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Like many local entrepreneurs, Matt Holcomb had a busy holiday season. The owner of Saint Simons Tea Co. has spent the past couple of months pointing customers toward various loose leaf brews in his shop in the Pier Village on St. Simons Island.

“It really depends a lot on the weather as to how and when people shop. But we had a lot of people coming in through the holiday season,” he said.

But regardless of when, shop they do. Holcomb understands why — tea soothes the soul. And, of course, the various blends offer a number of health benefits.

“We’re not a ‘functional tea’ shop and I drink it for pleasure but we do have a lot of teas that can help with all sorts of things,” he said.

It makes sense that those who are looking to start 2019 off on the right foot would gravitate toward tea. For decades, health officials have touted the benefits of brewing a cup and the hype certainly continues today.

From warding off colds to aiding metabolism, teas serve up serious benefits. Holcomb says that his customers often have an idea of what they are looking for when they come in but he can also offer some guidance.

Naturally, during the first of the year, detoxification from weeks of holiday splurging is a common theme. In addition to cleaning up one’s diet and incorporating exercise, reaching for a cup of detox tea can buoy the efforts.

Teas are full of antioxidants which promote health and additional elements like stinging nettles can help jump start a system cleanse.

“We have our Tulsi Pear Detox tea. Tulsi is good for blood, liver and kidney health,” he said.

Tulsi, also known as “holy basil,” is an Indian herb that is believed to help with a wide range of conditions. It has been touted as everything from a stress reliever to an acne fighter.

“It can also help with weight loss, which is something that people like to make New Year’s resolutions about,” Holcomb said. “It helps with the absorption of fats so it doesn’t end up in your blood which also helps the heart.”

Another tea that is often equated with weight loss is green tea. A longtime go-to for the health conscious, green tea has been credited with boosting the metabolism and aiding physical performance. It has also been linked to an increase in brain function and lowering the risk of chronic diseases, among other “pros.”

Holcomb’s shop offers dozens of green tea variations, many of which are blended with fruits and herbs to offer even more of a boost.

“There are a lot of green tea blends ... two of our most popular are the gojiberry green tea and the Georgia peach green,” he said.

There are often green teas that mingle mint into the mix. The herb has been linked to benefits that range from aiding stomach ailments, like IBS, all the way to easing the pain of breastfeeding. Holcomb says he also often directs customers toward mint infused tea when they are battling congestion.

“We have straight spearmint and the mint green gunpowder tea,” he said.

Sinus trouble and congestion are two of the most common complaints Holcomb hears about in his store. And while the temperature of the warm drinks alone can go a long way toward unclogging sinuses, adding the plants and herbs helps immensely.

“I have a lot of people ask about congestion or sinus trouble ... mint is great to help with that. And of course, peppermint tea is another good option for that too. My favorite is the peppermint black tea, which is not something that you want to do before bedtime, because it has caffeine,” he said. “It’s a decongestant, and it can also be used for headaches. I know whenever I get a cold, there are a couple of days when I have tremendous headaches from my sinuses so it helps. Peppermint also helps with nausea too.”

Once the cold and flu season gets into full swing, Holcomb will be directing more and more people toward these beneficial brews.

“The thing I get asked about the most is sore throats. A lot of people come in and want something for that ... ginger is great, and we have something with ginger in every section. Ginger is good for a number of things, including stomach problems,” he said. “The lemon ginger is the best seller, which is great for colds too.”

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