June 3rd, 2011

krazy koati

The story is done; it's getting colder now

Probably I wouldn't be in danger so often if I didn't read boxes. I bet some box warns how much danger I'll know I'm in if I read boxes, but I haven't read it. I've just lived it.

Here my danger is a box of chamomile tea bags. It's hard enough thinking of a dangerous tea; it seems like a ``harshly peach-colored paint''. It's not like coffee, marketed for decades now as so aggressively caffeinated it's liable to leap out of a mug, kick a bystander, and then rage down the street taunting colas, and painting walls peach-colored so it can strip the paint off. Tea seems more likely to scrunch down inside its mug, sorry to have bothered you so much by peskily continuing to exist, and apologizing to the water molecules bumping into it for getting in their way and for so unfortunately hoping the water might possibly be warm if that isn't too much trouble, and apologizing to the mug for being so loud in saying sorry and hoping it isn't being too much bother with all these apologies but it's sorry. Yet if protecting its young even beige can be a formidable foe and why couldn't tea strive for that sort of viciousness?

Well, because it's chamomile, for one. Just the name's sound wrecks any chance to sound menacing. The syllables seem perfectly soothing, about the worst possible connotation being maybe someone's appropriated the name for a generic brand of cereal. And even that would come with neat camel mascot drawn in Public Domain Cartoon DVD Cover art style, so it wouldn't be bad unless the cereal was peach-flavored. The idea of danger from chamomile tea is like finding out you're threatened with being occasionally prodded by silk-lined pillows stuffed with gerbil yawns. And the occasion for prodding is ``you learn something interesting happened on the 16th of the month'', despite knowing full well the 16th is the dullest day of any month. You might spend too much time staring at a Celestial Seasonings box but otherwise where could you go wrong?

That's where I went wrong, since the box warns, ``if you are taking prescription medication, or are pregnant or nursing, consult your health care provider prior to using this product''. I'm saved only by that I'm not taking any prescriptions, and I decided to not get pregnant or nurse children two years ago, since I'm not really sure who my health care provider is and I'd feel too shy to introduce myself to whoever it turns out to be. If I had to ask about chamomile tea safety I'd never manage it.

Yet there are serious health concerns. As Medpedia aptly puts it: ``chamomile is a plant with white flowers''. There are probably more startling things to learn about chamomile to people who try. I see the bit about life-threatening anaphylaxis and figure that's time to go back to drinking leaded gasoline. That's not safe but at least I wouldn't worry my obituary reports an unfortunate tea-related complication.

What gets me is how much of my life I spent oblivious to the danger. As a common, harmless-looking product I'd have expected tea warnings to constitute as much as 28 percent of the Internet by volume, which may have settled during shipment. Yet I find Google lists 2,680,000 web pages for ``chamomile warnings'' (2,680,001 now). Since ``Snooki warnings'' returns 3,490,000 plus one this gives chamomile a Snooki Warning Baseline Index of merely 0.77. For comparison, ``zither warnings'' (520,001 matches) has a Snooki Warning Baseline Index of 0.15. There are probably more dramatic results to get from other characters on Jersey Shore, but I don't know what instruments they play. Chamomile's about even to the 2,600,001 for ``spoon warnings'' (Snooki Warning Baseline Index 0.74), which seems like a lot of warning to give about spoons. I guess some people use spoons with reckless abandon. Probably it helps mix the sweetener into the chamomile.

Now I wonder if I dare investigate roobios too closely. That is practically the coffee of herbal teas. I didn't even know Snooki drank it.

Trivia: Tea was grown on an experimental basis in Kenya from 1903, but as late as 1924 the country was producing only a thousand pounds of it per year. Source: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire, Roy Moxham.

Currently Reading: Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station And Its Tunnels, Jill Jonnes.