If you confess to be a serial coffee drinker, a fan of sugary drinks (and food) or suffering from debilitating conditions—then you should try drinking herbal teas.
Drinking herbal concoctions have been around since ancient times. The East has been reaping its benefits for thousands of years now as they believe it to be one of the keys to maintaining good health. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until recent decades that people in the West start paying attention.
Herbal teas are thought to be one of the healthiest, tasty, and soothing drinks out there. It’s jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and even potent antioxidant, antibiotic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. In traditional Ayurveda and Chinese medication practices, it’s usually prescribed to aid the common colds and flu, muscle pain, and diseases that affect the heart, liver, kidney, and others.
In this article, we’ll give you a primer to start your herbal tea drinking journey. We have listed down the best herbal teas you should try today—so read on!
What is herbal tea?
Before anything else, in case you’re unaware, you should know that herbal tea is not a true tea. As it happens, in some countries you can’t even call herbal infusion as tea. This is because true teas (green tea, black tea, and oolong tea) are the cured leaves of Camellia Sinensis.
On the other hand, herbal teas are beverages usually made by infusing the roots, leaves, and flower parts of a plant (from herbs, spices, fruits, and flowers). While it’s also different from decaffeinated teas. Although it can be blended using true teas, which are known as flavored teas.
These teas lack caffeine. Many drinkers appreciate it since it has a wide availability of flavors, as well as it offers plenty of health and wellness benefits.
However, finding the perfect “cup of tea” for you nowadays may be overwhelming, given that there are too many varieties to choose from. But we are here to help! So without further delay, here is the list as promised.
Ginger tea is one of the most popular herbal drinks. Ginger, as well as turmeric, is hailed by many due to its immunity-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits. The proven benefits of this traditional drink are great for people battling with pain and infections.
Moreover, ginger was shown to also have properties that may help aid weight loss, lessen menstrual discomforts, and may enhance mood and brain function. It helps alleviate heartburn, stomach aches, indigestion, ulcers, nausea, vomiting, and even fights the common cold.
The spicy taste of ginger makes a cooling and soothing drink. To bring ginger tea to new heights, try adding a little bit of honey and a slice of lemon for a new flavor dimension.
Pronounced as ROY-boos, and also known as “redbush tea”, rooibos tea is also popular with herbal tea drinkers. Research suggests that this tea has antioxidant properties which are somewhat similar, or possibly more potent than those of green tea.
Studies show that drinking rooibos tea may help the liver by enhancing its antioxidant capacity, which reduces damage induced by toxins. Some studies even reveal that it can help lower blood pressure levels, and may relax tense muscles.
The tea is made from the leaves of the red bush plant known as rooibos or Aspalathus linearis plant. It is native and cultivated exclusively in the mountainous region of Cederberg, South Africa.
The tea has a smooth profile, with a natural sweetness, a slightly tart finish, and a nutty taste. There are two types of this tea though; the red rooibos and the green rooibos. The traditional one—red rooibos is an oxidized tea, while the green one is not oxidized.
It’s naturally caffeine-free also, making it an ideal based tea.
The daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family, chamomile is a well-known herb. It’s a good alternative to black or green tea, even though it’s naturally caffeine-free, it is still a stimulating drink since it has an earthy yet sweet taste.
Chamomile has been consumed for thousands of years as a natural remedy for several health conditions.
Chamomile tea is a wondrous beverage to calm your senses. Known for its calming effect, this tea can relieve stress and tension in your body. It can also help lessen your anxiety.
Chamomile can also help people with insomnia and those suffering from a restless sleep. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which helps bind certain receptors in the brain thereby promoting sleepiness.
This tea has been proven to help manage digestive system-related problems. Anecdotal evidence shows that drinking chamomile tea may help soothe stomach ache, cramps, gas, diarrhea, and other digestive ailments.
Being a rich source of antioxidants, it helps strengthen the immune system and helps fight diseases like those caused by inflammation and bacterial infection. Several studies also show that it may aid in improving heart health, may benefit blood sugar control, and may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
A delightful cooling drink, peppermint tea also has several health benefits aside from freshening your breath! The refreshing minty taste and scent of this tea can be attributed to its essential oils—some of this includes menthone, menthol, and limonene. Peppermint is an aromatic herb that’s a cross between spearmint and watermint.
This tea, just like chamomile, can also help in reducing stress and anxiety. Its menthol content helps as a natural muscle relaxant. This can also lessen the intensity of menstrual cramps for ladies.
Also the same as ginger, peppermint tea can help relieve nausea and digestive tract ailments as it also contains anti-inflammatory properties. Studies reveal that it can effectively fight certain types of bacteria that cause food-borne and contagious illnesses. Since it contains menthol, it can also help in unclogging your sinuses.
Peppermint is a calorie-free tea that can reduce appetite. It lacks caffeine too making it a good beverage to help you relax before going to bed. However, this tea is not recommended for pregnant women as it may increase the risk of miscarriage.
An increasingly becoming popular herbal infusion, rosehip tea is made from the dried pseudo-fruit of the rose plant. With its flowery tastes, a slightly tangy and sweet edge—it’s something you should try!
Drinking rosehip tea is linked to numerous health benefits. It has a high concentration of vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It has anti-aging benefits, may improve immunity, heart health, and even as a pain reliever for arthritis.
If you want to boost your immune system, reduce joint pain, and have healthy-looking skin—then this tea is for you! However, it is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women.
Lemon balm tea
Lemon balm tea is commonly called Melissa (Officinalis), an herb that belongs to the mint family. With its subtle fragrance than lemon verbena, but stronger than lemongrass—lemon balm offers an aromatic mint and citrusy flavor. It’s best served with a dash of honey.
And just like peppermint tea, it can help relax your body and elevate your mood. It can even improve your memory. Just like other herbal infusions, it’s rich in antioxidants—making it able to prevent heart disease and help increase skin elasticity.
An herbal tea that is heart- and liver-friendly, hibiscus is one delicious tea you should try. According to several studies conducted, drinking this tea may increase your body’s good cholesterol levels thereby decreasing the bad cholesterol in your blood.
It has antiviral properties too which is being considered as possible medicinal use soon. Historically, the herb has been used to treat heart disease, decrease body temperature, soothe a sore throat, and treat high blood pressure.
It has cranberry-like, sweet, and tart flavors that can be served hot or iced. Hibiscus tea is a natural calorie- and caffeine-free drink.
A note to remember though is that consuming too much (especially in concentrated form) of hibiscus or any herbal drink may interfere with certain medications. In particular, hibiscus tea interacts with medications such as hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic) or aspirin. If you are taking high blood pressure and diabetes medication, monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar as consuming hibiscus may decrease your levels.
Pregnant and lactating women should not drink this tea as well.
Licorice root tea
Beloved by the early Egyptians and the Chinese, licorice root tea has been used as a cure-all herbal concoction. Licorice root was widely used as a sweetener in candies, as well as a natural flavoring to cough drops, beverages such as alcohol, and tobacco. Yet, it has been used for centuries for its medicinal benefits.
Licorice root tea has been praised for its ability to fight respiratory problems. It helps reduce phlegm and open airways, thus making it a useful remedy for colds and flu. It also helps reduce the pain caused by a sore throat.
And just like the other herbal concoction, be aware that drinking licorice tea may have a few side effects. It may interact with blood pressure medications. It can also cause numbness and muscle pain if it is consumed in large amounts.