It’s Tea Time!
Nothing feels better on a cold day than wrapping your fingers around a mug of hot tea. Sipping a delicious herbal blend can be a welcome pause in a busy day and will warm you from the inside out. There are so many varieties to choose from, so we’ve highlighted six that are particularly health-supportive at this time of year.
First, a little tea 101:
There are two types of teas: traditional and herbal. Traditional teas—like black, green, red or oolong, and white—are made from tea plant leaves and help to eliminate toxins, aid digestion, support the major organs, and are a good source of the B vitamin folacin, vitamin C, fluoride, and magnesium (Wood, 2010). Herbal teas are made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots and have lower concentrations of antioxidants than traditional teas (Edgar, n.d.).
- Nettle Leaf: Known for its antihistamine properties, nettle leaf tea is known to soothe allergies.
- Peppermint: Most commonly used for digestive issues, peppermint tea helps with constipation, indigestion, and gas. Inhaling the peppermint vapor can help with congestion and colds (Graedon, 1999).
- Valerian Root: Although it was used by ancient Greeks to treat digestive problems, valerian root tea is most commonly used as a sleep aid and mild sedative today. Some herbalists also recommend valerian root for headaches and lingering coughs (Graedon, 1999).
- Chamomile: The daisy-like flower harvested from chamomile plants is widely used as a catch-all treatment for many types of ailments, including: digestion, congestion, stomachache, and can also be used as a mild sleep aid (Graedon, 1999).
- Ginger: Fresh ginger root can be peeled or grated and steeped with hot water, lemon juice, and honey to aid digestion, prevent flatulence, suppress a cough, and also has anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.
- Green: This tea is a powerhouse! It boasts antibacterial and antiviral properties, and, due to the high tannin content, can be used to stimulate the immune system and treat diarrhea (Graedon, 1999). It even helps the body metabolize sugar more efficiently and can make you more alert due to the caffeine content (Bollinger, n.d.).
When drinking tea, keep these things in mind:
Everything in moderation, as they say. An excess of strong tea can be mucus-forming and can deplete iron. When milk is added to tea, the casein protein in dairy inhibits the body’s ability to absorb the phytonutrients in the tea (Wood, 2010). Preliminary studies indicate that soy milk may have the same effect, so it seems best to drink tea straight with water only (Greger, 2010).
Bollinger, T., (n.d.). Cancer-fighting beverage: 10 health benefits of tea. Retrieved on 12/15/2016 from https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/health-benefits-of-tea
Edgar, J., (n.d.). Types of teas and their health benefits. WebMD. Retrieved on 12/15/2016 from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits
Graedon, J., & Graedon, T. (1999). The people’s pharmacy guide to home and herbal remedies. (pp. 283, 306, 323-324, 353, 373, 375-376). New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Greger, M.D., Michael. (2010, October 27). Soy milk suppression? Retrieved on 12/15/2016 from http://nutritionfacts.org/video/soymilk-suppression
Wood, R. T. (2010). The new whole foods encyclopedia: a comprehensive resource for healthy eating. (pp. 356-357). New York, NY: Penguin Books.