When is tea not really tea at all? When it's an herbal tea!
Herbal teas are brewed from dried plants. Various parts of the plant may be used for making herbal teas; your beverage may come from steeped flowers, leaves, stems, roots or a combination of these parts.
Now, true teas are plant-based as well, but they come from one specific plant: Camellia sinensis. Black tea, green tea, white tea and oolong tea all fit the definition of true teas, and they offer a myriad of impressive health benefits.
Health Benefits of Herbal Tea
Health benefits of Drinking Herbal Tea
However, just because herbal teas don't come from Camellia sinensis, that doesn't mean that they aren't good for you. These drinks, too, offer a host of health benefits. Keep reading to learn how herbal teas like peppermint and rooibos can help to improve your health and wellbeing.
Reduce InflammationRosehips have a galactolipid that can help to lower inflammation levels in the body. Therefore, drinking rosehip tea may be an effective way to tame inflammation and improve related symptoms. Researchers have suggested that this benefit could be useful for people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or various types of arthritis.
Rosehip tea isn't the only herbal variety that may help to bring down your inflammation level. Ginger tea and rooibos tea have also been linked to this benefit. True teas, such as white tea, can ease inflammation as well.
Improve Cardiovascular FunctionThe health benefits of drinking herbal tea include a number of heart-related advantages. For example, researchers have demonstrated that, like green tea, rooibos tea may help arteries to stay healthy. Lemon balm tea has also been scientifically linked to keeping arteries in good shape.
Sage tea is good for cholesterol levels. In one small study, participants who drank sage tea for four weeks lowered their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, and their HDL cholesterol levels went up. Studies have shown similar effects from drinking rooibos tea. Some people also believe that hibiscus tea is good for cholesterol, but the jury is still out on that.
People who experience heart palpitations, such as those related to mild stress and anxiety, may do well to brew lemon balm tea regularly. Researchers have shown that taking lemon balm extract twice a day has the potential to cut down on the number of palpitations that people experience.
Protect Against CancerThe health benefits of herbal tea may include some cancer-fighting abilities. Essiac tea, the ingredients of which are derived from rhubarb, sheep sorrel, burdock root and slippery elm, is widely touted as an all-natural cancer cure. While that claim is more anecdotal than scientifically supported, there has been a bit of research to back it up. Scientists have found that essiac tea may be able to fight the spread of prostate cancer. However, it hasn't been shown beneficial for breast cancer patients, and anyone undergoing chemotherapy should always consult a doctor before drinking essiac.
When it comes to preventing colon cancer, sage tea may be helpful. In one study, scientists demonstrated that drinking sage tea provided a measure of DNA protection that was useful in keeping cancer cells from forming.
A compound in ginger may help with breast cancer prevention. Known as 6-shogaol, this compound is available in dried ginger, such as the form used for brewing tea.
One word of caution: Drinking very hot tea has been linked to higher rates of esophageal cancer. The increase has been seen only in people who also smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol regularly. However, if that describes you, you would do well to let your tea cool to a moderate temperature before sipping it.
Strengthen BonesA cup of rooibos tea may be good for your bones. Because tea is a plant-based food, it naturally contains polyphenols. Studies show that polyphenols have antioxidant properties and can increase cellular health while also reducing inflammation levels. These characteristics are thought to contribute to tea's ability to increase bone mineral density. In addition to rooibos tea, green and black tea are also useful for this purpose.
Soothe Digestive WoesIf you have an upset stomach, some herbal varieties of tea may be able to help. Peppermint tea may help to soothe abdominal pain, reduce nausea and calm heartburn. Chamomile tea may calm diarrhea.
Also, chamomile tea may help to treat stomach ulcers. In fact, some research has shown that it may be more effective than popular digestive medications.
Ginger may also be useful at fighting ulcers, but its most popular use is as a remedy for nausea. Sipping ginger tea may help to lessen nausea related to pregnancy, carsickness, chemotherapy or a number of other causes.
Shorten Recovery TimesWhen you're sick, a cup of echinacea tea may be the key to feeling better faster. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how echinacea can help when you're sick, but it's possible that this it has immune-boosting properties, particularly when it comes to the common cold or other upper respiratory infections.
Plus, it turns out that your grandma knew what she was talking about. Hot beverages really can help you to breathe better when you're feeling stuffy. Therefore, it's smart to prepare a cup of herbal or oolong tea when you're under the weather.
Relieve Menstrual TroublesIf you suffer from menstrual cramps, try sipping ginger tea during your period. Researchers have found that women who supplement with ginger during the first few days of their periods start to feel better sooner than those who don't take ginger. In fact, studies show that ginger can be just as effective as taking ibuprofen!
Boost MemoryIf you have a tendency to forget things easily, it might be a good idea to start drinking sage tea on a regular basis. Studies have shown that sage extract can help both young adults and older adults retain information more readily. Sage may also improve your ability to pay attention to details.
Sage tea may also help to preserve your memory as you age. Studies indicate that sage could offer some protection against dementia.
Get Better SleepOne of the most restful health benefits of drinking herbal tea is its ability to fight insomnia. Drinking just one cup of passionflower tea a day may improve sleep quality.
Chamomile tea is often recommended as a sleep aid. Scientific study results on this tea have been mixed. However, one study showed that new mothers who drink chamomile tea often achieve more restful sleep than other postpartum women.
Calm AnxietyOne reason that the health benefits of herbal tea include sleep improvement is that they may work to lessen feelings of anxiety. Passionflower tea is especially good for this purpose. Studies show that its effects may be comparable to those of one common anxiety medication, and the tea has fewer side effects. Lemon balm tea can be good for anxiety too.
Which herbal teas will you be adding to your pantry? One of the best things about herbal tea is just how many options there are, so don't limit yourself to only one or two varieties. Keeping a diverse mix of tea on hand ensures that your daily beverage selections will stay interesting. Plus, since each type of tea has its own unique properties, varying your intake is a great way to ensure that you're getting a broad spectrum of health benefits from your daily cups of tea.