Review: HELPS Wellness For Low Sugar Diets

Bilberry Tea, Blue Mallow Tea, HELPS Tea, Herbal Tea, Orange Peel Tea, Stevia Leaf Tea Add comments
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"Such an interesting idea and a blend to match, that has plenty of natural sweetness but the stevia has a strongly papery footing."
Raven’s Teaview: 4.3/10
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Oh, there are sugar highs, sweet sky raising soars, and there are sugar lows. Oh, how low one can go, even without a limbo stick. As much as we try though, the body isn’t so keen on extremes, opting more for a tea kind of mentality and zen balance. While I still don’t believe there is a “Wearing a white shirt on Wednesday” or “Forgot to pick up the dry cleaning” tea, I must say I was surprised by the HELPS' blend for Low Sugar Diets, as I would never guess one existed. As unique as the tea is, there’s certainly people on low sugar diets, such as those with diabetes. The tea's ingredients also sounded like an interesting blend as it includes bilberry leaves, juniper which I like cooking with, elderflowers, orange rind and sweet leaf, which is presumably stevia. With such a specific goodie bag, it’s a surprise that HELPS doesn’t offer more information on the functionality of the ingredients or the relevancy of the amounts in the tea. Regardless, while sweet leaf or stevia is likely there for its natural sweetness, both juniper and bilberry leaves have been examined for having positive effects on blood sugar amongst a number of other common fruits and vegetables (1-3). So pass on the sugar and bring on the tea.

As with all of their teas, the tea comes ready to brew in handy individual packages, brightly coloured with their logo and the brewing instructions. The sachets don’t give away any eye candy but they are handy. Plus, close one’s eye’s and opening the package could be just like unwrapping a candy bar (just make sure not to take a bite). There’s no mistaking though, once the tea is out. Not sure what to expect, the tea’s bouquet is most unusual. It’s a clean, sweet scent, somewhat like a combination of chamomile and Xerox paper with a wood veneer, straw character. While moderately fragrant, it’s somewhat dry with a tinge of medicinal notes, like hospital gauze, but the woodiness is almost cedar-like and a bit like matches which has a nice tidiness to it to be almost cottage-like. The aroma is certainly sweet but I’m not sure it would stop one dreaming of Candyland, as it reminds me slightly of envelope glue from the sweet leaf which seems to dominate the scent, lending some of the papery notes as I’ve smelled stevia products like it before. Checking back on the ingredients, the bouquet is a surprise that more doesn’t spring up.

Infusing the bag for five minutes with boiling water brings a vivid amber cup that’s not quite clear. Its scent is quite clear though, and very similar to the dry tea. So it’s a sweet bouquet with a kind of honeyed, raw stevia aroma, rising amidst papery, straw aromas. It still brings to mind envelop glue and paper although, now the stevia seems a bit like browned paper or lit matches. There may be some orange to the warm aroma but it doesn’t really have a citrus brightness, so it would be a dried orange scent while the juniper or bilberry leaves presumably feed into the papery aromas but the juniper isn’t really familiar. The bouquet does have an ease to the aroma but playing altogether, it’s not so enticing.

Unfortunately, the tea tastes, much like it smells. The sweet leaf is prominent, centering the altitude so it does have some sweetness and wouldn’t need more. I’ve tried my share of stevia and this reminds me of one of the first I tried, where the stevia is less refined, as it brings its bitterness along with the sweetness and the browned, almost burnt paper character. This flavour of the sweet leaf seems to crowd out any others as the other ingredients don’t really seem to stand out. This may speak to a harmony amongst them but more juniper or orange rind flavour might help bring the tea in a finer balance. Despite the sweetness, it’s not a cup I could quite relish finishing.

However, out of interest’s sake and hopeful for tides to turn, I steeped the bag a second time for five minutes. The cup is much lighter but the brew is still mildly fragrant. Better still, although the aroma relaxes, it doesn’t seem as cloying to seem more chamomile like. The papery aromas fall into more of wet cardboard but the scent remains sweet.

I applaud HELPS for thinking outside of the box of chocolates in trying to mix up an interesting blend and for those trying to lose their sweet tooth, so I really wanted to like this tea. I’ve also had my fair share of sweet leaves and stevia and I’m not sure this wraps up to either. The tea is sweet indeed and it does have a full flavour for a tisane but I’m afraid that HELPS Low Sugar Diet tea might turn off stevia and tea enthusiasts alike, not to mention have Charlie running back to the Chocolate Factory.

References

1. Helmstädter, A., Schuster, N.(2010). Vaccinium myrtillus as an antidiabetic medicinal plant - research through the ages. Die Pharmazie - An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 65(5), 315-321.

2. DeMedina, F. S., Gamez, M. J., Jimenez, I., Osuna, J. I. & Zarzuelo, A. (1994). Hypoglycaemic activity of juniper ‘berries’. Planta Medica, 60, 197-200.

3. Cicero, A.F.G., Derosa, G., Gaddi, A.(2004). What do herbalists suggest to diabetic patients in order to improve glycemic control? Evaluation of scientific evidence and potential risks. Acta Diabetologica, 41(3), 91-98.

— To purchase HELPS Wellness For Low Sugar Diets, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Raven Raven
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