Herbal tea is completely different from the other varieties of tea. Although not being tea in the true sense, herbal tea is one of a selection of fresh herbs containing medicinal properties. By infusing a teaspoon of these fresh herbs like mint, ginger, jasmine (and many others) into hot water, their medicinal properties seep into the water giving the drinkers the desired effect, which could be laxative, curative, refreshing, sedative or antacid in nature.
Herbal tea is referred to in various ways
Some of the nicknames given to herbal tea are sleeping tea, slimming tea, dieters' tea, cholesterol lowering tea and many more depending upon their specific medicinal effect.
Besides offering a caffeine-free alternative, herbal teas also have a range of associated nutritional and wellbeing benefits.
A small selection of herbal teas with their individual health benefits
• Black Cohosh Tea
– useful for the symptoms of menopause, menstrual discomfort as well as hot flashes, mood swings and vaginal dryness. Also used for relieving muscle aches, fighting high cholesterol levels and arthritis.
• Butchers Broom Tea
– this tea may help ease varicose veins,
contribute to the overall efforts to treat atherosclerosis while lessening the pain associated with arthritis
and rheumatism. Butcher's broom tea is well known for helping to alleviate hemorrhoids
• Chamomile Tea
- boosts the immune system and fight infections associated with colds. This tea also helps with back pain and arthritis while relieving muscle spasms and menstrual cramps in women.
• Echinacea Tea
- can be used to treat the common cold, influenza outbreaks and mild to moderate infections of all kinds because it boosts the immune system. The tea can also be used to supplement treatment for hemorrhoids plus has antiseptic properties so can be used to treat septicaemia and other impurities of the blood.
• Ginger Tea
– treats a range of health issues, including nausea, morning sickness in pregnancy, indigestion, colds, headaches and inflammation.
• Honeybush Tea
- this South African tea takes its name from the honey-like scent of its flowers. This sweat herbal tea comes from the Cyclopia intermedia shrub. Benefits include aiding digestive processes, easing insomnia, treating allergies and lowering blood cholesterol levels.
• Milk Thistle Tea
– is used to cleanse and detoxify the liver. It also supports the liver in cleansing the blood and can be a component in overall treatments against such liver diseases as cirrhosis, hepatitis, gall stones and liver cancer. It can increase secretion of the bile and enhance the flow in the intestinal tract, help ease kidney and bladder irritations while aid the removal of obstructions in the spleen.
• Rooibos Tea
– a member of South Africa’s fynbos family, this naturally sweet tea has become world-famous. High in antioxidants and low in tannins, rooibos is made from the Aspalathus linearisplant and assists with relieving tension, allergies and digestive problems.
• St. John’s Wort Tea
– this tea may help in fighting major and mild depression while relieving pain especially those from spinal injuries and puncture wounds. Further conditions such as clearing bruises, sores and other skin problems, anemia, jaundice and clearning chest congestion may also benefit. St. John’s Wort can be useful in fighting headaches.
• Uva Ursi Tea
- this tea is used to treat urinary tract infection and vaginitis. Uva Ursi releases polysaccharides that keep bacteria in the bladder and urethra lining, thus allowing the microorganisms to get flushed out by urine. Also used to treat kidney infections, accumulation of uric acid, and kidney stones
Tea versus Tisane
(herbal tea) - tea is made from the leaves of the bush Camellia sinensis while herbal tea, or tisane, is made from any other plant. Herbal teas should not be confused with flavoured tea, which is black tea mixed with other plants. Examples of flavoured teas include Earl Grey (black tea mixed with bergamot) and Jasmine Tea (Chinese tea with jasmine flowers).
Herbal teas can be made from virtually any part of a plant
That means including the roots, leaves, seeds or even flowers. Boiling water is poured over the harvested parts and allowed to steep for a few minutes, after which the tisane may be sweetened.
Herbal teas have grown in popularity due to their therapeutic applications and provide a good source of antioxidants. Although black teas are generally higher in antioxidants, the full flavor and caffeine-free nature of herbal teas make them an attractive alternative.
So next time you are in the tea aisle at your local supermarket, have a look at some of the available herbal options.
You never know when you could find a new favorite that’s also good for your health!