Tea has long been used as a medicinal supplement since it’s origination in Southwest China. There are more medical uses than there are days in the year! And don’t worry if you aren’t a fan of the Matcha craze or find black teas too malty for your taste- there are countless herbal teas that can help fight off even the strongest woe, be it physical, mental, or emotional. So next time you have a headache that just won’t quit, can’t seem to fall asleep, or are anxious about an upcoming event, don’t reach for your pill cabinet, try tea instead.
There are many teas to bring you relief from nausea or indigestion. Ancient Chinese medicine specified drinking hot water with meals to aid digestion, and with the addition of teas, the digestive power only became stronger. Feeling a little under the weather? Try these teas.
Ginger Tea: Ginger has been found in studies to help settle intense nausea even from such severe stimuli as motion sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy. It stimulates bile production, which allows the stomach to break down food quicker. (1)
Peppermint Tea: The menthol in peppermint leaves gives off a natural analgesic, or pain reliever. Not only that, but it is antispasmodic, relaxing the stomach and intestine muscles.
Licorice Tea: Licorice root tea has been a long time proponent of fighting stomach aches and heartburn. Research studies have shown it to be protective to the stomach lining, helping reduce the chance of peptic ulcers.
Colds & Flu
If you’re fighting an oncoming cold or already have one, good news! There’s a tea for that. A few, actually. These combinations will provide you with everything you need to get you on the road to recovery as fast as possible.
Lemon Tea: It’s as simple as lemon juice, a spoon of honey, and hot water. This mix will help loosen up phlegm, as well as prevent coughing. The honey will coat your throat, relieving any soreness.
Eucalyptus Tea: A powerful anti-inflammatory, Eucalyptus tea is great for the respiratory system, helping you breathe better and cough less. It also boosts the immune system and fights off bacterial infections.
Turmeric & Cayenne Tea: Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which has very strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Partnered with Cayenne, which is chock full of Vitamins A and C, you’re going to be feeling better in no time. The element capsaicin, which gives the pepper it’s explosive heat, is also a natural decongestant.
Stress & Anxiety
If you’re looking to calm your nerves or ease your stress, then tea is the first place you should turn to. Just the act of drinking a hot beverage has shown to cause small bursts of dopamine throughout the brain, making you feel better. A study in London showed that over a six-week period, drinking tea decreased people’s levels of stress. Furthermore, when they encountered stress-inducing circumstances, their stress hormone cortisol was significantly lower. (2) Which herbal teas are best for this effect?
Chamomile Tea: Chamomile increases your levels of serotonin and melatonin, which calm and relax you. 1-2 cups of chamomile a day can even help permanently reduce chronic stress. If you want to go all out, try finding an Egyptian Chamomile tea. The flowers grown near the Nile River have a sandy loam and are packed with nutrients, making them top tier.
Lemon Balm Tea: The word “balm” by definition means “a fragrant ointment or preparation used to heal or soothe.” It is known the world over for its ability to calm nerves. It supports your nervous system and helps you to sleep.
Passion Flower Tea: Passion flower tea is great for helping with anxiety and stress, due to the powerful chrysin flavone it contains. It affects the part of the brain in charge of maintaining excitement. It also decreases the activity of depression-inducing cells in the brain.
Immune System Health
Perhaps you’re not currently sick, but after reading this your hypochondria is flaring up, and you’re wondering what precautions you can take to fight against illness. Many of the teas listed above have great properties attributing to good overall health, but if you’re really trying to boost your immune system, check out these teas.
Rooibos Tea: Rooibos (ROY-boss) tea is underappreciated in the category of tisanes. Grown in South Africa, this red plant has shown great promise in disease and sickness prevention. Specifically, Rooibos helps blood sugar regulation, according to research published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. (3)
Dandelion Tea: To some, dandelion is a pesky weed taking over their lawn. But as a tea, dandelion has some impressive health benefits to help ward off sickness. Dandelion helps your system flush toxins through urine, helping you fight off impending infections. It is low in calories and high in carbs and fiber, as well as containing an array of vitamins and minerals.
Ginseng Tea: There is no shortage of literature explaining the health benefits of ginseng for the immune system. Thousands of papers and books surrounding the root are scattered throughout the internet. Ginseng helps maintain homeostasis within the immune system, resisting illness and microbial attacks. Ginseng helps regulate the different types of immune cells, such as macrophages, dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells. (4)
Herbs, Spices & Florals
Whatever your ailment, there’s a tea for it. Plants, fruits, flowers, herbs, and spices have all been used in teas for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. If you’re trying to take a more holistic approach to medicine, look no further than what Mother Nature has to offer.
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American Author Henry James once said, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” And while afternoon tea is popular all the world over, tea as medicine is becoming more popular every day. Next time you’re feeling under the weather, just brew up a steamy pot of nature’s prescription.