Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world. The history of tea dates back to 5,000 years, and it now has more than 3,000 different variations. While most of us drink tea to enjoy its flavor, it was initially grown and consumed for medicinal properties.
In this article, you will learn about some of the best teas to improve health. Not all these teas are true teas. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are brewed from the Camellia sinensis plant's leaves and are true teas. Herbal teas like jasmine tea, rooibos tea, and hibiscus tea are made from dried fruits and flowers of these plants and are a unique form of tea.
1. Green tea
People have consumed green tea for its health benefits for centuries. It is made from the unoxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and is not very processed, which is why it is rich in antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.
According to research from Japan that studied 40530 adults for 11 years, green tea consumption is associated with lower mortality due to cardiovascular disease.
Drinking green tea can also lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the study, green tea polyphenol, epigallocatechin gallate stops the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, by interfering with the function of beta-amyloid oligomers.
The best way to brew: To enjoy the benefits of the antioxidants in green tea, you must brew it properly. Don't steep green tea in boiling water, let the water cool down a bit.
2. Rooibos tea
Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is a delicious herbal tea from South Africa. This tea comes from the aspalathus linearis shrub, which has long needle-like leaves. Also known as African red tea or red bush tea, this caffeine-free beverage has a mild flavor with a hint of vanilla.
Rooibos tea is rich in many antioxidants, which provide numerous health benefits. Its health benefits include protection from cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
According to a 2010 study, rooibos tea improves heart health by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity. ACE constricts the blood vessels and leads to an increase in blood pressure. Rooibos tea also contains the antioxidant aspalathin, which has shown anti-diabetic potential.
The best way to brew: If you want maximum benefits of rooibos tea, brew it in boiling water for five to eight minutes. Rooibos tea leaves are tiny, so you need a fine-mesh strainer.
3. Chamomile tea
Chamomile (pronounced KAM-MUH-MILE) tea comes from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant, which belongs to the Asteraceae family. Chamomile tea contains flavonoids, antioxidants, and sesquiterpenes, which are highly beneficial for health. It has a sweet, earthy taste and is caffeine-free.
Chamomile is a mild sedative. It contains the flavonoid apigenin, which binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain and helps aid sleep. It is also helpful in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. A study on rats in 2014 showed that chamomile could also help treat diarrhea.
Many other studies have shown that chamomile can help in lowering blood sugar levels, protect against certain cancers, and improve heart health.
The best way to brew: To brew a cup of this tea, steep one tablespoon of chamomile tea in a cup of hot water for five minutes.
4. Ginger tea
Ginger is a tropical flowering plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. The root of this plant contains gingerol, which provides it with its many benefits. Fresh ginger tea is a light spicy beverage, which has warming and stimulating qualities.
It aids digestion, soothes upset stomachs, and can help with morning sickness as well. Research also shows that ginger tea can be used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy .
Some other studies have also shown that ginger tea can help in managing obesity. According to a 2012 study, when ten obese men took hot ginger tea, it reduced the feeling of hunger. Ginger tea has been traditionally used to alleviate sore muscles, headaches, and menstrual cramps.
The best way to brew: To brew a cup of fresh ginger tea, take a one-inch piece of ginger, and slice it thinly. Add it to a pan along with a cup of war and boil it on high heat. Now reduce the heat and let this mixture simmer for five minutes. Pour through a fine sieve. You can a bit of lemon or honey for added flavor.
5. Holy basil tea
Holy basil (Tulsi) has been used in Ayurvedic medicines for centuries. The holy basil plant (Ocimum Sanctum) is a member of the mint family.
There are three varieties of tulsi plants:
• Krishna tulsi – Krishna tulsi has purple leaves and flowers and has the spicy aroma of cloves.
• Rama tulsi – This tulsi plant has green leaves and white or purple flowers. It has a cooling flavor and a clove-like aroma.
• Vana tulsi – this plant has light green leaves and has a citrusy aroma.
Tulsi is rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds that provide it with many medicinal properties. It helps lower stress, improves digestion, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and protects against infections.
The best way to brew:
To brew a cup of tulsi tea, take one teaspoon of fresh tulsi leaves or ½ teaspoon of dried tulsi leaves in a pot. Boil a cup of water and pour it on tulsi leaves. Cover the pot and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Now strain the leaves and add some honey to the tea.
6. Peppermint tea
The peppermint herb is a cross between spearmint and water mint. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used peppermint as a medicine. The leaves of the peppermint herb contain menthol, menthone, and limonene, which give it a distinctive minty flavor and aroma and its numerous health benefits. Peppermint tea has a uniquely minty flavor, which is mildly sweet, and it leaves a cooling sensation in the mouth.
Peppermint tea is beneficial for the digestive system. It helps reduce headaches, improves nasal congestion, and can even relieve menstrual cramps (14). While there are very few studies on the benefits of peppermint tea, several studies have shown that peppermint extracts are highly beneficial.
The best way to brew: To brew peppermint tea, boil two cups of water and turn off the heat. Tear a few fresh peppermint leaves and add them to the water and cover. Let this mixture steep for five minutes. Strain and drink the tea.
7. Hibiscus tea
This tea is made from the beautiful flowers of the hibiscus plant. The most commonly used variety is roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa). It has a tart flavor and is linked to numerous health benefits like lowering high blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight loss.
According to a 2009 study, when 65 mildly hypertensive adults were given hibiscus tea for six weeks, they showed a significant decrease in their systolic blood pressure.
During another study, 60 people with diabetes drank hibiscus tea twice a day for one month. At the end of the trial, they showed a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
The best way to brew: Take two cups of dried hibiscus flowers and four cups of water and 2/3 cup of sugar in a pan and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. Strain this mixture and add eight more cups of water. Add some ice and serve it chilled.
8. Jasmine tea
Jasmine tea is made with tea leaves and jasmine flowers. The flowers of the jasmine plant (Jasminum officinale or Jasminum sambac) are harvested and dried along with tea leaves. This process takes several days. These blossoms are used to scent green, oolong, and black tea. Jasmine tea has a subtle flavor and a floral aroma.
Since the most common jasmine tea uses green tea as its base, it has many beneficial properties. It contains epigallocatechin gallate, which is known to improve heart health, helps in blood sugar control and weight loss.
Jasmine tea can also help to calm you and improve your mood. According to a 2005 study, jasmine's aroma has sedative effects on autonomic nerve activity and mood states.
The best way to brew: Jasmine tea can become bitter if it is steeped in water that is too hot. Boil one cup of water and let it cool down for two minutes. Put less than one teaspoon to jasmine tea in the put and let it steep for two minutes.
9. Sage tea
Sage tea is an aromatic beverage made from the leaves of the sage plant (Salvia officinalis). Sage is a herb that belongs to the mint family and has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Sage tea has a mild mint flavor, with a hint of lavender, and is a bit bitter to taste.
Sage is rich in antioxidants, particularly rosamarinic acid. This antioxidant helps to regulate blood glucose levels and lowers inflammation. Sage also has antibacterial properties, which is why people recommend drinking sage tea for sore throat and mouth wounds.
Sage tea may also help in improving memory and preventing Alzheimer's disease. According to a study that included 135 healthy adults, just the aroma of sage helped boost mood and cognitive performance.
The best way to brew: Bring one cup of water to a boil and add either one tablespoon of fresh sage leaves or one teaspoon of dried sage leaves. Let it steep for five minutes. Strain and remove the leaves and add some sweetener and lemon juice.
10. Echinacea tea
Echinacea tea is well known for its immune-boosting powers and its ability to fend off winter illnesses. It is made from the flowers and leaves of the echinacea plant (Echinacea purpurea), which is commonly known as the American coneflower. Echinacea tea has a sweet and floral flavor.
Echinacea is a popular supplement known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and immune-strengthening properties. According to a 2015 study that involved 473 influenza patients, drinking hot echinacea tea helped reduce the risk of complications and adverse events.
Echinacea tea also works as a mild laxative and can be effective in providing relief from constipation. Echinacea is also helpful in reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, managing anxiety, and reducing the risk of breast cancer.
The best way to brew: Take ¼ cup of loose leaf dried Echinacea in a bowl and pour 8 ounces of boiling water over this herb. Allow this mixture to steep for 15 to 20 minutes, strain, and drink. You can also add some other herbs like lemongrass and min to improve the flavor.
Final thoughts: Herbal teas are rich in antioxidants and minerals. They provide numerous health benefits and can make the perfect addition to your daily diet. Enjoy the unique flavors and health benefits of these teas and stay fit.
By Abhishek Bade
Abhishek has a career in journalism and writing. She is the mother of a super active 7-year-old. While chasing her around the house, she also finds time to pursue her passion for writing on parenting, education, health, fitness, and entertainment for Stemjar.
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