What is Herbal Tea?
Herbal tea looks like tea and is brewed in the same way as tea, but it not actually a tea at all. This is because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made. Herbal teas are actually infusions, and are properly called tisanes. Tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical elements that give them their taste and provide the benefits of herbal teas.
Unlike other forms of tea, herbal teas contain no caffeine. They also taste great and are easy to drink. Your herbal tea may consist of one main herbal ingredient or it may be a blend of herbal ingredients, designed to bring about a specific purpose, such as relaxation, rejuvenation, relief from a specific condition, and other things.
Noted Benefits of Herbal Teas
Firstly, it is important to note that there is a huge array of herbal teas available on the market – each one designed to have a specific therapeutic or medicinal benefit. However, there are some general benefits that can be obtained from herbal teas, and these include:
- achieving a more calm and relaxed state of mind
- supporting heart health
- aiding with stomach and digestive problems
- providing cleansing properties for the body
- promoting energy and wellness
- nourishing the nervous system
- strengthening the immune system
- providing antioxidants to the body
- boosting energy levels and invigorating the body
- relieving stress
- helping to avoid colds
- stimulating the internal organs
- promoting a good night’s sleep
- it is caffeine free and tastes great
Some Common Herbal Tea Ingredients
There are many different herbs that can be found in an herbal tea, each with a different use. Some common ones include:
Allspice – helps to soothe the common cold and relieves upset stomachs.
Anise seed – aids digestion and freshens the breath. It can also soothe a cough and improve bronchitis.
Chamomile – is renowned for its calming properties and is also said to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic. Calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory. Great for nervousness, PMS, cramps, flatulence, and colds.
Chrysanthemum – is sweet-tasting and is able to reduce body heat resulting from fever. It also helps protect against liver damage and neutralizes toxins. A Chinese herbal tea remedy. Lowers blood pressure, relieves headaches, helpful for cold & flu, helpful for skin issues, may help tinnitus, helps dizziness, and has been believed to help mental alertness and vision.
Cinnamon – is calming and helps to support healthy circulation and digestion.
Dandelion: Liver decongestant, cleansing, diuretic. Great for bile secretion, indigestion, constipation, and helpful for skin conditions.
Echinacea: Immune system support, anti-inflammatory, tissue healing, blood and lymphatic cleanser. Helpful for eczema, psoriasis, hives, allergies, fever, cold & flu, weak immune system, slow-healing wounds, allergies, and infections.
Fennel: Expectorant, enhances breast milk production, gentle liver and bile stimulant. Great for indigestion, nausea, cough & cold, suppressed or insufficient lactation.
Ginseng – stimulates vitality and helps the body stay healthy.
Ginger root – is excellent for improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion, nausea, lung congestion, and arthritis.
Green Tea: Anti-ageing, Antioxidant, mild stimulant, astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory. Great for cancer prevention, treatment of gum disease, inflammation, and mild cases of diarrhea.
Hawthorne – strengthens the heart and increases blood flow.
Hibiscus: Antioxidant, diuretic, immune boosting. Great for lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, colds, and weight loss.
Jasmine: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune support. Great for blood circulation, mental concentration, cancer prevention, enables regular bowel movements and cleanses the urinary tract.
Kava: Sedative, anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, clarifies thought process and improves memory. Great for depression, anxiety, cramps and muscle aches, PMS, asthma, and topically great as an anti-fungal.
Lavender: Relaxant and antispasmodic. Great for asthma, bronchitis, spasms and constriction of urinary tract and bladder, muscle cramps, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, upset stomach and flatulence. Topically great for infections, irritable skin conditions, and healing for wounds.
Lemongrass – is frequently used due to its calming properties. Antioxidant, anti-fungal, antimicrobial. Great for reducing blood pressure, improving circulation, reducing flatulence, improving skin, boosting immune system, calming to nervous system, detoxifying to organs, reducing cellulite, and help tone muscle and tissue.
Lemon Verbena: Lemon Verbena - like citrus liqueurs such as Poire William and Calvados - are traditionally used in France as a digestive aid. This is because the citrus content helps to break down fats in the digestive tract.
Licorice: Soothing, expectorant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, liver protective, adrenal gland tonic. Great for soothing coughs and clearing phlegm, bronchitis, liver inflammation, ulcers & colitis, and adrenal insufficiency.
Mullein: Soothing expectorant, soothing diuretic, soothing to lymph and mucus membranes. Great for allergies, inflammation, dry cough, mouth sores, respiratory issues, and lymphatic irritation.
Nettle: Antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, urinary tonic and diuretic, astringent to mucus membranes. Great for seasonal allergies, chronic inflammations, arthritis, excessive mucus discharge, burning or difficulty urinating, and skin disorders.
Parsley – is a diuretic and helps with kidney function.
Pau d'arco - has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, yeasts (including Candida albicans), viruses (including herpes simplex types I and II, influenza virus, poliovirus and retroviruses) and parasites.
Peppermint – is good for stress relief. It also helps with stomachs and digestive issues and helps to freshen the breath. Stomach antispasmodic, breath freshener. Great for bad breath, indigestion, heartburn, upset stomach, muscles aches, flatulence, nausea/vomiting, congestion and cough, stress, asthma, and skin disorders. The taste and aroma can be energizing and stress reducing.
Red Clover - use as a medicine for menopausal symptoms, cancer, mastitis, joint disorders, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis and eczema. It is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Rose hips – are a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They are a liver, kidney, and blood tonic, and are a good remedy for fatigue, colds, and cough.
Rooibos: Antioxidant, antispasmodic, soothing. Great for irritability, mild depression, hypertension, headaches, heartburn, nausea, stomach cramps, healthy skin, healthy nervous system.
Sarsaparilla – promotes energy and healthy skin.
Slippery elm – helps to relieve stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems.
St John's Wort: St John's Wort is an extract of a small yellow flower commonly found in Britain and Europe. It is a mild anti-depressant and shown to be an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Recent medical research shows that St John's Wort helps with depression by raising chemical levels in the brain.
Making Herbal Tea
When you are making your herbal tea, use fresh, cold water. Do not use aluminium cookware as it can affect the taste. Use glass, cast iron, or stainless steel where possible. A tea strainer is very helpful as it lets you create your own blends of teas or herbs, and stops the leaves and flowers from escaping into the drink.
Once the water has boiled, add one heaped teaspoon of herbs for every cup of water. Cover and let the herbs steep for ten minutes. Do not over-steep the herbs as the flavour may become too strong and taste more medicinal rather than pleasant. If you want to enhance the flavour of your tea, honey or lemon can be great choices.