If you’re anthing like me, you need the odd cuppa to help get you through the day…whether that’s a cup of tea, a mug of coffee, a glass of wine or a tumbler of gin! Oftentimes, making a cup of tea becomes an automatic process, and drinking our black tea with a splash (or three) of milk and a teaspoon (or two) of sugar becomes the norm.
Whilst black tea does contain some health benefits (for example antioxidants), they are generally outweighed by the negative aspects of the caffeine content. Decaf tea may seem like a good option – and it is a good option for an occasional black tea – it is often decaffeinated using a chemical process (much like coffee), which means you are drinking those chemicals. And even if it isn’t, the many benefits of black tea are lost through whichever decaffeination process is used.
Which is why herbal teas are a great option. Not only are they naturally caffeine-free, but they also offer many health benefits beyond just antioxidants. In fact, they are a great way to incorporate beneficial herbs into your day-to-day routine.
Teas for Day-to-Day
Here are some of my favourite herbs to use in your day-to-day teas:
- Peppermint – as well as its digestive benefits, like relieving gas, bloating and indigestion, strong peppermint tea is great for a caffeine-free morning kick-start! Put a good handful of leaves into a small coffee plunger and let them steep overnight, then add some freshly boiled water in the morning before enjoying that powerful zing.
- Nettle – a gentle diuretic, nettle leaf helps the body to remove toxins. It has been used for centuries as a skin purifier and helps lower blood sugar levels. This is a great addition to a tea blend.
- Turmeric – this offers many benefits, including boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, helping with IBS symptoms, and supporting liver function. There are some great tea blends that include this potent spice (technically not a herb!).
Teas for Digestion
Here are some great herbs to help with digestion. You can get some great-tasting tea blends which include these herbs – bear in mind they may not taste as great on their own!
- Dandelion root – this pesky weed is actually considered a herb by botanists and has some wonderful benefits. Often known as a ‘liver tonic’, dandelion root tea is a ‘bitter herb’ used for digestion. It also helps the liver to detoxify, acts as a diuretic, reduces water weight, and is full of antioxidants. If you are looking for a good coffee substitute, then roasted dandelion root ‘coffee’ is worth a try.
- Licorice – whilst this is a herb, it is the root that is used in tea preparations. It is used to soothe gastrointestinal issues, by speeding up the repair of the stomach lining and restoring balance (especially after food poisoning, stomach ulcers or heartburn). It can also help with gas and bloating. Be mindful that licorice root is not recommended during pregnancy (although small amounts of it in tea will be okay), or if taking medication to control low potassium levels or blood pressure and some other medications (please check this before using if you are on any medications).
- Fennel – this highly aromatic and flavourful herb is part of the carrot family (explains the feathery leaves on top!) and tastes a little like aniseed. It helps to smooth and relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, reducing gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. It can also help to boost metabolism, regulate appetite, speed up digestion, and reduce water weight by encouraging urination.
Teas for Sleep & Stress
- Chamomile – this little flower has long been linked to relaxation and improving sleep. It contains an antioxidant, apigenin, which binds to the receptors in the brain that help promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
- Valerian root – this herb helps reduce anxiety and improve sleep by promoting calmness in the brain. It is often included in herbal bedtime tea blends.
- Lemon balm – another wonderful calming, soothing herb, great for stress, anxiety, and insomnia. As to be expected, this is a lemon-scented herb making it great in a calming tea blend. However, it can have interactions with some medications and shouldn’t be taken for long periods of time. Do check interactions if you take medications, before using this in your tea.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are plenty of other great herbs and teas that offer health benefits. And of course, you can create your own blends of herbal teas, using the loose leaves – but this can be quite a fine art, so I recommend trying one of the many pre-made blends that are out there.
Some great organic and plastic-free herbal tea brands include Pukka Herbs, Indigo Herbs, Teapigs, Heath & Heather, Dr. Stuarts, Clipper, and Yogi Tea. Besides the Pukka teas, these brands are often in single herbs rather than tasty blends, therefore they may be more therapeutic but potentially a little less palatable.
Please remember that herbs in teas are still therapeutic, and can be contraindicated in certain health conditions or with certain medications. If you have any health conditions or medications, please check the safety and interactions before drinking herbal teas. The odd cup is generally fine but if you want to enjoy several a day, it is important to check first.
If you are struggling with digestive issues, insomnia, or stress, let’s see how I can help. Herbal teas may be helpful, but they are often just a small part of the recovery puzzle. Get in touch or book a FREE discovery call so we can discuss how I can help.