A cup of tea is the first thing we all reach for in the morning – before we even think about getting fully dressed and made up for the day the kettle’s clicked on and the tea’s brewing. Traditional English tea isn’t necessarily the best for your health however and instead there are plenty of anti-oxidant packed herbal and green tea varieties which taste great and are definitely better for your health.
Herbal teas have a vast range of health benefits - including relaxing your stomach to helping cure insomnia - and different types of tea have different healthy properties.
What is herbal tea?
You’d think the clue was in the name but it’s actually not true. Herbal tea isn’t actually made from the specific tea plant. It’s simply an infusion of leaves, seeds, barks or roots and other extracts in hot water. All these different materials are infused together in boiled water so they can be enjoyed in a tea-like way.
Benefits of herbal tea?
As mentioned different ingredients have different properties and benefits. Some specialists believe that a decent organic herbal tea can be more beneficial to your body than a vitamin tablet and you get the benefits of hydration as well as the goodness within the drink.
Choosing a herbal tea
The first thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing your tea is to make sure you’re buying from a reputable, quality retailer and where possible buy teas which are caffeine free. The effect of caffeine on your body can dampen the other positive benefits of your chosen herbal tea. Where possible you should avoid teas which contain flavourings, essential oils or any additives whatsoever and when brewing your tea give the brew at least 10 to 15 minutes to infuse so you can get real enjoyment from your drink.
There are hundreds of different herbal tea infusions and below we’re looking at seven of the most popular and beneficial teas regularly available.
Chamomile tea has both relaxant and sedative qualities. It’s made from naturally blooming flowers and can be valuable treatment in the battle against insomnia. It can also be a valuable tool in aiding digestion if you drink it after a meal.
Experts recommend peppermint tea as a treatment for abdominal gas build up and bloating and it can also relieve muscle spasms. It can also help relieve the symptoms of nausea and for helping the body increase its temperature and generate sweat. Peppermint is a herb easily grown at home if you fancy brewing your own tea too.
Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm has mood lightening qualities and is said to naturally enhance and improve the mood and spirits. It can help aid concentration as it helps shift worry and anxiety and there are even suggestions it can help children who suffers from nightmares have a peaceful night’s sleep. Lemon balm is a great refresher and can be enjoyed on ice as well as warmed up.
Rooibos tea is one of the most anti-oxidant packed options on the market. It’s high in Vitamin C and a range of other vitamins and is renowned for its many health benefits. It’s an ingredient mainly grown in South Africa and is has been heralded as a treatment for all manner of things from slowing down the ageing process to relieving eczema.
Rosehips are the fruit that the rose plant produces and are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin C available on the planet. Vitamin C is essential in protecting the body’s immune system, skin and tissue health as well as ensuring its adrenal function is satisfactory. Rosehip tea is a great choice when you’re on a health kick.
Everyone knows ginger is a powerful anti-emetic but it’s also much more than that. Despite having a strong, enjoyable flavour it can also be useful in fighting off winter colds and keeping uncomfortable chills away. Combine it with lemon for a traditional flavour combination that really works.
Milk Thistle and Dandelion Tea
We’ll admit neither of these ingredients sound that appetising but they can have seriously positive effects on your body. Milk thistle and dandelion both offer cleansing qualities, specifically liver cleansing. Even in capsule form they’re recommended for anybody undergoing a detox and they help your liver to regenerate and work more effectively.
Next time you brew up maybe you’ll have a think about how every sip of your favourite drink could be having a positive impact on your health. Choosing a healthy herbal tea instead of a traditional brew may take some getting used to but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Your taste buds will adapt and you whole body will benefit in the long run so give it a go. After a while of being caffeine free you'll notice you have plenty of energy naturally - especially if you combine it with a few visits to the gym. Don’t give up the brew, just give up the caffeine.
by Kath Webb
by Laura Briggs
by Kath Webb
by Kath Webb
by Jessica Ambrose