Since antiquity, herbal teas have been enjoyed and applied therapeutically throughout numerous cultures.
Herbal tea is known to have the ability to support specific health conditions and improve overall health.
In this article, we’ll discuss what herbal teas are, their history, and explore the health benefits of drinking herbal teas.
Table of Contents
What is Herbal Tea?
Herbal tea, also called tisane, is similar to green tea, however, instead of green tea leaves, it contains a blend of herbs, spices, and fruit. Many herbal teas are caffeine free, which is why they are typically known for their relaxing properties.
Herbal tea can be made via hot or cold water infusions as well as by long-steep decoctions for heavier plant material like bark and dried berries.
Herbal teas often taste good and are an easy way to receive therapeutic herbal properties. They’re also one of the simplest ways to extract beneficial active constituents from herbs.
Health Benefits of Herbal Tea
Below is a list of various benefits of herbal teas for the body and mind.
1. May Promote Sleep
Lack of sleep can significantly affect energy levels, physical recovery, brain functions, and more. Herbal tea can improve sleep by encouraging relaxation, sedating, soothing anxiety, and reducing pain.
Some popular sleep-promoting herbs include:
- Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): Chamomile has a floral and slightly bitter flavor. It is known for its gentle, relaxing effect on the nervous system.
- Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata): Passionflower is known for its ability to impart deep relaxation and encourage a greater quality of sleep.
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): Valerian is a popular herb for sleep as it has been shown to have relaxing, sleep-inducing effects.
- Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): Skullcap supports sleep by soothing cyclical thoughts and reducing anxious sensations.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Lavender is a popular aromatic herb known for its various calming and relaxing properties.
Click here to read our in-depth article on the best herbs for sleep.
2. May Improve Energy
Low energy levels throughout the day can be frustrating and challenging to manage.
Some herbal teas have energy-boosting properties, like rhodiola, eleuthero, schisandra, and ashwagandha, while others work with the stress response to balance out energy levels.
Some popular herbs that support energy include:
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb known for its ability to regulate the stress response for more balanced energy levels.
- Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea): Rhodiola supports increased energy levels by affecting mental focus and physical performance.
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps are a species of mushroom that support energy levels through its potential to increase physical endurance by encouraging vasodilation.
- Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng): Asian ginseng may benefit energy levels by supporting mental endurance and clarity.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary is a potent herb known for its ability to support energy levels through increased cognitive functioning.
Click here to read our in-depth article on the best herbs for energy.
3. May Support The Gastrointestinal Tract
Numerous health conditions can affect the gastrointestinal tract, including nausea, bloating, gas, Crohn’s disease, and indigestion (heartburn or acid reflux).
Herbal teas, specifically bitter herbal teas, are known for their ability to potentially promote digestion, soothe inflammation, and ease the effects of these conditions.
Herbs that may support the gastrointestinal tract include:
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelion is a pervasive herb that contains bitter properties in the leaves and is known for encouraging digestion through increased bile secretion.
- Elecampane (Inula helenium): Elecampane is a root that may help with indigestion due to its bitter properties.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is a popular herb known for its ability to soothe nausea.
- Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): Chamomile is an aromatic, bitter herb often used to support digestion and ease GI-related complications.
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita): Peppermint’s volatile oils may encourage bile secretion and therefore support the gastrointestinal tract.
4. May Relieve Pain
Pain is a feeling of discomfort that acts as messaging to the brain that something is wrong.
Herbal tea can be an effective natural way to reduce or eradicate pain. Since inflammation is a significant cause of pain, herbs with anti-inflammatory properties can be especially helpful.
Herbs that may relieve pain include:
- Indian Frankincense (Boswellia serrata): Boswellia sap may have pain-relieving effects due to its potential ability to mitigate the inflammatory response.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale): The ginger rhizome has shown the potential to reduce inflammation and therefore ease discomfort for those with arthritis.
- California Poppy (Escholzia californica): Poppy is an herb often used for numerous pain issues due to its alkaloid content.
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha may support pain related to arthritis due to its potential to reduce stiffness and swelling.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Lavender is often used to reduce various discomforts through aromatherapy.
Click here to read our in-depth article on the best herbs for pain.
5. May Reduce Cold & Flu Symptoms
Cold and flu issues can manifest as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and skin complications, such as hives.
Some herbal teas may work with the overactive immune response to soothe some of these symptoms.
Herbs that may ease cold and flu issues include:
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger rhizome may support cold and flu symptoms by balancing the inflammatory response.
- Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): Elderberries are popularly known for their ability to potentially support the immune response.
- Elderflower (Sambucus nigra): Elderflower is an herb that has shown potential for reducing cold and flu symptoms through its antimicrobial properties.
- Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea): Echinacea may reduce cold and flu symptoms due to its potential for increasing immune activity.
- Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): Goldenseal may boost the immune system and therefore soothe cold and flu issues.
Who Can Use Herbal Teas?
Most herbal teas are safe for adults, and select herbal teas are safe for children.
It’s essential to consult with your primary care physician to determine whether drinking a specific herbal tea is safe. Certain herbs may interact with medication or affect health conditions.
How Much Herbal Tea Can You Drink?
On average, a cup of herbal tea can be consumed 3 – 4x per day.
Since some herbs are more potent or gentle than others, consumption amounts may vary for various herbal teas.
Herbal teas are known for their incredible ability to support specific conditions and overall health. They can also simply be enjoyed for their delicious flavor, as well.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you’re considering including herbal teas in your daily regimen.
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