Herbal Tea

Besides being a tasty, warming, caffeine-free pick-me-up, herbal tea has lots of wonderful health benefits, from fighting colds to helping you sleep better to providing beneficial anti-oxidants.  If you herbal drink tea every day, you can make all sorts of significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being, and your energy.

Herbal tea is made from the leaves, seeds, roots, flowers, or bark of a plant and extracted in hot water. In drinking a well-steeped herbal tea, we get all the plant’s benefits in an easily digestible form.  

It’s really easy to make your own herbal tea infusion to drink at home. Many herbs can be bought in bulk, ordered online, or you can buy or grow the whole plant and pick and dry the herbs yourself. To get the full benefits from drinking herbal tea, steep your loose tea or herbs in a covered vessel in order to retain the beneficial essential oils which contain the medicinal properties. And make sure you steep it for long enough— as long as 10 to 15 minutes—to really bring out all the healthful properties.

Here are some suggestions on delicious and therapeutic herbs you can easily find and enjoy at home:

Peppermint tea can be made using fresh leaves from a peppermint plant, which is one of the easiest herbs to grow- just steep the leaves in hot water. Peppermint helps you digest foods better and will ease nausea and vomiting, especially if you suffer motion sickness.  Other health benefits include control of muscle aches, clearing of congestion and mild coughs, mild asthma and reduction of stress. Scientists found that peppermint tea contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which helps digestion and calms upset stomachs and diarrhoea.  However, if indigestion or heartburn are problems, avoid peppermint altogether.           

Chamomile is popularly used as a tea worldwide. Chamomile soothes the stomach and relieves bloating and indigestion. Chamomile is also known to fight insomnia by relaxing the body and the mind. Use chamomile tea in cases of cough and bronchitis, when you have a cold or fever, or as a gargle for inflammation of the mouth. Be sure to steep it well to get all the medicinal benefits.

Ginger  both stimulates and soothes the digestive system.  It helps arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to curb nausea, vomiting or upset stomach due to motion sickness. Make fresh ginger tea by simmering a piece of ginger root on the stove for 10 - 15 minutes—add fresh lemon juice and honey when you have a cold for a powerful germ-fighting tincture.

Rooibos is high in vitamin C and has been touted for its antioxidant properties, which may in turn help ward off disease and the signs of aging. It has also been shown to help with common skin concerns, such as eczema. It is commonly sold in teabags in most stores.

Lavender tea is made out of the fresh or dried flowers that grow on the plant. Used as a scented herb for many centuries, a cup of lavender tea can soothe your mind and body, inducing sleep. If you are feeling down and depressed, a cup of lavender tea can help uplift your spirit. It also helps soothe and treat flatulence, colic, bowel infections and an upset stomach.  Lavender tea is used to reduce body temperature during fever and can be used as a wash to help heal wounds, cuts, ulcers and sores. 

Lemon balm tea is extremely fragrant and is a very effective tonic to calm nerves and anxiety. Cold lemon balm tea bags help relieve cold sores and lemon balm contains several properties which control herpes and also regulate the thyroid. An easy-to-grow plant that can be made into tea with either fresh or dried leaves, lemon balm is helpful for lifting the spirits and improving concentration.

Rosemary can help your muscles to relax and is an effective digestive aid as well.  Drinking rosemary tea regularly can greatly help relieve gall bladder and liver complaints. Rosemary tea also relieves cough and mild asthma symptoms. You can brew the needles either fresh or dried.

Hibiscus Flower Dried Hibiscus flowers are made into a tea that is known to lower blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol and strengthen the immune system , due to its high vitamin C content. Hibiscus flower infusions have been known to reduce hypertension and are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals.

Cardamom tea has a pungent, sweet and aromatic flavor. Cardamom tea helps treat indigestion, prevents stomach pain, and relieves flatulence and nausea, and also works as a good expectorant and relieves coughs. To make a delicious infusion, crush and boil the cardamom pods, adding a cinnamon stick or fresh cloves for an extra kick.

Echinacea is widely used to prevent or cure the common cold. It’s a powerful herb that contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and have antioxidant effects. The leaves and flowers of the uppermost part of the plant are believed to contain polysaccharides , a substance known to trigger the activity of the immune system. Echinacea tea is commonly sold in all health food stores, or you can dry the leaves and flowers to make your own.

Dandelion  Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells. It is also a liver decongestant, and is great for bile secretion, indigestion, and constipation. Most lawns have dandelions growing on them- you can make tea out of both the leaves and flowers, as well as eating them raw in salads- they are highly nutritious!

Nettle is made with the leaves of stinging nettle and is one of nature’s best remedies for an assortment of ailments including anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis, coughs and colds, congestion, urinary tract infections, and kidney and bladder problems. It’s also great for seasonal allergies, chronic inflammations, arthritis, excessive mucus discharge, burning or difficulty urinating, and skin disorders. Make sure you wash the young leaves before boiling them, to remove the dirt and needles!