6 Herbal Teas That Heal
Going far beyond caffeinated choices, herbal teas are naturally soothing and naturally healing. When you are sick, a nice hot cup of tea can really hit the spot. From relaxing before sleep or preventing a cold to relieving PMS or indigestion, these six herbal teas offer up some interesting health benefits along with delicious flavors. Next time you are feeling under the weather, reach for a cup of one of these brews. Let us help you become a master of your grocery store’s tea aisle.
This natural sedative encourages relaxation, inducing sleep and soothing the nerves. You will find chamomile in many tea blends designed to calm and soothe. A cup before bedtime will get you sleepy in no time, especially when paired with a relaxing soak in a tub with a cup of the tea added to the bathwater. Go with a pure blend of the chamomile flowers for best results. The delicately flavored plant’s petals also calm the stomach muscles, reducing indigestion from upset stomach, gas and diarrhea.
Currently one of the most popular herbs in the United States, there has been a great deal of publicity surrounding echinacea in recent years, centered on its purported ability to prevent or cure colds. The herb is well-known to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight infection. Its leaves and flower petals raise the body’s levels of properdin, a chemical that spurs the component of the immune system responsible for increasing the body’s defense against viruses and bacteria. Named after the Greek word for hedgehog (the scales on its seed head resemble a hedgehog’s spines), it is popularly used to relieve the symptoms that accompany the common cold, including sore throat, cough and fever.
Soothing to the stomach, peppermint is believed to help reduce a range of upsetting digestive problems such as gas, bloating and nausea by calming the abdominal muscles and aiding the flow of bile. Be sure you are buying true peppermint that contains the digestive aid menthol in the leaves, and not other mints like spearmint. With its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, the herb’s menthol can relieve respiratory problems, including congestion and coughing, bringing up mucus and other materials from the lungs, bronchi and trachea. The minty tea is also good for banishing bad breath.
With its appealing lemony flavor, lemon balm can lift the spirits. This member of the mint family is a calming herb that reduces tension, anxiety and nervousness, ideal for unwinding before bedtime. You can often find it combined with other soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile and hops, to encourage relaxation or promote sleep. Its oils are purported to contain chemicals that relax the muscles, especially in the bladder, stomach and uterus, helping menstrual cramps, gas and nausea. Try it next time you have PMS.
Although best known as a spice, rosemary can have some powerful medicinal properties best enjoyed when drunk as a tea. Simply add 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary to a cup of boiled water, steeping for 10 minutes and then straining. With its antioxidants, analgesic, and vitamins A, C, D, E and K, the fragrant herb relieves indigestion and congestion, helping with colds and quieting coughs. These same properties boost the immune system. The tea also keeps blood vessels dilated, stopping headaches caused by narrowing blood vessels, known as vasoconstriction.
The round part of the rose flower at the base of the bloom containing the seeds, rose hips are an excellent source of flavonoids and vitamin C, which is known for its ability to prevent and treat colds and flu. Containing 50 percent more vitamin C than oranges, rose hips are sometimes considered a better source of the vitamin than supplements. With its tangy flavor, it is perfect for strengthening the immune system: One tablespoon of fresh rose hips has more vitamin C than adults need in a day. Many fruit-flavored teas are made with the dried herb, which gives infusions a pinkish color.