It’s cold out there! Cold enough that it makes me want to drink coffee all day long. However, the few times I have done that have led to some pretty miserable all-nighters full of staring wide-eyed at the ceiling. If you’re like me and can’t handle caffeine past noon, how about trying some hot herbal tea (or iced, if you can stand it)? There a ton of flavors to choose from, and many of them have extra health-boosting qualities!
In cultures around the world people have been brewing leaves, fruits, flowers, roots, bark and berries for centuries. Here’s why:
- Research suggests the antioxidants in tea help protect against cancer
- Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), which means it helps destroy free radicals that can damage DNA
- Tea is primarily water and therefore naturally hydrating
Herbal teas can be soothing when you’re suffering from minor symptoms, but they are primarily formulated for taste enjoyment and general health enhancement.
So what are the 7 different types of herbal teas, and will they improve my health?
- Immune stimulating blend teas: These contain tonic herbs known as Adaptogens that help strengthen or enhance the immune system, nervous system and/or glandular system while they help the body cope with stress.
- Look for: Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, Astragalus, Schisandra, Echinacea, Ashwagandha, Reishi mushrooms and licorice.
- Digestive aid blend teas: Many herbs have digestion-stimulating properties. They can help relieve gas and heartburn, stimulate the flow of gastric juices, relax spasms and cramps and dispel nausea or queasiness.
- Look for: Ginger, anise seeds, thyme, chamomile, hyssop, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, fennel, coriander, chicory, catnip and cardamom.
- Calming and sedative blend teas: After a tough day filled with stress (and usually caffeine), Americans have a tough time settling down enough to fall asleep. Sedative teas are mild in action, due to dose.
- Look for: Chamomile, hops, linden flowers, lavender, passionflower, skullcap, valerian, tilia buds and white sapote.
- Stress-relief blend teas: These teas differ from sedative teas because they are designed to help you cope with stress without becoming sleepy.
- Look for: Siberian Ginseng or Kava
- Stimulating spice blend teas: Spicy teas will warm you internally and stimulate your digestion and elimination. They need a longer brewing time and are best simmered for ten minutes to bring out their spicy flavor.
- Look for: Cinnamon, cardamom, chai spice
- Cold-fighting Vitamin C Fruit blend teas: These teas can contribute significant amounts of Vitamin C to your diet, and are delicious iced. Because they have a strong citrus accent, they are refreshing and thirst quenching and can keep you hydrated just as well as water.
- Look for: Orange, lemon, berry
- Antioxidant-rich Rooibos teas: This caffeine-free tea is unique in the herbal tea world. Rooibos (which means “red bush” and is pronounced “roy-boss”) is grown only in the tip of South Africa in Cape Town. It is the only herbal tea that is fermented like black tea, producing a deep red color and body similar to black tea but without black tea’s astringency. Rooibos is rich in vitamin C, minerals, Quercetin, Luteolin, Rutin and numerous other flavonoids that contribute to its antispasmodic, hypoallergenic and antioxidant properties.
Wow! There are so many different options for tea, there is no reason not to try one out! Visit a tea shop where you can smell the leaves and sample some of the flavors brewed that day. It’s a delicious way to warm yourself up. What is your favorite flavor of tea?