TEAS and HEARBAL TEAS

TEAS and HEARBAL TEAS

Tea is a name given to a lot of brews, but purists consider only Green tea, Black tea, White tea, Oolong tea, and Pu-erh tea the real thing. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate), may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

All these teas also have caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain and seem to heighten mental alertness.

The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.

Studies have shown that the potential health benefits of tea:

  • Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
  • Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
  • Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol

 

HERBAL TEA looks like tea and is brewed in the same way as tea, but it is not actually a tea at all.  This is because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made.  Herbal teas are actually infusions, and are properly called tisanes.  Tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical elements that give them their taste and provide the benefits of herbal teas.

Unlike other forms of tea, herbal teas contain no caffeine.  They also taste great and are easy to drink.  Your herbal tea may consist of one main herbal ingredient or it may be a blend of herbal ingredients, designed to bring about a specific purpose, such as relaxation, rejuvenation, relief from a specific condition, amongst other things.

The Benefits of Drinking Herbal Teas

Herbal teas have long been known to have medicinal benefits as well as being tasty to drink! Some favorite teas are chamomile tea, jasmine tea and ginger tea. Each of these has a distinctive taste as well as health benefit.

Chamomile tea is a favorite herbal tea that many use if they have trouble sleeping. It has natural sedative, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties so is also good for cramps. Due to its calming benefits it is often used to help relieve anxiety. It is rich in essential oil and can help the digestive system function properly. Chamomile is also very good for your skin and you can wet a cloth in the tea and use it as a skin cleanser or compress.

Jasmine tea is a combination of green tea leaves and jasmine flowers. It has a lovely jasmine scent and flavor with all the wonderful antioxidant properties of the green tea. Jasmine tea has long been used for its relaxing and warming qualities and is also soothing to the digestive system. This tea also may help lower cholesterol according to recent studies and may even help with longevity.

Ginger tea has powerful medicinal properties. It is reputed to be an aphrodisiac and can help freshen your breath! It has anti fungal and anti spasmodic properties and can help sooth stomach upset by neutralizing acids and aiding digestion. Ginger is also reputed to help relieve nausea, motion sickness, dizziness, flatulence and even help to ease muscle pain.

There are many different herbs that can be found in a herbal tea, each with a different use.  Some common ones include:

  • Allspice – helps to soothe the common cold and relieves upset stomachs
  • Anise seed – aids digestion and freshens the breath.  It can also soothe a cough and improve bronchitis.
  • Chrysanthemum – is sweet-tasting and is able to reduce body heat resulting from fever.  It also helps protect against liver damage and neutralizes toxins.
  • Cinnamon – is calming and helps to support healthy circulation and digestion.
  • Ginseng – stimulates vitality and helps the body stay healthy.
  • Ginger root – is excellent for improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion, nausea, lung congestion, and arthritis.
  • Hawthorne – strengthens the heart and increases blood flow.
  • Lemongrass – is frequently used due to its calming properties.
  • Parsley – is a diuretic and helps with kidney function.
  • Pau d’arco – has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, yeasts (including Candida albicans), viruses (including herpes simplex types I and II, influenza virus, poliovirus and retroviruses) and parasites.
  • Peppermint – is good for stress relief.  It also helps with stomachs and digestive issues and helps to freshen the breath.
  • Red Clover – use as a medicine for menopausal symptoms, cancer, mastitis, joint disorders, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis and eczema. It is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Rose hips – are a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.  They are a liver, kidney, and blood tonic, and are a good remedy for fatigue, colds, and cough.
  • Sarsaparilla – promotes energy and healthy skin.
  • Slippery elm – helps to relieve stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems.

 

To properly make herbal tea, use 1 tea bag per person or, if you are making it from the dried herbs, use 1 teaspoon of the herb. Add boiling water to the herb mixture and let sit for 5 minutes. Don’t let it sit for too long or it will start to taste bitter. Don’t drink it too soon or the herb won’t have imparted it’s flavor into the water enough. Typically herbal teas are taken “black” but you could add a little milk or some sugar or honey to taste if you like.

 

REFERENCES

1.       http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits

2.       http://www.boxingscene.com/nutrition/23374.php

3.       http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/Herbal_Tea_Benefits

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