An ancient Chinese proverb says: Better to be deprived of food for three days than of tea for one.
Tea has been a favorite beverage worldwide for hundreds of years. A pot of tea shared among friends can bring an air of enchantment to an afternoon, and a cup of tea with a book on a rainy evening can bring warmth and peace of mind to any restless soul.
The tea plant been called the Plant of Heaven for 4,000 years and has been highly valued as a drink of pleasure and as medicine.
Peppermint tea is famous for easing aches and pains associated with colds and flu, as well as headaches and bad breath. Rosemary tea on your scalp can encourage hair growth. Chamomile tea in your bath does wonders for your skin and aids relaxation. And Thyme tea is a powerful antiseptic and helps heal infections.
Each tea and herb has it’s own history and folkloric tale that are absolutely captivating. Mint has been valued since biblical times and was even used to pay taxes, some herbal remedies are honored as sacred and dedicated to deities and others were prized medicines by the local wise woman (or Witch).
Drinking an herbal tea with your daily diet is a drugless source of natural healing providing simple yet effective defense against dis-ease. Most herbal drinks are packed with powerful antioxidants that fight free-radicals in the body and boost the immune system, replenish skin; keeping you looking young and encourages food bolus in your digestive system to break down faster meaning no stodge in your gut and pesky ‘food baby’ to carry around through out your day.
Lets have a look at six wonderful herbal teas!
A native to China, it is one of the oldest medicinal herbs and comes from a tall evergreen shrub that blooms with white flowers called camellia sinensis. Green tea’s polyphenols are so powerful it is reputed to be 200 times stronger than Vitamin E. Polyphenols are antioxidants that scientists suggest protect against cancer. To wake up feeling super, have a cup of Green but avoid drinking it in the evenings if you want a good nights sleep because it contains natural caffeine!
It contains anticancer catekins, which protect cells from free radical damage, toxins and the development of cancerous cells.
These catekins are also antibacterial and lower cholesterol. It also helps metabolize fats, aiding in weight loss (with a balanced diet & exercise).
Green tea is known to reduce blood pressure and helps regulate blood. Sugar and therefore lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by decreasing blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.
As a heart stimulant it helps prevent cardiovascular dis-ease and encourages a healthy blood flow around the body, cleansing the entire body from free radicals and cancerous cells.
Green tea has antiviral properties and can ward off colds and flu viruses.
Being high in fluoride it is great for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. It also contains compounds that prevent tooth decay and fight gum dis-ease.
It is also a mild decongestant and helps sufferers with respiratory issues.
Often used by Zen monks who spend hours in wakeful meditation, it is a wonderful stimulant due to its caffeine content (half the amount of coffee.)
Known for it’s earthy, bitty taste, some find difficult to stomach so we suggest adding lemon or honey to sweeten. Or try Jasmine Green tea.
Named “The Sacred Ground Apple” it was one of the nine sacred herbs of the Saxons who called it ‘Maythen’ The French cherish it as one of their favorite tisanes. Being gentle and caressing this is a great herbal tea to drink in the evening whilst snuggling up with a good book and blanket.
This soothing, flowery tea provides full body relief from all kinds of aches and pains, such as muscular, menstrual cramps, strains and arthritic pain.
With the ability to fight E.coli in the bladder, it is a wonderful drink to ward off inflammations and infections such as cystitis or urinary tract infections due to its anti-inflammatory effect to soothe the lining of the bladder and it’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to flush away bacteria.
The ancient Egyptians have used Chamomile as a salve to heal wounds but you can use it in this day and as a great hair rinse for blond or light hair as it adds highlights!
Being antiseptic and antibacterial it can be used as a skin wash for those with scalds, burns or rashes. These properties also clear up other skin irritations like acne, eczema and allergies.
Chamomile is a very beneficial tea for those who suffer with disorders irritated by stress, such as Irritable bowls, indigestion, peptic ulcers and gastritis. This is because it soothes the stomach muscles and encourages rest. Also wonderful for upset stomachs and relieves spasms, vomiting, gas and bloating.
Sleep easy with Chamomile before bed, it calms, cools and tranquilizes by soothing the nervous system and relaxes all the smooth muscles in your body, including your digestive tract. For centuries it has been used as a cure for insomnia.
Known as the Life Enhancer or the Tree of Life, it is a 200-million year old tree from the age of the Dinosaurs. The Chinese named it “Yin Guo” meaning “Hill Apricot” because of the color of its fruit. It was the only survivor of the atomic blast in Hiroshima. This is an enduring tree that symbolizes vitality and everlasting youth.
Ginkgo is a wonderful drink that combats allergic reactions and asthmatic issues because it has been found that Ginkgo helps block a substance called PAF that is prevalent in people who have asthma or allergies.
Ginkgo is renowned for encouraging healthy blood circulation. You may wonder why this is important? Healthy blood circulation is a source of nourishment for every process in your body from your cells, to your bones and even your skin. When the flow is hampered it can cause many health problems like premature aging, varicose veins, poor memory, strokes, joint aches, headaches and even depression. Ginkgo has been proven to relieve these symptoms and it is a wonderful tea for the elderly or Alzheimer sufferers.
Research suggests Ginkgo can treat irregular heartbeat and prevent high blood pressure. It keeps the heart clear of toxic deposits left by free radicals in the blood.
Ginkgo has the capacity to prevent strokes. Strokes Occur because of a weakened circulation to the brain. Because Ginkgo is known for boosting blood circulation, this in turn sends more oxygen and glucose to the brain thus keeping it healthy.
The Chinese drink Ginkgo to prevent a number of ailments such as asthma, congestion, lung issues and even hearing disorders. It is also drunk for longevity of life as it seems to slow the aging process.
This hardy lawn flower is considered a weed by many, however I love it, it’s actually rather pretty if you look at it closely with it’s lions mane for it’s head, strong stem and leaves that look like they are reaching out for a hug. People do not realize it is an official medicinal plant packed with nutrients including Vitamin A, B, C, D; Iron and Potassium. I find it unfair it is considered a weed.
This is a tea to take for anemia, it’s leaves have iron and vitamin C, which is needed to absorb the iron properly.
Dandelion leaves have a mild laxative effect so great to drink if you have constipation or bloating.
The bitters of Dandelion activate the digestive system and stimulate the natural flow of digestive juices.
Being a natural diuretic because of the leaves potassium content, Dandelion is great for individuals suffering with water retention.
By helping with good digestion and elimination safely, this is a great tea for weight control with a balanced diet.
The Dandelion root is a wonderful toxifer, it removes pesticides, pollutants, contaminants and toxins in your joints, which in turn help, prevent arthritic inflammation and cell damage.
Famous for being a Liver tonic for centuries, the root cleanses and cools the Liver and Liver ailments like hepatitis, boil, abscesses and jaundice.
Dandelion root is great at cleansing your urinary tract, often an ingredient in patent medicines and has been used to dissolve urinary stones.
In Chinese medicine it is believed mood swings are caused by too much heat being stored in the Liver, thus drinking Dandelion root is a mood lifter.
Also known to cleanse the prostate and aid against Rheumatism.
Chai is very popular to drink in India and the word Chai literally means “Tea”. This is a great beverage for those who prefer black tea with milk (with added spices) and in fact its leaves come from the same plant as Green tea and Oolong only it is fermented. According to Ayurvedic philosophy and medicine, the spices in Chai are considered to be “sattvic,” or calming, vitalizing and mentally stimulating. My boyfriend calls it “Christmas tea” because the smell reminds him of the festive season. Chai is packed with many spices.
Cinnamon is a warming spice, wonderful for combating colds, chills and arthritis. It fights bacteria, E.coli and yeast infections.
Cardamom is a mood elevator and is rich in nutrients that cleanse the lungs, heart and kidneys.
Cloves have antiseptic and pain relieving properties, also wonderful at enhancing the potency of other herbs or blends.
Black pepper is used to treat chills and feeling of being constantly cold. Also wonderful for boosting metabolism and supporting good circulation.
Nutmeg aids digestion of heavy foods and eases sciatica. Has been reputed to treat Lymph and Kidney problems.
Chinese star Anise is a pretty little herb used often as a cough remedy, freshens breath and is often found in organic toothpaste. Also helps treat colic in babies, soothes menstrual cramps and increases sexual drive.
Ginger aids good digestion, circulation and Nausea. Also wonderful for a healthy heart, as it lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood pressure and helps prevent clotting.
Fennel is often used in blends for digestive disorders like heartburn, indigestion, gas, constipation and Irritable bowl. It eases discomfort in the digestive tract and stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and improves the absorption of nutrients. With its antiseptic properties it also fights infections in the urinary tract and flushes out toxins.
Ginseng is known as the ‘Man Root’ through out many cultures in the world because it looks like a man’s body. It’s name means “wonder of the world” or in China it is called “Jin Chen- “Like a man”. Being renowned as a potent tonic for those in the later years of their life or ailments associated with middle age such as midlife crisis, feeling glum, lack of passion in their sex life and feeling old before their time.
Ginseng is an herb that balances opposites in the body and helps the body defend itself from stress.
It has been known to prevent heart palpitations, strength organs, calm nerves and increase mental stimulation and youthful vitality.
A brilliant herbal tea to increase sexual vigor and is an overall energy booster.
Many Asian people feel this tea or herb is wasted on the young, often a popular beverage for advanced ages because it keeps the body and skin looking and feeling young, it decreases the cellular aging process.
Being an antioxidant it regulates the blood sugar levels, cleanses tissue, stimulates the production of red and white blood cells and thus increases immunity and defense against dis-ease.
Ginseng increase hormone secretion in the endocrine system thus elevating libido, fights exhaustion and lowers the risk of depression.
There’s a wonderful world infused with tea blends from many cultures and all of them are packed with numerous health benefits.
When you enter into this world (as you drink a variety of different teas) you’ll discover the Garden of Eden within your own kitchen cupboard in a simple, loving cup of tea.
For some earth magic and natural healing all you have to do is steep and pour into your favorite mug…
“When I drink tea
I am conscious of Peace
The cool breath of Heaven
Rises in my sleeves, and
Blows my cares away.”
~ Chinese Poet Lotung
What is your favorite herbal tea? Tell us in the comments below!
(Illustrations courtesy of Esther Lankhaar Art & Illustrations)