Herbal teas have been known for hundreds of years as natural remedies for various health issues. The list of their benefits is endless and thanks to the variety of flavors and their combinations, you will never get bored of them. An interesting fact about herbal tea is that… it is not an actual tea. What is it then?
What Is an Herbal Tea?
Although the name “herbal tea” is commonly known, beverages made from the infusion of spices, herbs, fruits, and flowers in hot water are actually called tisanes. Real teas, such as black tea, oolong tea or green tea, are brewed from Camellia sinensis plant. They contain caffeine and their properties are a little bit different. Tisanes, on the other hand, are completely caffeine-free, so they are perfect for people who cannot or do not want to consume caffeine. Herbal teas are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is a great alternative to coffee, sugary drinks or water (if you are not a fan of its plain taste).
Each tea can contain just one main herb, flower or spice, or a combination of a few of them. Basically, every herbal tea is full of vitamins A, C, E, B and K, minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, amino acids and antioxidants. It is like a health bomb, filled with great ingredients.
Most Common Health Benefits of Drinking Herbal Teas
Drinking herbal teas is a great alternative if you want to improve your body processes, without reaching for pills and other medications. Herbal teas are in general healthy beverages, but some of their properties can be really amazing. They can help you with sleep issues, stomach problems, high levels of stress, inflammation, muscle pain, cognitive functions, flu and colds, toxins in your body, anxiety, the condition of your skin, and even bad breath.
How to Choose the Best Herbal Tea
The most important thing when picking a new herbal tea is its source. If you decided to give your body a little boost in a form of drinking herbal teas, then the best would be doing it right and not using any shortcuts. You are obviously looking for the health benefits and you definitely will not find them in cheap and fake ‘herbal teas’ from an unknown source. Products that have added artificial flavors and essential oils are also not a good idea.
Another important thing to keep in mind if the way you prepare your herbal infusion. It does not matter what kind of tea did you choose – made from fruits, herbs or spices. Steeping time should not be shorter than 10-15 minutes, to really make the beverage work and get the best benefits out of it.
Drinking herbal teas every day can improve so many aspects of your life. You can really make a big difference in your body, mood, energy level, and skin condition if you drink a properly made tisane. Although there are plenty of herbal teas out there, some of them are the most common ones that you can easily find and try yourself.
How to Prepare an Herbal Tea in a Right Way
As it is in a case of normal teas, the preparation process is very important. Pouring hot water and drinking the tea immediately will not help you with anything, maybe except burning your tongue. The steeping time is different for all the teas, but technically it should take around 10 to 15 minutes before the herbal tea is ready.
If you are not sure how to prepare your tea to get the best benefits out of it, you can look it up on the internet (keeping in mind that you should only use reliable sources and websites) or ask someone, who works in a shop with natural products, about it.
If you are interested in the health benefits of herbal teas, but pure taste of herbs, dried fruits or flower petals is too strong for you, you can always add natural sweeteners, like honey or stevia.
5 Best Herbal Teas
It is believed that drinking herbal teas works better than taking vitamin pills. It is definitely worth to try – herbal beverages are all natural, they will improve your hydration at the same time, and you get an extra aromatherapy!
Below you will five most popular and healthy herbal teas that you can prepare in your own kitchen and enjoy their rich flavors and amazing health benefits.
1. Ginger Tea
Ginger is an incredible root that is not only super delicious but also helps with plenty health issues, such as cold, nausea, and stomach ulcers. An old Indian proverb says that “Everything good is found in ginger” and it could not be more right. Ginger has been used in the ancient Chinese medicine – it was believed it can improve Yang, your hot energy.
What can ginger tea do for you? Plenty of things. Drinking ginger infusion can help your body absorb the nutrients faster and easier. It can soothe stomach pains and irritable bowel syndrome. Ginger is also great for managing the glucose levels and can be helpful if you are willing to lose weight, as it improves food digestion. It will also work on your mood and reduce stress level.
Drinking ginger herbal tea is not dangerous, of course, if you do not overdo it. You should not consume more than 4 grams ginger a day, as it may be hazardous, but that also means that you can still enjoy a few cups of the warming beverage. A ginger infusion can cause a feeling of heartburn and, depending on how much ginger you use for one portion, gentle stomach upset. Those effects can be comparable to the feeling of eating spicy food.
Ginger herbal tea will be great for all moms-to-be, as it reduces nausea and vomiting caused by the morning sickness. It will also keep your immune system on a high level.
To prepare a healthy ginger drink you need, of course, fresh ginger root. Wash it and peel it. You can either cut 2-3 very thin slices or grate a small amount of it. Put the ginger in a pan filled with 1 glass of water. Bring it to boil. You can add a little bit of lemon juice for an extra flavor (this is also recommended if you are struggling with a cold or the flu – great vitamin C and energy source).
2. Chamomile Tea
If you have problems with your sleep and suffer from insomnia – try chamomile herbal tea. This sedative and calming beverage will help you relax and improve your sleeping. Chamomile herbal tea effects were tested on 80 women in their postpartum. Within just two weeks of consuming the tea daily, the quality of their sleep improved, and their depression symptoms were reduced. This beverage is made from flowers that contain chrysin – a flatovoid that balances our sleeping pattern.
Chamomile might be most famous for its relaxing properties; however, the list of its benefits goes further than that. Chamomile infusion is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It can help you if you suffer from stomach ulcers.
This herbal tea is also a great choice for all the women who struggle with premenstrual syndromes, such as stomach cramps and headaches, as chamomile reduces them. It will also come in handy if you feel bloated.
Please remember that it is possible to be allergic to chamomile and if you have allergies to any other flowers and trees, ask your doctor is this herbal tea will be safe for you.
An interesting fact about chamomile herbal tea is that you can not only drink it for its health benefits but also use it directly on your body. Prepare a strong infusion, let it cool down and put it on burns and scrapes that you might have. You will see for yourself the amazing properties of chamomile. A cold tea will do wonders for your face as well. Soak two cotton pads in cooled chamomile tea, put them under your eyes and relax for 15 minutes. After that, you will feel reborn, super fresh, and your dark circles will be brightened. To make it work even better, before applying them on your face, put the cotton pads in your fridge for 5-10 minutes. Preparing a delicious chamomile drink is super easy. All you need is some chamomile flowers (they can be fresh or dried) and a pot with water. Put the water on medium heat and bring to boil. Put 2-3 teaspoons of flowers in the pot (that is a portion for 1 serving). The tea will be ready when you smell the amazing floral aroma and the water has different colors. Put the tea in your favorite mug and prepare yourself for bedtime!
3. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is another amazing herb, that will surprise you with its various health benefits. A beverage made from this plant is one of the most commonly used teas in the world. It works great for uncomfortable abdominal gas and bloating, helping you to feel light and fresh again. Peppermint will remove toxins from your body – it will heat your body up and make you sweat which will help you in the process of cleansing your body. If you have problems with your breath, you can freshen it with the naturally minty flavor of this tea.
Plenty of studies have proved that peppermint if an amazing solution for problems such as nausea, stomach cramps, stomach pain, and even irritable bowel syndrome. It will help your digestion system and remove any issues connected with it.
Peppermint tea is not recommended for people with heartburn, as it can aggravate their condition.
To prepare a delicious peppermint herbal tea you have to boil 3-4 cups of water and add the peppermint leaves. Turn the heat off and let the leaves steep for about 5 minutes. Pour the tea into a mug through a tea strainer. You can use fresh or dried leaves; the flavor and the health benefits will be almost the same.
4. Rosehip Tea
Rosehip is a little flower that can be found on the rose plants. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, which is great for plenty of health issues. Rosehip herbal tea will help you fight a cold – the vitamins will boost your immune system. This tea will also detoxify your body and reduce the level of toxins.
Rosehip tea is a great for your skin as well. It contains lots of antioxidants which will improve your skin condition and help fighting aging processes. One study proved that consuming powdered rosehip for 8 weeks can reduce the depth of your eye wrinkles, improve moisture of your skin, and the elasticity of the skin.
This herbal tisane can also help you lose weight. It reduces levels of the stomach fat and as an addiction to a sport and a healthy diet will make the losing weight process faster.
Rosehip herbal tea is very simple to make. All you need is one teaspoon of dried rosehips. You have to put it in a cup (lose or in a tea leaf holder) and add boiling water.
5. Hibiscus Tea
Another fresh and fruity tea with plenty of health benefits. It is not only delicious but has some great properties as well. Hibiscus is rich in vitamin C and thanks to it, it can strengthen and improve your overall immune system. This herbal tea will help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High amounts of antioxidants contained in hibiscus tea will protect your body from cell-damaging free radicals.
It is not recommended to drink hibiscus herbal tea if you are taking a diuretic medicine (hydrochlorothiazide) as combining them may be dangerous. Hibiscus also reduces the effects of aspirin, so you should take them with 3-4 hours break in between.
Other Herbal Teas That You Have to Try
The list of healthy herbal beverages can go on and on, and it seems impossible to mention all of them, together with their amazing benefits. However, it is hard not to name at least a few of them, as they can do wonders for our body and mind.
Thyme herbal tea is great if you are fighting with the flu – it can reduce your fever, boost your immune system, calms your stomach (which is especially important if you take strong medicines), and helps with headaches.
Lemon balm tea is perfect for the winter time. It will improve your mood and help you go through the dull feeling during long, cold months. It is also safe for children and it can be helpful in preventing bad dreams, so do not hesitate if your child has sleeping problems. This herbal tea will come in handy if you want to improve your concentration, memory, and brain functions in general. During summer, lemon balm tea will be great for a delicious and refreshing ice tea.
For cleansing and detoxifying your liver, you should reach for milk thistle or dandelion tea. They are natural remedies for regenerating and improving the functionality of your liver. Dandelion is also great for lowering your blood pressure, making the iron level in your body go up and helps you if you have vision issues.
For digestion – go for the rosemary tea. It will also relax your sore muscles, reduce your cough, and help reducing mild asthma symptoms.
Cardamom is one of the most famous Indian spices. It is commonly used for cooking, but it turns out that drinking cardamom tea is highly beneficial. For cardamom tea, you can use both the seeds or dried flowers. This herbal beverage will help you on many different levels. It helps with stomach pains and nausea. It is great for women who have issues with mood swings during their menstruation. Cardamom will also help you detoxify your body from caffeine if you had one coffee too much.
Turmeric tea, becoming more and more famous every day, is a great antioxidant. It will improve your digestion, calm inflammation, and can prevent cancer.
An herbal tea prepared from valerian root is a natural remedy for relaxation and lowering your stress levels.
We all know nettle as an annoying, stinging plant but it can do wonders for your body. The whole list of health issues that can be reduced by drinking nettle herbal tea goes on and on, but among other things, this beverage will help you fight high blood pressure, rheumatism, anemia, arthritis, congestion, infections of the urinary tract, problems with kidney and bladder, and even cough and cold.
Tea made from echinacea is a great boost for your immune system. If you are struggling with a cold, it is recommended to add an echinacea tea to your treatment routine. It will create a protective barrier on your skin to prevent infections and will eliminate inflammation of your body.
Lavender tea will soothe and calm your mind. It will improve your mood if you are stressed and feeling down. Lavender works great also for your body. Drinking lavender herbal tea can help you treat bowel infections and stomach issues. Using this beverage outside of your body, as an extra splash during a bath or a shower, will be great to heal any cuts, wounds, and sores on your body. It is safe both for children and adults.
Kava root tea is amazing for soothing your mind. It will calm you, improve your sleep, reduce stress level and detoxify your body.
For any stomach issues, you should drink anise herbal tea. It will help you fighting nausea, congestion, excess gases, and menstrual cramps.
Possible Side Effects of Herbal Beverages
Despite all the amazing health benefits, drinking herbal teas has a small risk of unwanted side effects. They are not dangerous and will not hurt you more than any other natural product, but if you do not follow a few simple rules, you may experience some unpleasant surprises.
First of all, there is of course probability that you are allergic to any herbal tea. They are made from dried fruits, flowers, seeds, and spices, so there is always a chance some of the ingredients may be harmful to you. Allergic reactions can differ, depending on the type of a tea and the amount that you consumed. You can have mild stomach pains or inflammation, but you can also suffer from fever, diarrhea, rash, vomiting or even breathing difficulties. You always have to be aware of the possible danger and see your doctor or allergist before drinking herbal teas.
Another thing to keep in mind is a right dosage. Any food or drink consumed in larger amounts can be dangerous and it is the same with herbal teas. They contain plenty of active ingredients and chemicals, so drinking it excessively can cause negative side effects. For most of the teas you can consume about 1-2 cups per day, to still be able to enjoy the health benefits, without worrying you will overdose.
One of the biggest mistakes that may end up tragically is picking the wild herbs for tisanes yourself, especially if you just started your herbal tea adventure or have no knowledge about herbs. Many wild plants look alike, and while one can turn into a delicious and healthy beverage, the other one will basically kill you. A better idea would be going to a natural health store and collecting your favorite herbal teas from the shelf instead of a forest.
Be careful with herbal teas if you are currently taking any medications. Herbal beverages can have many various properties that may be dangerous if combined with other medications. Ask your doctor about your possibilities.