Herbal teas have been used for centuries to boost people’s health and wellbeing, often as the first and sometimes the only medicine available. The teas abound in health benefits, are relaxing and calming and can be used in any season.
For many of us there’s nothing nicer on a cold day than a soothing cup of herbal tea. Others enjoy herbal teas with ice and crushed fresh herbs (such as lemon verbena, red sage or lavender) to cool down on a hot day.
Importantly, herbal teas can significantly cut down on our caffeine intake by, eventually when we learn to love them, replacing and/ or reducing coffee. Here are my top 3 herbal teas suggestions for you to start with and reap the benefits today!
Aronia berries (Aronia) tea
Many claim that aronia berries are the healthiest food in the world, hence they are now considered to be potent ‘superfoods’. Aronia is popular in Europe especially in Poland where, in addition to drinking the tea, the berries are made into jams and preserves. The tea has a wonderful dark pink colour and delightful aroma lifting the mood instantly.
Main health benefits include:
- High in anti-cancer antioxidants – according to recent studies most of the effects of aronia berries are due to their high antioxidant activity. Aronia berries top the list of more than 100 foods that have been scientifically tested for antioxidant capacity. It turns out that aronia has greater antioxidant activity than blueberries, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates, goji berries, cranberries, elderberry and mangosteen.
- High in vital vitamins and minerals – especially in vitamin C which is essential for good immunity, joint health, healthy skin and energy.
- Strongly anti-inflammatory – helps to reduce inflammation anywhere in the body which is a key factor in the development of all chronic diseases.
- Helps to lower blood sugar and improve the body’s own natural production of insulin. This aids in appetite control, lowers cravings for sweets and facilitates weight loss.
- Low in toxic chemicals and pesticides used in cultivation – unlike strawberries and many other fruits, aronia is naturally pest-resistant and does not require the use of agricultural toxins. It’s a ‘clean’ food often cultivated by organic growing methods.
- Interestingly, American Indians used it as an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
Tip: I often mix aronia with other herbal teas to improve the taste and/or appearance of the final mix. Addition of cinnamon bark and a few cloves makes it a real treat – it’s just wonderful hot or cold.
Dandelion root coffee
This tea, usually called dandelion coffee because of its dark brown appearance similar to a regular coffee, is one of the superstars among all herbal teas. At first, you may need to get used to the slightly bitter taste but it’s well worth persisting drinking it for a week or so until you get used to the taste.
To start with, it’s recommended to dilute it with water, whilst getting used to the slightly bitter flavour.
The health benefits are exceptional and include:
- Supports the liver function – it stimulates liver detox which helps clear toxins and increases secretion of digestive juices and enzymes. Improved liver function generates enhancements in cholesterol levels, the gut function, skin and hair structure, among others. Have a cup either 30 minutes before or an hour after a high fat / protein meal. The tea is very beneficial to sip throughout the day, best diluted in water (for a 1 litre bottle – fill it to ¼ to 1/3 with dandelion tea and then add water). It’s important to steep the tea for around 10 minutes to release the bitter goodness from the root. Add a few pieces of crushed cinnamon stick and 2-4 cloves in the beginning of brewing.
- Gallbladder support – the tea increases bile production which is essential to digest fat, absorb many vitamins and nutrients and for removal of toxins (detox).
- Supports overall digestion by increasing bile and digestive enzymes secretion.
- Supports weight loss by decreasing food and sweet cravings and by improving digestion = needing less food.
- Very useful to deal with food and sweet cravings as it has a balancing effect on blood sugar regulation mechanisms.
- Rich in minerals and vitamins – high in calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, vitamins B and C.
- Helpful for clearing acne and other skin conditions through its action on the liver as well as blood cleansing and detoxifying effects.
- Read more about the wonderful dandelion herb HERE.
This tea has been used for a thousand of years all over the world and is made using very pretty hibiscus flowers. It has a pleasant fruity taste and a beautiful deep red colour that makes hibiscus popular as both hot and cold drink. Therapeutic indications include:
- Keeps the blood pressure in check – it helps to lower blood pressure in people with pre- or mild hypertension (confirmed by studies), especially in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Promotes normal cholesterol levels and thus cardiovascular health.
- Great to keep cool in hot weather – hibiscus helps to maintain healthy body temperature. This effect was discovered by the ancient Egyptians who enjoyed drinking this tea during hot summers and is desert conditions.
- Tames nervous restlessness and helps with insomnia.
- Helps with weight management – it curbs the cravings for sweets.
Add cinnamon and cloves to the teas to enhance the taste and aroma as well as to further boost health benefits. Cinnamon lowers cravings for sweets and balances blood sugar levels. Cloves are one of the strongest antioxidants known to men and hence support all body systems.
Please note that herbs taken in any form have physiological effects on the body and individuals taking medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and many other conditions should be mindful of their potential effects. Check with your naturopath or herbalist before embarking on drinking larger quantities.
Natural and Lifestyle Solutions for Chronic Illnesses
Naturopath || Herbalist || Nutritionist || Reiki Practitioner
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Joanna Sochan is a Natural Medicine Practitioner and founder of Naturimedica Holistic Health & Wellness. She has a passion for helping her clients transform their lives by becoming healthy and well naturally. Joanna is an adrenal fatigue, sleep and gut health expert helping tired, stressed or unwell individuals to regain their energy, sleep better and be happier, more relaxed and calm. Joanna practices in Sydney and Lake Macquarie, Australia and also conducts Skype / phone consultations for clients Australia-wide. View full bio.