Herbal teas have been a part of tea culture since the early days of Ancient Egypt and Ancient China. Since then, these teas have been known for their incredible healing properties and delicious fruity or floral tastes.
Many herbal teas are naturally caffeine free and have various health benefits. Let's explore these benefits and the most popular varieties available. We'll also look at how they can help a person overcome everything from inflammation, high blood pressure, upset stomach, and more!
All About Herbal Teas
Even though they are called herbal tea, they are not really tea at all. The only true teas are the ones that come from the Camellia sinensis plant. These include green tea, black tea, white tea, and oolong tea.
All the leaves harvested from the tea plant go through various processing stages. The amount of oxidization, or air exposure, determines the type. For example, white tea and green tea undergo very little oxidization. In contrast, black tea and oolong tea undergo more oxidization—the more processing, the more flavor and aroma it has.
The tea leaves are then pulverized into various-sized pieces. While some remain whole loose-leaf tea, others are ground down to a powder and placed in tea bags.
On the other hand, herbal teas are made from dried flowers, dried fruit, herbs, and spices and come in several flavors. Some herbal teas are turned into a herbal blend as tea makers blend them with black tea, green tea, or other herbal tea flavors.
Health Benefits of Herbal Tea
Herbal tea has been a part of human culture for centuries. Tea lovers worldwide love herbal tea for its flavor and its many benefits to the human body. Although there's no concrete scientific proof of all the health benefits of this popular beverage, let's look at the top herbal teas and the health benefits these teas are known for.
It is worth noting that most herbal teas are entirely safe to drink, but it is essential to talk to a medical professional before including herbal teas in your daily life. Some natural remedies, including herbal teas, may interact with medication and can create serious side effects.
#1. Chamomile Tea
One of the most popular herbal teas on our list is chamomile tea. This floral and fragrant beverage has been associated with correcting and easing several health conditions, including high blood pressure, inflammation, high blood sugar levels, and stomach problems. However, its health-promoting properties are known for creating a calm and soothing feeling to promote better sleep.
One study involving patients with insomnia noticed improvements in waking up at night, falling asleep, and feeling more productive during the day after taking a chamomile extract two times a day. This means drinking chamomile tea may be the key to a good night's sleep. Some studies suggest it may help people with generalized anxiety disorder.
#2. Peppermint Tea
Another one of the most popular teas in the world is peppermint tea. The potential health benefits of mint tea seem to affect many systems throughout the body. It is best known as a drink to support the digestive system, but it may also have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and even anticancer properties.
Several studies show that peppermint oil, along with other herbs, can help relieve stomach pain, nausea, indigestion, and other ailments of the digestive tract. However, much of the research done on peppermint tea is through animal studies, so it is difficult to tell if the health benefits will affect humans.
Peppermint oil may also relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and motion sickness. Peppermint tea is also great as a refreshing iced tea. It already provides a cooling sensation, so you can use this tasty beverage year-round to offer pain relief for various stomach-related problems.
#3. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea offers a spicy, warming beverage loaded with herbal tea benefits like beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This drink is mainly known for treating nausea but may also boost the immune system.
Studies show that ginger tea can also help during pregnancy by relieving the symptoms of morning sickness. While another study reports that ginger may help relieve nausea associated with cancer treatments.
#4. Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea is a bright red tea made from the flowers of the hibiscus plant. It has a tart but refreshing flavor; the best part is you can make it hot or cold. Aside from looking pretty and tasting great, the herbal tea benefits are many.
Firstly, hibiscus tea is jam-packed with antiviral properties, and test-tube studies show that the extract can be highly effective against certain strains of the bird flu. Several studies show that this beverage may also help lower blood pressure.
If you are taking a diuretic medication like hydrochlorothiazide, avoid drinking hibiscus tea as it may interact with the medicine. It may also lessen the effects of aspirin. Consult your medical practitioner before taking hibiscus with certain medications.
#5. Echinacea Tea
Whenever you hear about a "cure" for the common cold, echinacea comes to mind. The medicinal properties of echinacea tea include boosting the immune system and fighting off infections and viruses.
Many studies show that echinacea may shorten the duration of a cold, lessen the severity of the symptoms and even prevent the cold from happening in the first place. A warm cup of this beverage is also the perfect way to soothe a sore throat or clear up your nasal passages. So if you happen to feel a cold coming on, pour yourself a cup of this delicious beverage, and in no time, you'll be on your way to being good as new again.
#6. Rooibos Tea
Our next herbal tea comes all the way from sunny South Africa. Rooibos is made from red bush plant leaves, also called rooibos (Afrikaans for red bush.) Even though South Africans stand by the benefits of this herbal tea, there has been very little research done to prove its effectiveness for a healthier life.
However, one study indicates that rooibos might help create healthy bones. Combining rooibos tea, green tea, and black tea may help stimulate the cells necessary for bone density. It may also help with inflammation, cell toxicity, and kidney stones. Another study points to rooibos tea benefitting blood circulation by opening blood vessels.
#7. Sage Tea
Sage has had a long history of having beneficial healing properties. Scientific research is starting to support some of those health claims, especially regarding brain health.
Several test-tube, human, and animal studies show that sage may assist cognitive brain function and fight against the effects of plaques responsible for Alzheimer's disease. Two studies, in particular, found that a few drops of sage improved brain function. It may also be linked to improving mood and memory in healthy adults.
#8. Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm tea gets its name from its distinctive lemony flavor. It also has many health-promoting properties. One small study involving 28 people who drank the beverage for six weeks improved the elasticity of their arteries. This may help reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and mental decline.
Other studies show that the calming properties of lemon balm tea improved cognitive health, overall general mood, and mental performance. Two studies involving 20 participants showed how different dosages of a lemon balm extract improved memory and calmness.
#9 Rose Hip Tea
Rose hip tea is made from rose hips or the fruit of the rose plant. Packed with vitamin C, this plant's compounds and certain fats found in the rose hips showed anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies found that rose hip powder can help reduce inflammation in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Health Benefits Found in Other Plants Used For Tea
Dandelion tea benefits include antioxidants that may help eliminate toxins and boost a person's immune system to fight infections.
Ginkgo biloba may help improve blood flow to the brain because of the high concentration of antioxidants. Drinking this beverage can help improve memory and overall function of the brain.
Like black and green tea, yerba mate is a herbal tea from South America that naturally contains caffeine. It has been associated with weight loss, treating depression, and relieving fatigue.
Drinking tea is a great way to relax after a long day. Whether you're drinking herbal, black, green, oolong, or white teas, you'll feel the wholesome tea benefits with each sip. Although more research is needed to understand its effect on the body, tea lovers everywhere can enjoy all the flavors of their favorite herbal teas. You can transform hot water into a healthy, soothing, and enjoyable beverage with a few leaves.