Have you noticed the rise in popularity of tea drinking where you live? Tea shops are popping up almost as often as coffee houses! Beyond just the charm of drinking tea, there is science supporting the health benefits of tea. Many studies have shown that it has a protective effect against cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease [source].
Tea is wonderful for you! Black, green, oolong, herbal, white—there are so many choices. Let’s discuss the benefits of some different types of tea and when to drink them.
Drinking tea is an excellent way to support the body through detoxification. You can make tea hot or cold and squeeze in the juice of an astringent fruit such as grapefruit, lemon, or lime to refresh and revitalize your cells.
You can also make a combination of any two or three teas below. To make any medicinal tea, make sure to let it steep for at least 10 minutes, and then consume or make it into iced tea.
1. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the lesser processed teas, so it’s high in antioxidants, specifically catechins. In fact, it is the highest dietary source of catechins, even more than chocolate, red grapes, and apples [source].
Catechins help fight cell damage and prevent aging, so to preserve them in the brewing process, it’s recommended that green tea be steeped with water no hotter than 170°F.
One of the greatest benefits of green tea is its effects on healthy cell growth, which confer widespread advantages for our bodies, inside and out. Studies have demonstrated its role in cancer prevention by inhibiting tumor growth [source].
Use it topically in an infused coconut oil moisturizer to fight sun damage. Green tea helps to reduce bad cholesterol [source], and although it contains caffeine, which boosts metabolism and aids in weight loss, green tea can have a relaxing and calming effect. Try it by drinking this Green Tea Energy Drink.
2. Black Tea
Black tea actually comes from the same plant as green tea, but the tea leaves are fermented and exposed to oxygen, and this oxidation turns the leaves black. Black tea is known for its larger quantity of caffeine and a healthy amount of antioxidants.
The benefits of black tea include lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encouraging a healthy immune system, and regulating blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that a substance called polyphenols in black tea can actually help you lose weight [source].
3. Oolong Tea
Falling between green and black teas, you’ll find oolong, with its partially oxidized leaves. Oolong provides the benefits of both black and green teas, and with it, a fruity flavor. It is often the tea of choice for weight management [source] and is known to help alleviate skin conditions.
A word of caution—oolong tea can be very high in caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, drink in moderation.
Cinnamon Oolong Tea
- 12 oolong tea bags
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- hot water
Steep tea bags and cinnamon sticks in hot water (about 190°F) for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. For iced tea, pour over ice.
4. White Tea
White tea reigns as the least processed type of tea, making its antioxidant properties the highest. It also has the least amount of caffeine of the caffeinated teas. White tea can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and is antibacterial. Try it in a Mint Lime Tea Cooler.
Healing Herbal Teas
There are several types of herbal teas, however, none are produced from tea leaves. Herbal teas, or herbal tisanes, are usually made from dried fruits, herbs, roots, bark, berries, or flowers. Infusions are made by blending any number of these together.
Herbal teas are caffeine free and generally safe for children and pregnant women. These teas can be high in minerals (rooibos), cold and flu fighters (ginger), alleviate insomnia (hibiscus), help clear a stuffy nose (peppermint), lessen menopausal symptoms (red clover), stimulate digestion (dandelion), aid colicky babies (chamomile), and fight viruses (cinnamon).
Rooibos, also called Red Bush Tea, comes from South Africa. It is naturally caffeine-free and contains two bioflavonoids called rutin and quercetin. Both of these compounds block the release of histamine (the chemical our bodies produce in response to allergens).
It is a strong antioxidant and has heart-protective effects in those at risk for cardiovascular disease [source]. Rooibos may also have benefits for skin irritation and contain cancer-fighting properties. Try it in this Rooibos Sun Tea.
The oil and menthol found in peppermint can have a therapeutic effect, acting as a decongestant and an anti-inflammatory, while also helping to suppress the appetite. It has been shown to fight bacteria and serves as a natural antioxidant [source].
The verdict is still out on whether it soothes or exacerbates an upset stomach, so contact your doctor before taking peppermint if you have a condition like GERD.
7. Dried Ginger
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory abilities can soothe the stomach, relieve sore muscles, and lessen the strength of menstrual cramps.
Going on a boat? Drink ginger tea to ease motion sickness. And of course, we are all familiar with ginger’s natural kick, which makes it a great flavor booster even in small amounts.
8. Stinging Nettle
You might have less than fond memories of stinging nettles from your childhood. These are the same nettles, but they turn from harmful to healthy when boiled into tea.
Nettles are the most often recommended remedy for seasonal allergies and can help relieve itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. This is also an herb to try for anyone suffering from arthritis or those who need a quick boost of energy. Try it in this Herbal Tea for Allergies.
9. Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is very popular in South America. It contains natural caffeine and works to produce corticosteroids, which act as an anti-inflammatory in response to allergens. This can help open up respiratory passages and increase oxygen intake.
Like many of the other teas, Yerba Mate is an antioxidant, but it can also lower lipids, leading to reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure [source]. It seems to have an effect on increasing bone mineral density in postmenopausal women [source].
10. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family but has a lemony scent, hence its name. Widely known for its calming effects, lemon balm has been shown to lower stress and improve mood and intellectual performance [source].
It can also help with the common cold and other respiratory issues. Lemon balm alleviates digestive problems, such as an upset stomach and gas, and also works well for painful ailments like headache or toothache.
Long used throughout Europe, South America, and Asia to treat sleep and stomach troubles, chamomile is becoming quite popular in North America. While its sleep-inducing properties are well known, chamomile can also soothe puffy eyes and be inhaled as a steam to help with cold symptoms [source].
A word of caution to allergy sufferers, though, the chamomile plant is a relative of ragweed. Try it in this Garden Chamomile Tea.
Hands down, hibiscus is a favorite tea choice to cool off with during the summer. In addition to being refreshing, hibiscus also has properties that help lower blood pressure, especially for those with diabetes. Other reasons to drink hibiscus? It’s naturally high in vitamins, like vitamin C, and acts as a natural diuretic. It has also shown promising antiviral effects for fighting influenza [source].
13. Red Clover
Red Clover is most often associated with its ability to lessen menopausal symptoms [source], but it can help men, too. This herb contains phytoestrogens that have been shown to have the ability to reduce the PSA level, the marker used to determine if you are at risk for prostate cancer [source]. Of benefit to men and women are the isoflavones found in red clover, which help protect against cardiovascular disease.
Dandelion tea is popular because it acts as a diuretic and an antioxidant [source]. Less commonly known is that dandelion root is used medicinally to treat hepatitis because it seems to have protective effects on the liver [source]. And it should be mentioned that dandelion tea helps to regulate blood sugar and blood clotting [source].
Rounding out our list of teas is cinnamon, the super spice of the herb world. Consider it if you’re interested in lowering cholesterol, fighting viruses, increasing your antioxidants, or alleviating the symptoms of arthritis [source].
Do you have a favorite type of tea? Are you going to try a new recipe after reading about all of the health benefits of tea?72