for the better since that day.
THE LANE BEHIND YENIKÖY KAHVESI.
Made simply by infusing hot water with sage leaves, this herb turns the water a vibrant fluorescent yellow-green. It’s a refreshing hot drink usually enjoyed with a slice or two of lemon.
From that day on I decided that this was more than just an ordinary drink. It also makes a nice change from the caffeine jitters from drinking black tea or coffee all day long. But does adaçayi also heighten neurological function? Quite possibly.
FEELING A BIT BLURRY? LOOK FOR THE MEMORY ELIXIR HERE.
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods (my favorite online resource for nutritional advice, which backs up all its assertions with medical findings):
“Research published in the June 2003 issue ofPharmacological Biochemical Behavior confirms what herbalists have long known: sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, two trials were conducted using a total of 45 young adult volunteers. Participants were given either placebo or a standardized essential oil extract of sage in doses ranging from 50 to 150 microls. Cognitive tests were then conducted 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 hours afterwards. In both trials, even the 50 microl dose of sage significantly improved subjects’ immediate recall.” But wait, there’s more … it’s also a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: “The leaves and stems of the sage plant also contain antioxidant enzymes, including SOD (superoxide dismutase) and peroxidase. When combined, these three components of sage—flavonoids, phenolic acids, and oxygen-handling enzymes—give it a unique capacity for stabilizing oxygen-related metabolism and preventing oxygen-based damage to the cells.”
COULD WE ACHIEVE CAT-LIKE PERCEPTION … I LIKE TO THINK SO.
Since we need to drink water plenty of water daily, why not enhance the hydration process using a herb that civilizations as far back as the Greeks and the Romans have prized for its medicinal properties?
Perhaps it’s the placebo effect working in me — mind over matter — as I’ll be the first to admit that I like the idea of natural memory enhancers and anti-inflammatories. The prospect of cognitive decline and diminished mental capacity with age is not an appealing thought. Whatever the case I always feel a little “different” after drinking the decoction.
THE CHURCH BESIDE YENIKÖY KAHVESI.
Colors seem richer, the grain of surfaces seem sharper, the contrast between light and shadow deeper, and, overall I feel more alert. Usually around mid-afternoon, I find myself losing some of my edge, wanting to go into siesta mode.
This afternoon though, I felt like something was different, even with the photos I took after drinking my adaçayi and exploring the old Greek lanes behind the tea garden.
LINES SEEM MORE CLEARLY DRAWN. COLORS ARE ENRICHED, DEEPENED.
Whatever the truth, a sage tea or two this spring at Yeniköy Kahvesi, sitting under the vine leaves, soft sea air wafting up off the Bosporus could hardly be harmful, could it?
YENIKÖY KAHVESI. DRINK A FRESH ADAÇAYI HERE.
Tell me, have you ever tried sage tea? What do you think? Can you recommend any natural memory-enhancers? I’d love to know.