Peppermint? Green? Ginger? We are forever being encouraged to drink a cup of herbal tea, for its claimed health and medicinal qualities. But how many of us actually know the real benefits of the drink? In this article I will sum up why we should consume herbal teas and some of the really great health benefits of 4 main varieties.
What is herbal tea?
Despite the name, herbal teas actually contain no tea! They are a blend of leaves, seeds, roots and bark of which specific flavours can be extracted when placed in hot water. Consuming the liquid allows us to receive all of the plants benefits in an easily digestible form.
Why should we drink them?
Herbalist Marianne Beacon of Elderberry Herbals sums up this point excellently. "In a lot of ways, we might get more benefit from a good organic tea than from a vitamin pill. You're getting the benefits of hydration. There's the social element: Tea is something that you can share with people. And when you're drinking herbal tea, you get aromatherapy at the same time- and that's something you don't get from a tablet!"
Benefits of four popular types of tea
Whichever one of these blends you choose, you are sure to feel the health benefits of them!
An excellent remedy for the first stages of infection, Ginger has warming capabilities that allow it to induce fever and speed up the healing process. These warming properties also cause the widening of blood vessels that enable an increased blood flow to reach joints reducing rheumatic pains. Finally a well-known benefit of ginger is it ability to relieve the symptoms of nausea.
Often included in "sleep easy" teas, chamomile contains tryptophan an amino acid known for its tranquilizing effects therefore acting as a relief from mild insomnia. Studies have also shown the herb to soothe the stomach after a meal or during illness.
One of the worlds most consumed teas, massively popular within Asian countries and increasingly so throughout the world. Containing high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols that help supress free radicals, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels ensuring the heart is kept healthy. Also said to give an energy boost and keep the skin looking vibrant the full benefits of green tea can be felt by consuming 3-4 cups per day.
Naturally caffeine free, peppermint is the perfect choice to ease nausea, vomiting and stomach problems. Stimulating bile production the herb breaks down any fat in the digestive system therefore relieving nausea. As well as this benefits mint contains fantastic amounts of potassium, calcium and Vitamin B making it an excellent tool to fight the common cold of flu!
Louis Bedwell is a qualified Holistic and Sports nutritional advisor, Health Sciences student, sports fanatic and founder of "The One Expedition".