Herbal teas are renowned for their benefits but what benefits do herbal teas actually have and why are they so advantageous to our health? Read on to find out more.
What is Herbal Tea?
Herbal tea looks like tea and is brewed in the same way as tea, but it not actually a tea at all. This is because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made. Herbal teas are actually infusions, and are properly called tisanes. Tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical elements that give them their taste and provide the benefits of herbal teas.
Unlike other forms of tea, herbal teas contain no caffeine. They also taste great and are easy to drink. Your herbal tea may consist of one main herbal ingredient or it may be a blend of herbal ingredients, designed to bring about a specific purpose, such as relaxation, rejuvenation, relief from a specific condition, amongst other things.
Noted Benefits of Herbal Teas
Firstly, it is important to note that there is a huge array of herbal teas available on the market – each one designed to have a specific therapeutic or medicinal benefit. However, there are some general benefits that can be obtained from herbal teas, and these include:
- achieving a more calm and relaxed state of mind
- supporting heart health
- aiding with stomach and digestive problems
- providing cleansing properties for the body
- promoting energy and wellness
- nourishing the nervous system
- strengthening the immune system
- providing antioxidants to the body
- boosting energy levels and invigorating the body
- relieving stress
- helping to avoid colds
- stimulating the internal organs
- promoting a good night’s sleep
- it is caffeine free and tastes great
Some Common Herbal Tea Ingredients
There are many different herbs that can be found in an herbal tea, each with a different use. Some common ones include:
- Allspice – helps to soothe the common cold and relieves upset stomachs
- Anise seed – aids digestion and freshens the breath. It can also soothe a cough and improve bronchitis.
- Chamomile – is renowned for its calming properties and is also said to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic
- Chrysanthemum – is sweet-tasting and is able to reduce body heat resulting from fever. It also helps protect against liver damage and neutralises toxins.
- Cinnamon – is calming and helps to support healthy circulation and digestion.
- Ginseng – stimulates vitality and helps the body stay healthy.
- Ginger root – is excellent for improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion, nausea, lung congestion, and arthritis.
- Hawthorne – strengthens the heart and increases blood flow.
- Lemongrass – is frequently used due to its calming properties.
- Parsley – is a diuretic and helps with kidney function.
- Pau d'arco - has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, yeasts (including Candida albicans), viruses (including herpes simplex types I and II, influenza virus, poliovirus and retroviruses) and parasites.
- Peppermint – is good for stress relief. It also helps with stomachs and digestive issues and helps to freshen the breath.
- Red Clover - use as a medicine for menopausal symptoms, cancer, mastitis, joint disorders, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis and eczema. It is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Rose hips – are a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They are a liver, kidney, and blood tonic, and are a good remedy for fatigue, colds, and cough.
- Sarsaparilla – promotes energy and healthy skin.
- Slippery elm – helps to relieve stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems.
Making Herbal Tea
When you are making your herbal tea, use fresh, cold water. Do not use aluminium cookware as it can affect the taste. Use glass, cast iron, or stainless steel where possible. A tea strainer is very helpful as it lets you create your own blends of teas or herbs, and stops the leaves and flowers from escaping into the drink.
Once the water has boiled, add one heaped teaspoon of herbs for every cup of water. Cover and let the herbs steep for ten minutes. Do not over-steep the herbs as the flavour may become too strong and taste more medicinal rather than pleasant. If you want to enhance the flavour of your tea, honey or lemon can be great choices.