When you think of tea, you may immediately think of brews
made from tea leaves, such as green tea or oolong tea. But those aren’t the
only types of tea you can enjoy. There’s also an incredible range of herbal teas, which are made by steeping or boiling dried
fruits, flowers, spices, and herbs. They may also be called tisanes, herbal
infusions, or botanical infusions.
Herbal teas are not only made differently than teas made
with the leaves of the camellia Sinensis plant (black, white,
green, pu’er, or oolong), but they also offer different benefits. While
the teas made from leaves have varying levels of caffeine (with
black containing the most at around 40 to 70 milligrams per 8-ounce serving,
and white with the least at only 15 to 30 milligrams), herbal teas are
naturally caffeine-free. And depending on what’s used to flavor the infusion,
you may experience a whole host of other positive effects. Here are a few of
the most popular tisanes—along with health benefits that may even give you a
leg up at work.
a look at the infographic to see the various teas and benefits.
contains menthol in its leaves, which acts as a light muscle relaxer and
has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Additionally, this sweet and minty
brew—which has just a little spice on the palette—has long been used as a
stomach soother. If you experience a bit of GI distress, a warm cup of
peppermint tea could be just the ticket. The
power of peppermint also extends to the olfactory receptors; just the smell
of it may help you feel more alert and less fatigued.
The spicy flavor in ginger tea is far from subtle and the
health benefits this antioxidant-packed option delivers follow suit.
Often used as a remedy for stomach upset, ginger is a popular
choice for women in early stages of pregnancy. It’s also shown to be effective
for people experiencing nausea due to cancer treatments and motion sickness.
little root may also help relieve menstrual pain as effectively as
traditional medications like ibuprofen, according
to two studies. There’s also evidence it can relieve
indigestion and constipation while possibly preventing stomach ulcers.
Slightly sweet, earthy, with hints of apple and floral flavors,
chamomile is probably best known for having a calming effect. But it’s good
for more than helping you sleep (although the fact that it’s been
shown to have a small but positive effect on insomnia isn’t anything to sneeze
at). It may also have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protecting
properties. Although more studies need to be done to confirm these findings, there is evidence that chamomile may help to reduce
symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and even
improve blood glucose, insulin, and blood lipid levels in people with type 2
It’s lovely as a flower, but it may be even more attractive
as an infusion. This antioxidant-rich plant provides a slightly tart flavor in
tea, and there’s evidence hibiscus may
be beneficial to people who want to lower their “bad” LDL cholesterol and boost
their “good” HDL cholesterol. A recent study also showed a promising
correlation between overweight adults who drank hibiscus tea and a reduction in
body weight, body mass index, and hip-to-waist ratio. Hibiscus can shorten
the effects of aspirin, so try to leave three to four hours between drinking
your tea and taking the pain reliever. Hibiscus should be
avoided entirely by anyone taking the diuretic medication hydrochlorothiazide due
to potential interactions.
frequently used during cold and flu season due to its antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, making it an immunity-boosting
superstar. If that’s not enough to have you reaching for the teapot this
winter, studies suggest it can help manage anxiety, reduce painful
inflammation, control blood sugar, and lower blood pressure.
Lemon balm also goes by the name “cure all,” and for good reason. It’s
been used for more than 2,000 years as a medicinal plant. In addition to
being helpful in battling stress and anxiety, it may also
aid digestion and ease other
gastrointestinal problems. Although it’s a member of the mint family, the
flavor is truer to its name and, in tea, you’ll notice a delicate lemon scent
and flavor that’s less pungent than lemon verbena and earthier than lemongrass.
Avoid drinking lemon balm tea if you take sedative medications as it may cause excessive drowsiness.
Made from the fruit of the rose plant, rosehip tea has a
lightly sweet and tart flavor. It’s vitamin-packed
and antioxidant rich, and a strong astringent. If you want the most bang
per bag, brew your tea with fresh rather than dried rosehips, and seek out
plants grown at higher altitudes (you can check the label to see!)—both of
these factors lead to higher amounts of antioxidants. The elevated
concentration of vitamin C in rosehip tea makes it a good immunity-booster. It
vital for collagen production, so regularly drinking rosehip tea may help
reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles in aging skin.
Touted as an anxiety-reliever and a sleep aid,
passionflower tea is another common pick among herbal tea enthusiasts. It’s made by brewing the leaves of passionflowers and has a mildly
earthy, green taste, which may come as a surprise if you’re expecting a
flavor that matches the flower’s scent. It’s often blended with other teas,
such as chamomile, and may benefit from a small amount of sweetener if you find
it rather bland.
Aside from the specific stress-relieving and
immunity-boosting benefits each of these teas offer, herbal tea can help keep
you hydrated since it’s more flavorful than plain water. But because it’s
caffeine-free, it doesn’t have the dehydrating effects other teas have.
And while many of these herbal infusions have anxiety-reducing elements, just the ritual
of mindfully brewing and enjoying a hot cup of tea can cultivate your capacity
to focus. So, when you find a flavor you love or a tea with benefits you
know you could use, put that kettle on and start steeping!