What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘herbal tea’? Relaxation, health, and a natural remedy for a plethora of ailments. They range from nausea and infections to nasty indigestions and colds. However, it’s imperative you choose the appropriate type of herbal tea for your specific needs. Contrary to common belief, not all herbal teas are alike, and they clearly impact our bodies in different ways. To get the best therapeutic value out of your cup of herbal tea, here are the best options you can choose from.
What Is Herbal Tea?
Weirdly enough, although so many people drink it, not everybody knows the ins and outs of herbal tea. The first indicator of this funny situation is the fact that the name itself is wrong. In fact, it’s not mistaken per se, but it is an oxymoron. The word ‘tea’ refers strictly to a beverage obtained from the leaves of the tea plant, called Camellia sinensis. This beverage is the traditional black, green, white, yellow, oolong, etc., tea. However, since herbal ‘tea’ does not contain any trace of Camellia leaves, it cannot be called ‘tea.’ The correct term is ‘herbal infusion’ or ‘tisane’.
Nonetheless, herbal tea, to use the modern vernacular, is usually made of all edible plants available, herbs, spices, flowers, dried fruit, roots, bark, stems, pits, and all other parts of a plant fit for consumption. Once again, these infusions or decoctions are different from tea, as far as taste and composition go. They also differ in the sense that herbals teas do not contain any caffeine. This trait is what makes them perfect for people suffering from different diseases, for children and for women during pregnancy.
Herbal teas can be enjoyed both hot and cold, and they have always been a part of people’s diets. And when we say ‘always,’ we mean that literally. Archeologists have unearthed documents from Ancient Egypt and Ancient China that prove people were big fans of these infusions even back then.
The Best Herbal Tea Options for You to Put on Your Next Grocery List
Although herbal tea did receive a bit of a hard time because it’s not truly tea, its effects on human health cannot be denied. Here are the best teas out there and what they can do for you and your lifestyle.
#1. Chamomile Tea
One of the most famous teas in the world, chamomile tea has been used for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. This is due mainly to the fact that the plant itself is available virtually anywhere and because chamomile has an excellent calming effect on the nervous system.
This small, beautiful flower calms the mind, relaxes you and helps ward off stress. It’s also a great cure for insomnia, as one cup of strong chamomile infusion is known to take you right to dream land. The best thing about it is that, unlike pills and supplements, for example, chamomile allows you to go to sleep naturally, and truly rest while you sleep.
But the beneficial effects chamomile infusion has on the human body do not stop here. It also works wonders on your digestive system, relieving your indigestion and your bloating. Mix it with some raspberry tea for an even better taste. Cleanse your face with a chamomile flower and leaf homemade concoction for a healthy and glowing complexion.
#2. Nettle Tea
Despite its ugly exterior, with little hairs that prickle upon touching, nettles are in reality very healthy. They are a natural remedy for a whole array of ailments, such as high blood pressure, anemia, kidney and bladder conditions, urinary infections, coughs, colds, congestion, arthritis, and rheumatism.
To make nettle tea, according to the old recipes, you have to add some fresh nettle leaves to a pot of water and boil them together. One cup of leaves requires approximately two cups of water for a healthy concoction. In case you want your infusion to be even stronger, steep them longer. More water will be necessary if you want a weaker tea. A couple of minutes will be sufficient for this tea to simmer.
There is no need to buy nettles. You can go foraging for them, as they grow almost everywhere. Don’t go very far from your own home, as they grow around human settlements, seeing as they love rich soils. However, be careful not to pick the ones that grow near highways and roads. They have been most likely sprayed and have taken in toxins from passing cars. You may also find chamomile along the way as it, too, grows naturally around human settlements, so you get two for one.
#3. Peppermint Tea
One of the most potent and fragrant herbs out there, peppermint is not only delicious but healthy as well. It positively solves all digestive problems, by reducing flatulence and helping you process food better. It also alleviates nausea and vomiting, especially if it’s caused by motion sickness.
Another ailment peppermint tea can significantly help with is herpes. Although it does not cure it per se, it greatly reduces the outbreak, dries it up, and doesn’t allow it to spread. If you suffer from halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, it’s peppermint to the rescue again. It also helps cool you down on hot summer days, so you can enjoy a tall glass of peppermint iced tea anytime. In case you’re on a weight-loss diet, don’t sweeten the tea. This peppermint tea recipe is safe for pregnant women, no matter how concentrate you make it, as long as it’s organic.
#4. Lavender Tea
Although it’s mostly used as a scented herb, lavender is also very healthy. It’s an amazing sleepytime cure for insomnia, as it naturally relaxes the body and the brain and it induces peaceful sleep. It also uplifts your spirit and fights sudden bouts of depression. Lavender has amazing healing properties, so this means you can use the tea to wash cuts, open wounds, sores, and ulcers.
Use it if you are flatulent or have an upset stomach, as it will alleviate all these symptoms. Another great thing about this beautiful flower is that it brings down fever in adults and children alike. You can also wash your chest with this herbal tea, to reduce a cough, asthma attacks, bronchitis, and some other respiratory problems. Lavender comes in many types, but all of them are edible, so you needn’t worry.
#5. Lemon Balm Tea
Another fragrant and delicious herbal infusion is created around the excellent lemon balm plant. Melissa officinalis works as a tonic for distressed nerves and anxiety problems. As the elder say, it truly soothes the soul. And the body too, for that matter, since lemon balm helps cure sores, both in the mouth region and genital ones. Herpes falls under the same category and is quickly relieved by this herbal tea.
To make the lemon balm infusion even more potent, mix it with valerian. You will feel calmed down and relaxed in no time. Combine it with peppermint to create a powerful natural anti-flatulence remedy.
Once again, you don’t even need to buy this herb. It’s free because it grows everywhere. It’s part of the peppermint family so you can find it in gardens, fields, and on the side of roads. In fact, it’s considered a weed, that’s how widely spread it is.
#6. Rosemary Tea
Surely enough, you use rosemary in your cooking, mostly for tasty roasted potatoes and veal. However, you can also make a very healthy herbal tea out of it. Its primary advantage is that it relaxes the muscles, so be sure to drink it when you’re sore or after a good workout. If you suffer from gallbladder problems or liver issues, drinking this tea every day will relieve your symptoms. It also works as a mild laxative and it’s slimming.
To make this fragrant tea you will need one or two sprigs of fresh rosemary or one teaspoon of the dry kind. You can either add them to two cups of boiling water or half a liter of cold water if you decide to broil them together. You can sweeten this tea by adding up to three teaspoons of honey to it.
#7. Hibiscus Flower Tea
Hibiscus is also called sorrel, and it makes for an herbal tea that is not only delicious but healthy as well. It will reduce your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system since it’s very high in Vitamin C and it will lower your cholesterol levels. This infusion also reduces hypertension, so it’s good to have it in the cupboard if you know you have problems with this.
Scientists have recently performed studies on hibiscus flowers and the herbal tea stemming from it, and they have discovered that it’s high in antioxidants. They will protect your cells from damage and malevolent radicals. Although it’s a bit harder to procure pure hibiscus flowers, you can find them in red zinger tea and sorrel tea. They are pre-packed and can be purchased from your local grocery store.
#8. Milk Thistle Tea
Milk thistle is a medicinal plant with a bright purple flower on top. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with dairy milk. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to detoxify the body and help the liver along in its detox mission. It also helps the natural flow of the bile. It’s typically prescribed for milder cases of jaundice, hepatitis, and cirrhosis.
Apart from making an herbal tea out of it, you can also eat milk thistle. Its roots can be boiled, buttered or roasted, but you can also consume them raw, in the shape of a salad. The young shoots are cut down in spring and boiled, the bracts you see just under the purple flower are eaten just like one would eat an artichoke, and the leaves are safe to be consumed instead of spinach. You need to trim all the prickles away and boil them.
#9. Rosehip Tea
Rosehips are actually the fruit of the plant called ‘rose.’ The most common type is orange-red in color, but they can vary from dark purples to blacks. The plant grows quite tall and produces beautiful and very fragrant white flowers. When they have fully bloomed, and all the petals have dispersed, only the hips remain and can be picked.
Their number one trait is the fact that they are very rich in Vitamin C. In fact, they pack a whopping 50 percent more Vitamin C than oranges. Simply put, one single tablespoon of rosehips will provide an adult more than his daily needed dose of Vitamin C. That’s how powerful these little fruits are.
Another amazing thing is that you can eat them in numerous ways. Firstly, you can eat them raw because they are tasty. However, you can also soak them in water, cook them or put them in a blender. You can also make jam or different sauces out of them. Rosehip herbal tea is very ease to make, seeing as all you need to do is to boil them. Apart from that, it’s one of the most delicious herbal teas you’ll ever drink.
#10. Lemongrass Herbal Tea
You might be familiar with lemongrass thanks to the major part it plays as a spice in Asian cuisine. However, it’s widely used to make tea as well, seeing as it has so many benefits. The tea itself is mostly served after dinner to aid with the digestion and to freshen one’s breath. It has a tangy taste, and you may have noticed how much it resembles good old lemons in this regard. That’s because both lemons and lemongrass are high in a substance called citral, very active in the fruit’s peel.
#11. Cardamom Tea
This lovely plant is evergreen and grows mostly in Guatemala and India. It produces white flowers with pink middles which are used to make the herbal tea in question. However, cardamom seeds ca be used as well, and they are much more familiar to us than the flowers. Its flavor is aromatic, strong, and sweet, a perfect combination for a relaxing cup of tea. It will treat your stomach aches, your indigestion and cure your flatulence. You may also drink it if you’re feeling nauseated, as it will relieve that symptom as well.
What’s interesting to note about cardamom in its herbal tea form is that it’s a powerful enemy to phlegm. Drink it if you have a cold, are coughing or have pulmonary issues. Cardamom also detoxifies your system. Researchers, as well as everyday users, have noticed that drinking a cup of cardamom tea after drinking too many cups of coffee will help withdraw the caffeine from your system fast.
Last, but not least, cardamom is ideal for women who struggle with heavy premenstrual syndrome. If you’re experiencing mood swings, hormonal distress or you’re feeling bloated, cardamom will fix those problems in a flash.
‘Tea is balm for the soul, don’t you agree?’ said famous British author P.L. Travers. She might be on to something, so why not grab a cup of herbal tea, sit back and relax for a while? Or, maybe two or three, seeing as they are so healthy and beneficial to your body.