Whether you’re a tea or coffee person, nothing beats wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of warm liquid gold every morning. Coffee is great to kick-start your day but did you know there are many herbal teas that are just as good to get that pep in your step? Actually herbal teas offer a wide range of actions and a plethora of health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what they’re all about.
Herbal teas aren’t technically tea. True tea is made from the plant Camellia sinensis and includes the varieties green, white, black and oolong tea. These teas all contain caffeine at varying levels. Herbal teas on the other hand are infusions made from other plants such as herbs, spices, fruits, flowers, bark, roots, and leaves. Some can be mild in flavour where as others really pack a punch.
Herbal teas can be made from one ingredient such as chamomile or peppermint but many varieties come as a blend to create a complimentary flavour or to target a particular health issue.
Loose leaf teas are much more readily available these days and they always taste better as they are generally much fresher than tea bags but work with what you have. To create your perfect cup or pot of herbal tea always start with hot water. Use a teaspoon per cup of loose leaf tea, cover it in boiling water and then put a lid on it while it steeps. This is to stop any essential oils within the plants from escaping and to keep your tea hot. Herbal teas can brew from between 3 -15 minutes. Light ingredients such as dried herbs, leaves and flowers take less time and chunkier parts like bark or dried roots take longer.
Now the only question is….what ones to try? Here are some great options to get you started.
Green tea does contain caffeine so this is a good option for your morning cuppa. It will give you an energy boost but it also has many other beneficial actions. It is a powerful anti-oxidant helping to combat any damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. Green tea helps to prevent and reduce the harmful effects of cancer; protects against liver and heart disease and diabetes; and helps to boost immunity.
The flavour has been described as bittersweet, nutty, buttery and floral. Don’t steep for too long or the bitterness will increase.
Another great cup for the morning. Tastes similar to instant coffee. It can be drunk black or with your milk of choice. You can buy this in varying degrees of coarseness from ground powder to chunky dried roots which would need to be boiled on the stove. The powdered form is great in a plunger.
This wonderful herb helps to support and detoxify the liver. This action may also help to reduce bloating and assist with weight loss.
Helps with digestive issues through its anti-inflammatory action; reducing bloating, heartburn and symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It is anti-nausea, anti-oxidant, and supports and stimulates immune function. It can also help to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis and dysmenorrhea (period pain).
A lovely warming cup with a spicy and slightly sweet taste. Pairs well with lemon and honey flavours.
The perfect way to end a meal. Peppermint tea is a great digestive aid helping to calm the gut easing bloating, reflux, nausea and vomiting. It also helps relieve tension headaches and migraines and is useful for insomnia.
The flavour is minty and refreshing.
A beautiful pink brew enjoyed both hot or as an iced version. Perfect for those hot summer afternoons. It has a wonderful tartness to its taste similar to cranberries. Commonly sweetened with a dash of honey.
It has antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Packed full of Vitamin C it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has a calming effect on the nervous system making it useful for reducing anxiety and stress. Its diuretic effect aids with both liver function and weight loss. And it may also help reduce blood pressure and improve healthy cholesterol levels.
Yellow in colour with a mild, floral taste and herbal aroma this tea has been used for centuries to induce peaceful sleep.
It’s a fantastic herb with multiple actions including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, anti-microbial, and liver protective. It is also useful in conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, pre-menstrual syndrome, and digestive disorders.
With so much variety, the wonderful world of herbal teas seems endless in both flavour and health benefits. So grab your favourite mug, pop on the kettle, and settle down in a comfy chair to enjoy a cup of herbal tea today.