Drink your medicine! Herbal tea has been used in alternative medicine to treat everything from cancer to constipation for thousands of years. Not only is a warm cup of tea great tasting, but studies have shown that tea may protect against heart disease, Alzheimer’s and many types of cancer and other diseases. Certain herbal teas can even boost the immune system, calm nerves, and increase focus. Below is a list of some of my favorite herbal teas:
Ginger is famous around the world for soothing the stomach, fighting inflammation, stimulating circulation, reducing spasms/cramps, and fighting internal infection. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) ginger is classified as yang (hot energy) and is used to relieve summer discomforts and problems caused by what TCM calls “pathogenic” cold and bacteria. This include indigestion, loss of appetite, lack of energy and conditions related to spending hours in air-conditioned rooms. Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory agent blocking prostaglandins – the chemical messengers that cause a slight swelling in the brain. Ginger tea reduces inflammation in about the same amount of time as it would take an aspirin to work!
To make fresh ginger tea, simply boil a cup of water and place 1-2 1 inch pieces of ginger in your cup and let sit for 5-10 min.
Additional benefits of ginger include:
- Helps with IBS
- Stimulates appetite
- Helps with weight loss
- Relieves tired muscles
- Helps with morning sickness
- Relieves gas
- Clears sinuses
- Boosts immunity
- Helps the body maintain glucose levels
Passionflower has the flavone chrysin, which has anti-anxiety benefits. It works best for people with anxiety who also experience a lot of circular thinking or obsessive thoughts. Try a cup of passionflower tea before bed to calm your mind.
Passion flower has been shown too improved quality of sleep in a study published in the August 2011 issue of “Phytotherapy Research.” Participants, ages 18 to 35, with mild sleep disorder, consumed a cup of passion flower tea each night for one week and recorded their quality of sleep in a diary and questionnaire. Results showed that passion flower significantly improved six measured components of sleep quality compared to a control group that did not receive passion flower.
Yerba Mate Tea
As someone who can no longer drink coffee, (makes me SUPER irritable and anxious) this is the next best thing. Called “the drink of the gods” by many indigenous South Americans and later “the green gold of the Indios” by European settlers. Yerba mate is a traditional drink made from the dried leaves of an evergreen holly, Ilex paraguariensis, a native plant of South America.
The obvious and immediate benefits of yerba mate are increased energy and enhanced mental clarity, alertness, focus, and concentration.
Yerba mate tea is also chock full of antioxidants and vitamins and can help you lose fat. It contains the fat-fighting compound mateine, which gives you a metabolism and energy boost. Known as a cravings-killer, it saves you from consuming empty calories you’d normally reach for. Additionally, yerba mate does not produce the caffeine-related crashes that some people experience with coffee and can give you 3-4 hours of very stable, clean energy. If you are looking for a great coffee replacement, I highly recommend yerba mate.
White tea is less processed than other forms of tea, therefore the polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, are extra potent. White tea contains ECGC, an antioxidant that prevents new fat cells from forming and fights signs of aging, like wrinkles. White tea contains nutrients and antimicrobial qualities that protect the body against occurrence of diseases. Research indicates that these benefits may protect against colon cancer, among other cancers. White tea’s flavor ranges from delicate to bold.
- Contains antioxidant and antiaging properties
- Improves oral health
- Antibacterial properties
- Helps with weight loss
This tea has many properties that can help keep you in tip-top health. It contains a phytonutrient called EGCG that increases the hormone CCK, which is responsible for creating the feeling of satiation. Green tea’s high EGCG content also makes it an effective cancer fighter. Studies show that drinking green tea may potentially prevent the onset or slow the progression of dementia.
This tea has antihistamine properties and can prevent hay fever or allergy attacks from happening in the first place. It also relieves annoying allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Nettle tea is dense, so brew it for 15-20 minutes. Make a larger pot during allergy season and keep in the fridge. Add lime to freshen taste. I tend to suffer from allergies in the spring and I would drink this tea with much relief. In addition to tea, I would make sure I would take a probiotic, drank apple cider vinegar and water, and used a neti pot. These practices combined helped ease my allergy symptom. Nettle tea is great for overall health as well. The benefits don’t stop at just relieving allergies. Nettle is a very powerful herb and can help our bodies heal.
Some of the many benefits are:
- Nettle stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity
- Nettle relieves arthritis symptoms
- Nettle promotes a release from uric acid from joints
- Helps to support the adrenals
- It helps with diabetes mellitus
- Strengthens the fetus in pregnant women
- Promotes milk production in lactating women
- Relieves menopausal symptoms
- Helps with menstrual cramps and bloating
- Helps break down kidney stones
- Reduces hypertension
- Helps with respiratory tract disease
- Supports the kidneys
- Helps asthma sufferers
- Stops bleeding
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces incident of prostate cancer
- Minimizes skin problems
- Eliminates allergic rhinitis
- Lessens nausea
- Cures the common cold
- Helps with osteoarthritis
- Alleviates diarrhea
- Helps with gastrointestinal disease, IBS, and constipation
- Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque when used as a mouth wash.
- Has been shown to be helpful to in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
- Relieves neurological disorders like MS, ALS and sciatica
- Destroys intestinal worms or parasites
- Supports the endocrine health by helping the thyroid, spleen and pancreas
Peppermint tea is a delicious and refreshing way to boost your overall health in a number of ways, due to its ability to improve digestion, reduce pain, eliminate inflammation, relax the body and mind, cure bad breath, aids in weight loss and boosts the immune system. Its impact on the digestive system is considerable, and its base element of menthol is perhaps the most valuable part of its organic structure. This delicious yet potent tea can also relieve constipation. Whenever you experience an uncomfortable bout of constipation, peppermint tea is sure to improve motility in the GI tract and get you going.
- Fever reducer
- Digestive health
- Immune booster
- cure for bad breath
- stress reducer
- boost overall health
- pain reliever
Valerian Root Tea
If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider valerian tea. The natural compounds in valerian root have been used as a sedative and may help reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep. Try drinking valerian root tea a couple of hours before bedtime as a safer alternative to habit-forming sleep aids. Combine with passion flower and chamomile for a potent sleep tea.
Holy Basil Tea (My Favorite)
Holy basil is considered the “Queen of Herbs” in India. This herb has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. One of the biggest benefits of holy basil is that it is an adaptogen, which basically means it reduces and combats the effects of stress. Whenever I drink this tea (about a tablespoon steeped for 6-8 min) I feel so at peace with the world and my stress melts away. It makes me feel calm and also gives me metal clarity. This little herb has some other pretty amazing qualities including:
- Sore throat relief
- Cough soothing
- Balanced emotional health
- Improved memory