re-use green tea leaves as a natural deodorizer to freshen up the home. We like this idea of re-using the leaves for a completely different purpose other than brewing a beverage, so we found some other tips for used dried green tea leaves (called "chagra"). After the jump, we explain how to properly dry the leaves for re-use, and then tell you more about using chagra. To prepare the green tea leaves for re-use, you must remove as much moisture from them as possible. As soon as you've brewed a cup of tea, place the leaves in a large strainer and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Then spread the leaves out on a flat strainer or on unprinted paper (perhaps re-using an unprinted brown paper bag). Let the leaves dry completely dry, turning them over several times in the process. If the weather is cooler, you can also spread them on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven on very low heat to get the leaves completely dry. You've now got yourself some chagra! Uses for chagra around the house: • Bathing: Green tea is full of antioxidants which protect skin from free radical damage. When in the tub, place the leaves in a cotton bag or sack and let them steep while you are bathing. When the leaves have fully opened, rub the tea bag on your skin. • Eye Pads: Green tea can reduce puffiness around the eyes. Fill a cotton bag with used green tea, dampen, and place on your eyelids. • Incense: As mentioned in the other post, green tea is an odor absorber, so it makes sense you could use the chagra as incense. Some incense burners are suitable for tea leaves, but you can also burn the leaves in a ceramic pot or container. Or put them in a boiling pot of shallow water and gently simmer.\ • Mouth Wash: Gargle with the green tea leaves to fight bad breath, kill bacteria in the mouth, and get flourine, which strengthens teeth and fights both cavities and gingivitis. • Natural Manure: Add chagra to compost to add some healthy nitrogen to the mix, or use it to help enhance plant growth by placing the leaves near the root of a plant and covering with dirt. • Pillows: For those of you who hate poly-fill pillows, this could be for you! Use dried green tea leaves as a natural alternative pillow fill. Apparently, when used in bulk, the leaves are soft and the faint aroma of the leaves is a sleep enhancer. Air out the pillow outside once a week to avoid mustiness. • Rust Prevention: Who knew? The antioxidant properties of Catechin, contained in green tea, protect iron from rust. Wrap tea leaves in a dry cloth and wash the surface of your pots and pans. [info via productdose.com] Image by Ayelie.