As far as warm beverages go herbal teas are wildly slept on. Coffee and black tea are so much more popular. Herbal teas are so diverse with a range of flavours and health benefits. They deserve more love. These 10 essential herbal teas only scratch the surface of how many there are!
Tea is not only a handy way to contribute to your water intake per day, but herbal teas are often caffeine-free, or at the very least contain less caffeine than coffee. Many ailments can be somewhat eased with specific teas. With unlimited flavours and combos; there’s bound to be something for everyone.
Here are 10 essential herbal teas you must try:
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Peppermint tastes only lightly minty, so it definitely doesn’t taste like drinking toothpaste!
This kind of tea is most commonly recognised for the fact that it aids digestion, making it a perfect beverage for after a meal. However, the fact that it helps ease bloating isn’t it’s only benefit.
Peppermint is a muscle relaxant. This means peppermint tea has the capacity to relieve pain, cramps, and headaches. The aroma from peppermint tea can also help clear a stuffy nose. Unsurprisingly, peppermint tea also freshens breath!
With no caffeine, peppermint tea can be drunk at any time of the day, with no need to limit the amount of cups you have.
Made from the daisy-like chamomile flower, chamomile tea is best known for its ability to aid sleep.
Chamomile tea actually does more than help relax and soothe its drinkers to sleep. It has been shown to lower blood sugar – however, this doesn’t mean that people who are diabetic can forgo insulin in favour of herbal tea. Chamomile tea simply helps with the necessary treatment of diabetes.
What’s also amazing about chamomile is that it can actually help alleviate symptoms of osteoporosis due to its anti-estrogenic effects. Loss of bone density is common in post-menopasual women due to the hormonal changes. Chamomile can actually help preserve and promote bone density.
Surprisingly, if you suffer from hay-fever then you should avoid chamomile tea as it might be contaminated with pollin.
Green tea is the face of healthy herbal teas for very good reasons.
Those who drink green tea are less likely to develop breast and/or prostate cancer, as well as other cancers because of the antioxisants. It also wards against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s due to the catechin compounds in it.
The Japanese are considered to be among the healthiest people in the world. They have a life expectancy of 83.98 years – compared to an average life expectancy of 78.69 in the US, 80.96 in the UK, and 81.61 in Ireland. Their large consumption of green tea, especially matcha, is likely to be a contributing factor.
Green tea contains an average of 25mg of caffeine per cup. This is half as much as black tea tends to contain, and a quarter of the caffeine in an average cup of coffee. Although there isn’t a lot of caffeine, it may disrupt sleep if taken before bed.
If you don’t like the taste of green tea, you might prefer matcha tea. Matcha tea comes from the exact same leaves, but tastes smoother.
Raspberry Leaf tea
Raspberry leaf tea is not the same as raspberry or red berry tea, as it’s only made from the leaves of the raspberry plant and does not contain any of the fruit itself. However, this uncommon tea has a lot of worthwhile health benefits.
Raspberry leaf tea contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, and E, as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Raspberry leaf tea is a godsend for anyone with a uterus as it helps ease menstrual cramps and even difficult and complicated labour and pregnancies. Pregnant woman drinking raspberry leaf tea were even less likely to need a C-section.
As far as herbal tea goes, raspberry leaf tea is not among the nicer tasting ones. I’d recommend adding sweetener such as maple syrup or blending it with a stronger flavoured loose-leaf tea.
Oolong, green, and black tea are all made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, however, the difference is how they’re processed. Black tea is made when the leaves are oxidized until they turn dark, whereas, green tea is barely oxidized. Oolong is basically a mixture of the two as it’s oxidised longer than green tea but not as much as black.
Oolong contains trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fluoride. Like chamomile tea, oolong also helps to lower and control blood sugar levels, which can help manage diabetes. The tea is also beneficial for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes with studies showing those who drink oolong tea as less likely to get heart disease and suffer from a stroke.
Oolong has more caffeine than green tea with an average of 36mg per cup.
White tea is made from the same plant as oolong, black, and green tea. It’s the least processed out of all of them as it’s made from the leaves before they blossom and are still covered in fine white hair; which is where the name comes from.
White tea is rich in antioxidants as it’s mostly left in its natural state, these antioxidants help protect against premature aging, nerve damage, and inflammation. It’s also good for heart health because it contains Polyphenols which can prevent “bad” cholesterol from oxidizing and relaxes blood pressure.
White tea also has cancer-fighting properties with studies showing it killing and suppressing cancer cells.
Yellow tea is arguably the most underrated tea. The little wonder tea is unfairly slept on. I think the unpopularity is due to the fact that it’s just not as easy to purchase as other types of tea.
Yellow tea is different from other teas due to its production which is called “sealed yellowing”. The tea is enclosed and steamed, giving it a lighter smoother flavour than green tea. The way tea leaves are treated, oxidized, or fermented has a huge effect on the flavour and benefits that tea ends up having.
Like other herbal teas, yellow tea is also anti-cancerogenic, promotes heart health and is good for diabetics. It also offers digestive benefits, such as easing symptoms of IBS, diarrhea, and ulcers. Yellow tea can also prevent fatty liver disease.
I think the big reason yellow tea is unjustly slept on is its ability to protect skin from sun-inflicted UV-damage.
Ginger is seldom enjoyed on its own due to its strong taste but is a must-have – especially during winter.
The immediate benefit of ginger tea is the fact that it combats nausea. It’s a god-send during flu season as not only does it ease an upset stomach, but also helps to bring back your appetite. It can also help with unblocking sinuses and easing congestion. The antioxidants will help ward off the next cold. Add some cinnamon and nutmeg if you want to feel like you’re drinking Christmas in a cup!
Ginger tea is also great for easing muscle and joint pain due to the root having anti-inflammatory properties, as well as helping with circulation.
If you don’t like ginger tea, why not make yourself a delicious but simple gingerbread latte?
Cherry tea is also a tea I think is unfairly slept upon and difficult to find. Any cafe or shop that used to sell it quickly abandoned it, as I was probably the only one buying cherry tea! Now cherry tea is a DIY job by either lazily squeezing cherry juice into warm water, or manually dying out cherries.
It’s not uncommon for teas to help prevent against certain types of cancer, and help ease symptoms of diabetes and arthritis, and cherry tea is no different. However, what makes cherries special is the fact that they can help ease muscle pain associated with exercise, which makes them a healthy and ideal post-work-out snack! Many health stores offer concentrated cherry juice for this reason.
What’s also amazing about the little red fruit is that they can also help improve memory and sleep.
Chai tea and chai lattes are among the more popular herbal teas and beverages. In the Western world Chai tea refers to tea made from a variety of spices, but in the Middle East and countries such as China, “chai” just means tea. Chai tea generally has a base of black tea and contains spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel, and pepper. Some blends might contain other herbs and spices like peppercorns and ginger.
Drinking chai tea means getting the benefits of all these herbs and spices. I would think of chai tea as a super tea. Cinnamon is a very popular ingredient in chai tea which helps stop the build of tau in the brain, which is a protein associated with Alzheimer’s as well as protecting neurons and helping with neurological function in those with Parkinson’s. Black tea helps improve gastrointestinal health, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.
Bonus tip: Add saffron
Saffron is an expensive herb due to the fact that each saffron flower only produces three or four strands. It takes a lot of saffron flowers to make a small amount of it. I would argue that saffron is worth the price. Saffron is a mood-boosting food and can alleviate some symptoms of mild to moderate depression. It can also help improve the eye-sight in people with age-related sight loss.
Whenever I drink loose-leaf herbal tea at home I add a few strands of saffron. Saffron’s taste is so mild it’s not noticeable at all in tea, but the health benefits are! Why not get even more out of these 10 essential herbal teas with a pinch of saffron?
Do you drink any of these 10 essential herbal teas? If so, what’s your favourite?
Bonus tip: Why not do the environment a favour and enjoy these teas on-the-go in with reusable coffee cups and portable tea infusers?