Photo by udra via Getty Images

But do we really need them?

Rebecca Firkser
December 17, 2018

The brand Wellbeing by Lipton recently sent me two packages of tea. The same company that has been providing perfectly adequate black tea everywhere from offices to diners is now promoting wellness. Each of the herbal teas is geared toward soothing problems most humans have experienced at some point: difficulties with digestion, insomnia, and stress, among others. These two teas call out two ingredients that have come to be known as “superfoods,” Moringa and turmeric.

Moringa is a plant that is rich in antioxidants, antibiotics, and nutrients, and is used in Eastern medicine to help with high cholesterol, inflammation and high blood sugar. Lipton’s Moringa tea blends 500 milligrams of Moringa Oleifera leaves per tea bag with green tea and pomegranate. It does not promise to cure any ailments. Instead, the language on the box simply says to enjoy a cup of the tea "every day to supplement your varied, balanced diet.” This type of vagueness is pretty common for supplements—you can find similar wording on products sold by high-end wellness companies like Goop and Sun Potion—as they’re not evaluated by the FDA. Ultimately, the tea tasted like a very mild green tea and had a strong pomegranate scent. I would probably drink it again if some were in front of me, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to brew another cup.

Lipton’s turmeric tea is blended with ginger and orange. “For centuries, the Ayurvedic tradition has praised turmeric for its role in aiding digestion and supporting joint movement,” reads the website. The idea that turmeric can be beneficial to the body is no surprise. As Khushbu Shah writes in Taste of “moon milk” (the name the wellness world has given to haldi doodh, or turmeric milk), it doesn’t taste very good. “The beverage was only ever presented to me when I was facing down a gnarly cold or virus, and I was never particularly thrilled to be drinking it,” Shah writes. She recognizes turmeric’s health benefits, but expresses wonder at healthy people who spend $7 or more on a cup during a routine visit to a cafe. “Dress it up all you want, but it’s still medicine,” she writes. Indeed, Lipton’s "Terrific Turmeric" didn’t taste great. It was a weaker version of what I imagine one of those expensive turmeric lattes would taste like without the house-made almond milk and raw honey.

There’s nothing wrong with Lipton promoting the idea that these teas “help make everyday well-being easy,” as they write on their website. Like Four Sigmatic’s instant coffee and teas, Lipton is another company promoting wellness to people who don’t have time to measure out tiny spoonfuls of expensive supplements in their drink every morning. However, these teas just weren’t all that tasty—it’s a simple as that. I’d go back to my trusty Lipton black tea (or even a $7 moon milk) over these any day.

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