Despite the prevailing myths to the contrary, caffeine has few proven health benefits. Caffeine sensitivity varies from person to person depending on metabolism and the amount consumed but some people like me experience nervousness and stomach upset when drinking it. Those are just two reasons why herbal teas are a better beverage choice for me. Perhaps they are a better choice for you too.
Since tea was first discovered in the Yunnan Province of China around 1000 BC. it has become the most consumed beverage the world over. In Kakuzo Okakura’s 1906 philosophical treatise on tea, The Book of Tea he sums up the historical and ancient belief in tea as more than just a pleasing beverage by writing:
“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage…”
Technically herbal teas aren’t teas at all because most lack the essential ingredient ie. caffeine. The French use the word tisane, as herbal tea is an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark, extracted in hot water.
Herbals teas are flavorful and healthy drinks that can be enjoyed year round, and as strange as it may seem, drinking either hot tea is summer has the same cooling effect that drinking ice tea does.
Wild Roses and wild Elderberries are common where I live and can be easily harvested in season on my daily walks. I also grow my own edible healing herbs, including Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass and Peppermint, which I prepare either individually or in blends to make refreshing summer teas for myself and my visitors.
Chamomile Tea – helps relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and gastroenteritis or stomach flu.
Elderberry Flower Tea - helps with swollen sinuses (sinusitis), colds, bronchitis, coughs, colds, hoarseness (laryngitis) and flu.
Hibiscus Tea – helps lower blood pressure, has diuretic properties boosts immune function and contains valuable antioxidants.
Lavender Tea – aids digestion, relieves flatulence, agitation, restlessness, tension, migraine headaches and is a sleep aid that counters insomnia.
Lemon Balm Tea – is antiviral, contains many antioxidants relieves digestive ailments, premenstrual aches and pains, has a calming effect on the central nervous system and counters insomnia.
Lemon Grass Tea – is an antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal that aids digestion, relieves anxiety, nausea and constipation, coughs and colds and is a sleep aid.
Peppermint Tea – is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and analgesic that helps relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, headaches, sinusitis, digestive disorders and menstrual cramps.
Rose Hip Tea - helps with digestive disorders, constipation, diarrhea, and contains vitamins E and K, calcium and magnesium and antioxidant flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins (anti-inflammatory). Rose Hips are one of the highest sources of anti-oxidants (along with blue berries and cranberries).
Making hot tea:
Pre-heat the teapot;
Pour the boiling water over the flowers over leaves;
Steep for 5 – 10 minutes;
Strain when ready to drink;
Add honey and lemon juice.
When making iced tea, immediately after the hot tea is brewed, pour it into a glass or pitcher filled almost to the top with ice, as sudden cooling keeps the flavor and scent of the tea intact.
History of Tea
A fascinating 10 minute video outlining the history of tea in world politics.