Over the span of thousands of years tea has been spreading across cultures. Aside from water, tea is the most consumed drink in the world! It is prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over leaves from the plant “Camellia Sinesis”. That’s right, all true teas come from the same plant!
If you’re wondering about other “teas” such as chamomile or peppermint, these drinks are often referred to as “herbal teas”. Herbal teas encompass all beverages made from any fruit or plant that is separate from Camellia Sinesis. These are sometimes called herbal infusions to prevent confusing it with teas derived from the tea plant.
All Camellia Sinesis teas are an excellent source of polyphenols, especially catechins, which are known for their antioxidative activity. In addition to this, tea has several other benefits listed below:
White tea is unoxidized, which allows it to maintain more of its medicinal elements. Up to 20% of white tealeaves are made up of catechins, placing its antioxidant activity closely behind green tea. It has a natural sweetness and can produce low amounts of caffeine. 1
Green tea leaves are set to wither minimally after being picked so that it is slightly oxidized. Due to this brief oxidation process, green tea has the highest amount of antioxidant activity out of all the teas. When brewed, green tea has a subtle flavor and a very small amount of caffeine (about 10-30% of the caffeine in coffee). 1
Oolong tea is partially oxidized and has a caffeine content and flavor somewhere between green and black tea. The flavor has some of its own unique fragrant tones and is often compared to the taste of fresh fruit and flowers. 1
Although black tea has the least amount of antioxidant activity, it is known for increasing levels of alertness and decrease fatigue. Black tea is fully oxidized, creating a more pronounced flavor and a higher content of caffeine (50-65% of the caffeine in coffee). 1
This is a highly valued tea in China; its production is a guarded secret. Until 1995, importing Pu-erh tea to the U.S. was illegal. Pu-erh tea is an aged black tea that has a very earthy, smooth and rich flavor.
“Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one.”
– Ancient Chinese Proverb
This is a reddish tea that comes from the Aspalathus linearis plant. Rooibos tea’s medical uses include helping with hyperactive gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have pointed out that this tea has the potential to be utilized as a remedy for congestive airway disorders.5
Rosehip is made from the fruit of the rose plant. It is rich in antioxidants and is an excellent source of vitamin C. This can be used to help prevent the common cold or flu. 14
Dandelion tea was previously believed to stimulate and renew energy. Recently, researchers have discovered that this tea stimulates the growth of “14 strains of bifidobacteria—a probiotic. These useful bugs knock out bad ones that can cause diarrhea; they can also reduce allergy symptoms and ease irritable bowel syndrome.” 10
Chamomile tea is made from the chamomile flower and is often consumed for its calming effects. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found chamomile to be associated with a reduction in severe anxiety and depression. 11
Rather than reaching for caffeine when you need a boost, give peppermint tea a try. This beverage is used to aid digestion, ease gas and bloating, lessen the symptoms of a stuffy nose and increase alertness. Scientists from Northumbria University in England found that peppermint tea drinkers were more alert, concentrated, and demonstrated better working and long-term memory.4
As one of the oldest medicinal drinks, ginger tea is used to improve digestion and may aid with nutrient absorption. There is strong evidence that ginger can treat nausea from motion sickness, morning sickness, and cancer chemotherapy. 12
Hibiscus tea is a great summertime drink because it supports the cooling mechanisms of the body. This tea can also help with relaxation and lowering blood pressure. It provides vitamins and strong antioxidants that were found to help prevent stress caused by UV light. Several studies have shown that Hibiscus may help balance blood sugar, improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol and provide immune system support. 2
Echinacea tea has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. It is shown to lessen cold symptoms and speed the recovery by a day or two. Although it is helpful in treating colds, it does not help prevent them.3
To help decrease stress levels, try sipping on some lavender tea. Lavender has been proven to help ease stomach cramps, reduce nervousness and induce relaxation. 8
For hundreds of years, nettle tea has been utilized to treat rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eczema, anemia, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, hay fever and early stages of an enlarged prostate. Clinical studies have indeed found that nettle tea has antiarthritic activity.6
Written by: Maureen Dubczuk