The popularity of herbal teas has exploded over the past decade or so, and we are now faced with more and more choices when it comes to consuming herbal tea.
Herbal tea is dated back many thousands of years from ancient China. They devised a way of blending dried ingredients separately or together and steeping them in hot water to extract all of the flavor and potential health benefits from the source ingredients.
Modern-day diets can be extremely nutrient-poor, and people can miss out on the many health benefits of a pure diet. Herbal tea has found its way into many people’s lives as a way of reintroducing some natural elements to their daily routine in one single cup.
Herbal teas have such a varied range of health benefits that, over time, have been studied by professionals to back up their ancient claims. Of course, some herbal tea ingredients have had their benefits proven in science, while some are still being studied and tested for clinical efficiency.
Depending on the source ingredients you choose, you will find that different ingredients come along with various health benefits, such as:
- Improving digestion
- Weight management
- Mood control – both invigorating and calming
- Inducing labor
Herbal teas are naturally antioxidant-rich and contain many vitamins and minerals, which is such a good element of holistic health. The antioxidants found in many herbal teas may help to:
- Fight infections
- Protect against oxidative stress
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve moods
- Lower the risk of chronic disease
It is crucial only to consume the most natural and pure blends possible to ensure no added artificial ingredients when choosing herbal tea.
History of Herbal Tea
The use of herbal tea can be dated as far back as Ancient China and Egypt, where they used herbal tea for its perceived health benefits and as a hot beverage with benefits. Of course, there was no such element of scientific testing, so any benefits that we felt were just the way they felt back then.
Over time, blends of herbal tea became more varied and sought after, and available. You can see points throughout history that highlight the development of herbal teas, including different combinations with a variety of other herbs and spices. All of which have come to the forefront of modern-day herbal teas we find today, all steeped in history from ancient times and beliefs around its healing powers.
What Quality Markers to Look for in Herbal Teas
It’s pertinent to know what herbal teas can be rated by quality alone. While this can be difficult to detect in some pre-packaged varieties of herbal teas, there are some elements you need to look out for that will ensure you get an excellent quality tea. This will inevitably give you more health benefits versus a blend that you cannot identify back to its origin.
The primary things to look for are:
Herbs have an abundance of nutrients, and to make sure those nutrients are retained during the drying process and have as much flavor as possible, the herbs need to be treated with care and ordinarily by hand.
By choosing herbal teas that are certified as organic, you will know that you are not consuming harmful pesticides on the herbs included within your tea or blend. You will also understand that the herbs have been grown in certified soils and have their sites regularly audited to enable them to have a certified organic status.
3. Purity Testing/ Toxin Screened
Purity testing is something you need to consider when choosing herbal tea. Herbs that are used in blends are grown worldwide, and having herbs in your tea that have been tested for purity means that they are free from any toxins found in uncertified herbs.
4. Reputable Small Suppliers
Purchasing herbal tea blends from a reputable and small supplier can be a great indication that your next mix could be of a higher quality than that of a mass-produced product.
Small growers and suppliers rely on more labor and time-intensive processes, involving less machinery and more expert input. They often take inspiration from ancient traditional methods and more hands-on approaches to producing, which may increase the quality of the final product.
5. Blend Appropriate
You can find a herbal tea to suit almost every need, so look out for the ones that fit your specific requirements to ensure you get the best benefits from the tea you have chosen.
Benefits of Herbal Tea
There are a plethora of benefits to drinking herbal tea, and some of the following might meet your specific requirements when choosing the right one for you, including:
- Anti-Aging – High levels of antioxidants in herbal teas can improve the appearance of the skin and may make you look more rejuvenated and youthful
- Detoxification – The high levels of antioxidants and vitamins may aid detoxification in the body
- Aids Digestion – Natural herb blends found in herbal teas have been known to calm digestion and soothe difficult digestion
- Reduce Inflammation – Herbal teas can actively reduce inflammation within the body
- Weight Loss – During detoxification, herbal teas can have a weight loss effect on the body
- Immunity – Antioxidants can boost the immune system and protect from further illness
- Antiemetic – Herbal teas can reduce the feeling of nausea and sickness
- Stress Relief – Some blends can relieve the feeling of stress and anxiety
Popular Types of Herbal Tea
1. Chamomile tea
Chamomile is a herbal tea with a calming effect and is used the whole world over. It may also help to aid a night of better sleep, reduce inflammation, and promote muscle relaxation, as well as rescue tension.
2. Peppermint tea
Peppermint is renowned for its calming properties and is recommended for easing digestive complaints and soothing the stomach. This tea has a slightly sweet taste and is enjoyed the world over on its own, or with a touch of honey, for a calming and anti-inflammatory tea experience.
3. Rooibos tea
Rooibos tea is exclusively grown in South Africa, and forms an ideal base when blending with other herbs, flowers, and fruit flavors. Full of antioxidants, this tea may reduce high cholesterol and ease breathing conditions.
4. Ginger tea
Ginger is a well-used ingredient in both ancient and modern alternative medicine, mainly for its antiemetic properties, so it is used primarily for soothing upset tummies and reducing feelings of nausea. It can also have a positive effect on blood glucose levels and protect heart health.
5. Hibiscus flower tea
Hibiscus flower tea is the most popular floral-based herbal tea as it is incredibly palatable, zesty, and refreshing. Hibiscus flower tea may help with lowering blood pressure and controlling cholesterol.
How to Brew the Perfect Cup
So now we know what herbal teas are and what some can do to benefit your overall health; how do we make the perfect cup?
There are many schools of thought over how to make the perfect cup of herbal tea, and this will differ greatly depending on who you ask and where in the world they come from, but you’ll be pleased to know there are some simple rules to follow to make the perfect cup of herbal tea!
Wherever possible, make sure you:
Allow your herbal tea to steep for at least 5 minutes to get the best flavor and benefits from your tea.
Don’t use boiling water. You may scorch the herbs and render the benefits useless. Instead, use freshly boiled water that has been allowed to cool away from the boiling point.
The best practice is to use loose-leaf herbal tea in a diffuser to get the best herbal tea result. However, you can find high-quality herbal tea in a biodegradable bask for use in a teapot, which allows the tea bag to sit undisturbed and steep until you are ready to drink it.
Herbal tea is something that modern-day lives have attached themselves to provide ancient healing solutions to an otherwise nutrient-poor diet.
Herbal teas are incredibly dense in nutrients if the source herbs have been treated and prepared correctly. Some people still produce herbs for teas using an ancient method that requires no machinery, only made by hand.
When choosing your next herbal tea, make sure it is of the best quality you can find, organic where possible, and toxin-screened. This will give you the best herbal tea blend available for the best benefits.
Preparing your herbal tea is simple, but make sure you treat it with care to avoid ruining the herbs before you have even drunk the tea! Freshly boiled and cooled water is all you need. Let it steep for at least 5 minutes and reap the rewards of your new favorite herbal tea!