Health Benefits of Tea
Healthy living isn’t just about what you eat. It can also be about what you drink, and herbal teas are powerful beverages with recognized health benefits. A good brew contains substances linked to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and its high content of polyphenols, an antioxidant, can help reduce inflammation and affect the progression of chronic diseases.
To understand the benefits of tea, you need to start by understanding its true varieties. True teas are brewed from the leaves of Camellia sinensis—the tea plant—producing green tea, black tea, white tea and oolong tea.
Herbal teas, however, are a bit different. They aren’t necessarily brewed solely from the tea plant, but instead made with dried plants, flowers, fruits and herbs, sometimes infused into a true tea variety. Herbal teas pack their own health punch from stress relief to better immune health, depending on the herbs and plants used. Here are 10 types of herbal teas that your body will love.
Chamomile tea is an ancient medicinal herb, most associated today with relaxation and bedtime. Even popular tea brand Celestial Seasonings literally named one of their most popular chamomile teas Sleepytime Tea, and there’s a good reason why. The tea induces a calming effect as a mild sedative and can help remedy insomnia. Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and can treat a variety of digestive and gastrointestinal issues.
If you’ve ever blended ginger into your morning smoothie, you know this plant has plenty of benefits in digestion. And, many users have reported the tea assisting with muscle aches and arthritis pain. Ginger’s rich phytochemistry is also pretty impressive, collecting and removes free radicals from the body. The compound can control the extent of colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, and prostate cancers, according to this article in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
This herb, native to South Africa, is harvested, dried and brewed into a reddish-brown infusion more commonly known as “African red tea” or “red bush tea.” One key benefit of this tea is its positive effects on blood pressure. This study found that a single dose of the tea acted as an ACE inhibitor, reducing the restriction of blood vessels similar to high blood pressure medications. The tea has also been shown to have positive effects on bone mass and significantly lower LDL cholesterol.
Rose Hip Tea
This tea is made from the fruit of the rose plant and, for starters, it’s high in Vitamin C. Since the tea also reduces inflammation, it’s a great add for people dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The tea has also proven effective in weight management, and this 12-week study found that incorporating the plant, without any other dietary intervention, resulted in decreased BMI.
Dandelion tea is highly regarded for its many health benefits, including aiding in digestion, detoxifying the liver, providing antioxidants and more. Perhaps most exciting is the anti-diabetic properties of dandelion since it contains inulin which includes fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). This complex carbohydrate can actually normalize blood sugar levels.
Turmeric is a powerful herb that most notably can aid with pain, from disorders like arthritis, fibromyalgia and migraines to mild aches and soreness. Turmeric’s primary active ingredients, curcuminoids, give it that yellow color and a host of health benefits. Some preliminary studies by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) have shown that curcuminoids may also help post-heart surgery patients from suffering another heard attack, control knee pain from osteoarthritis and reduce skin irritation after radiation treatments for breast cancer patients. NCCIH does note that turmeric should be taken moderately, as too much long-term may cause gastrointestinal issues.
It may seem counter-intuitive to drink a spicy tea to treat a sore throat, but cayenne tea can actually help reduce irritation and relieve congestion. And, this tea is easy to make at home, mixing cayenne pepper with hot water, lemon juice, a bit of honey and apple cider vinegar. The capsaicin in cayenne not only gives the pepper its spicy flavor, but also its health benefits. Studies show that the chemical compound may have an impact on metabolism and weight management strategies like hunger control, the breakdown of fatty acids and heat generation.
Aside from being a low-calorie beverage that’s flavorful and refreshing, the tea in your mug may be giving you a bonus you didn’t even know about. Explore and try new herbal teas and discover a wealth of benefits that may have a positive impact on your health and wellness.