With winter well and truly here we find ourselves turning to a nice cuppa for some warmth and comfort. Luckily, herbal teas can have wonderful therapeutic effects, making them a perfect addition to a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of my favourites and their health benefits to inspire your tea selection.
Ginger Tea - This one is a nice winter warmer as it really helps to get the circulatory system going and warm up the body. It has a warm flavour and helps reduce inflammation and alleviate nausea. Using fresh ginger is best when possible – just chop up a few slices and add hot water and even honey and lemon to taste. This combination is great for soothing a sore throat.
Peppermint Tea – Peppermint has an invigorating quality making it a nice refreshing start to the day in place of coffee. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience showed that the aroma of peppermint led to improved memory and alertness. It has more of a cooling quality but is helpful in winter colds as the menthol in peppermint has a decongestant effect. Peppermint is also great for digestion and helps alleviate bloating and nausea. Loose leaf tea or fresh leaves are best when available.
Chamomile Tea – This is an age old remedy that has been used for calming and soothing children suffering from colic. In herbal medicine it’s used as a carminative to alleviate bloating and abdominal discomfort. Chamomile also has relaxing and sedative qualities which makes it useful in alleviating anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. Chamomile is the ideal tea to have in the evening about an hour before going to bed to help induce sleep.
Turmeric Tea (Golden Milk) – This one takes a little bit of preparation but is worth it for the wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric. Golden Milk is a popular drink on the Japanese Island of Okinanwa, home to highest population of centenarians. To make this drink simply heat 2 cups of coconut milk (or almond or soy) with 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon of grated fresh turmeric and 3-4 black peppercorns. Cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, then strain and serve (sweeten to taste).
Green Tea – Super high in antioxidants and with only a quarter of the caffeine of a cup of coffee, green tea is a great option. The antioxidant compounds found in green tea are called polyphenols and are thought to be responsible for the powerful antioxidant action of the tea. They neutralise free radicals in the body which otherwise have the potential to cause cell damage and lead to accelerated ageing and disease. In addition, green tea has been found to boost metabolism and help burn fat.
Incorporating herbal teas into your lifestyle is easy. Whether you carry some tea bags with you to have the option of your favourite cuppa when you’re out and about or keeping a small teapot at your office to allow you to make it part of your daily ritual. A pot of tea is a great way to bring people together and making tea with fresh herbs such as peppermint can be a refreshing addition to a dinner party.
Yours in natural health,
Herbs can interfere with some medications and may not be suitable for some age groups, during pregnancy and alongside certain medical conditions. Always consult your healthcare professional before commencing a new dietary regime, before using any supplements and before making any changes to prescribed medications.