The Healing Power of Herbal Tea
Tea goes back to China almost 5,000 years ago. Herbal teas were
specially blended from plants that exhibited medicinal properties
to maintain health and prevent illness. Find out what makes tea
so beneficial and how you can craft your own custom blend to stay
Technically speaking, tea is the dried and processed leaves of
Camellia sinensis, and includes four main varieties: black, oolong,
green, and white tea.
Black tea, produced when tea leaves undergo an oxidizing process
that turns the leaves black, has the strongest flavor and the
highest content of caffeineabout one third the caffeine
you would get from the same cup of coffee. Oolong tea is slightly
less oxidized and has less caffeine. Green tea is steamed, rolled
and dried immediately after harvest, which halts the oxidation
process, allowing the leaves to retain their green color. White
tea undergoes the least processingthe young tea buds are
picked and then air-dried. All of these varieties have different
health benefits, with green tea and white tea leading the pack.
Experts believe that flavonoids are the key health-promoting
ingredient in tea. These polyphenol antioxidants are present in
many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been found
to help prevent cell damage. Recent research suggests that tea
may protect against heart disease and many types of cancer.
What about herbal tea?
Well, herbal tea is not really tea at all, but actually an infusion
or tisane made from various leaves, flowers, fruit, or herbs.
Herbal tea is sometimes enjoyed for its delicious taste and many
times enjoyed for its medicinal properties.
While real "tea" boasts many healthy benefits, a major
pro to herbal tea is that it is caffeine-free. Also, you can tailor
your tea to your needs by selecting herbs and plants that address
the health issue you want to target.
The list of tea recipes that follow are just a few combinations
to help you heal.
1. Warming tea for cold hands and feet
For a warming tea from head to toe, make cinnamon and clove tea
by putting 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 teaspoon of cloves in 3 cups
of water and boil for 15 minutes. Strain and drink 3 cups each
day. Drink one cup in the evenings to warm your insides, which
encourages a good night's sleep.
Specially blended Winter Tea makes use of herbs that expel cold
while warming and tonifying your kidneys.
2. Pore-opening tea for combating a cold
This is a traditional Chinese remedy for a "wind cold",
which usually occurs during seasonal changes and is often a result
of exposure to drafts. At this early stage, Chinese medicine suggests
that perspiration is helpful in removing the pathogens from the
Boil one chopped garlic clove, three slices of ginger, one chopped
scallion, some basil, and a pinch of cinnamon in 24 ounces of
water for five minutes. Drink the tea hot and go to bed. Cover
up and prepare to sweat. Sweating opens the pores, releasing trapped
pathogens from the skin. Drink at least 3 cups of tea daily until
For "wind heat" type of cold, which is characterized
by high fever, sweating, sore throat, cough, headaches, and a
yellow nasal discharge, you would see a Chinese medical practitioner
for an herbal blend that is individualized for your needs.
3. Alertness-Enhancing Tea
The next time you need to spice up your concentration, instead
of reaching for harsh stimulants like coffee, try the potent yet
gentle energizers in your spice rack. Studies have found that
compounds in everyday herbs and spices can increase mental function
and physical vitality. All these herbs and spices contain volatile
oils that stimulate your senses and increase alertness: dill,
oregano, cilantro, rosemary, sage, bay, peppermint, ginger, garlic,
parsley, cinnamon, onion, chives, garlic and leek. Make a tea
from any combination and drink whenever you need a pick-me-up.
4. Herbal Hearing Aid Tea
The traditional Chinese remedy for diminished hearing is to make
a tea from herbs that gently restore the ear. Make a hearing aid
tea by boiling together for 15 minutes: 4 cups of water, 1 heaping
tablespoon each of oregano, cilantro, rosemary, and sage, combined
with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 3 slices of fresh ginger. Drink
three cups a day for three weeks and hear the difference.
5. Stomach-Settling Tea
Ginger has been shown to soothe the digestive lining and balance
gastric juices. Make ginger tea by slicing fresh ginger root into
2 inch long slices and boiling in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes.
Strain out the ginger and sip the tea slowly. Drink ginger tea
as often as you need to settle your stomach and keep nausea away.
Or steep 1 teaspoon each of mint, rosemary, oregano, cilantro,
sage, and basil in a cup of hot water. Drink after each meal to
soothe and prevent bloating.
A very popular herbal tea is Internal Cleanse Tea, which is specially
combined to detoxify, calm nerves, clear the mind, balance emotions,
and ease digestion.
Try the whole Tao Tea collection, specially blended to bring
you balance in mind, body, and spirit.
Follow these tips for best benefits:
* Tap water affects the taste of tea. It is best to use fresh
filtered water. To learn about a high-performance filtration system
that I recommend, click here.
* To extract the most beneficial compounds from the tea leaves
or bags, let them steep for three to five minutes.
* It is best to drink tea unsweetened and without milk, which
can minimize some of the health benefits. Forgo the sugar and
try instead honey, stevia products, or a stick of cinnamon.
February 9, 2010