Did you know that drinking tea can actually improve your physical and emotional health?
Confession: I’m not a huge fan of black tea. This came as both a shock and a disappointment to many of my relatives, especially since I live in the Deep South, where most people take their sweet tea through an IV. It’s just not my thing. I can enjoy a cup of English Breakfast blend if I’m say, at a tea party or a fancy-ish breakfast, but I definitely don’t see the appeal drinking it cold, and sweet tea has so much sugar in it that I may as well be eating a cupcake or something. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just not my thing, as I said.
Herbal tea, on the other hand, is a different story. First of all, it doesn’t taste like tea. It tastes the way flowers smell, and it’s usually loaded with different health benefits, depending on the combination of herbs. My mom always had a couple boxes of the stuff in our pantry when I was growing up, and now we have an entire cabinet dedicated to our impressive collection of herbal blends. I was shocked when I entered the real world and learned that normal people didn’t end every single day with a big ol’ mug of Sleepytime Tea. And because beauty and self-care has just as much (if not more) to do with what you put into your body as with what you put on the outside, I thought I’d make a post about my favorite teas, and the wonderful things they do for your health:
For Comfort and Stress-Relief: Chamomile
If you asked me what home tastes like, I’d tell you that it tastes like chamomile tea. Chamomile is a daisy-like plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for a really, really long time. There is significant evidence that it has anti-anxiety properties, and it is often used as a natural remedy for stress or even insomnia. As you’d expect, it’s very soothing. If I ever have a particularly rough day, am really worried or stressed, or am having trouble sleeping, this is the stuff I reach for.
For Stomach-Aches, Nausea, and Headaches: Peppermint
I’m sure you’re all familiar with peppermint, or at least with its flavor. What you may not know is that peppermint is one of the best natural remedies for an upset stomach, and recently people have been praising it as a cure for headaches as well. I had someone recommend it to me a few months ago when I was having random migraines, and ever since then I keep a box of it in the house just in case. Bonus: It tastes like candy canes!
Personal Favorite Blend(s): Celestial Seasonings’ Peppermint tea (the only ingredient is peppermint: you can probably guess what the taste is like)
For Sore Throats: Licorice Root and Slippery Elm Bark
First of all: this tea does not taste at all like licorice! A few years ago, I came down with strep six times in one winter, and Throat Coat (see below) became my best friend. It was the ONLY thing that made my throat feel less raw and painful. Especially effective when you use honey instead of sugar to sweeten it.
Personal Favorite Blend(s): Traditional Medicinals’ Throat Coat blend (an earthy, almost spicy flavor)
For Cold and Flu Symptoms: Elder Flower
Elder flowers are actually the flowers of the Sambucus plant, which is similar to honeysuckle. Elderberry and elder flowers are often used in folk medicine to treat the flu, alleviate allergies, and improve overall respiratory health. It also smells and tastes nice, and makes a very warm and comforting tea.
Personal Favorite Blend(s): Traditional Medicinals’ Gypsy Cold Care blend (slightly sweet and spicy with a hint of mint)
For Menstrual Cramps and PMS: Dong Quai, Chaste Tree Berry, and Organic Raspberry Leaf
(Sorry to any male readers, but this one is too much of a lifesaver not to share.) Ladies, listen up. “Dong Quai” (otherwise known as female ginseng), chaste tree (also known as vitex or monk’s pepper) berries, and raspberry leaves have all been used to treat premenstrual symptoms and improve women’s health for hundreds of years. And here’s the amazing thing: they all work. After drinking just a few sips of this tea, my cramps started to get better within minutes. Also, if your PMS mood swings can get really crazy, this can help with regulating your moods. I literally have about fifteen boxes of this stuff in my cupboard right now, just to make sure I never run out. It’s life-changing.
Personal Favorite Blend(s): Yogi’s Woman’s Moon Cycle blend (a very tasty, cinnamon-y flavor)
For Better Digestion: Dandelion
I think just about everyone remembers wishing on dandelions as a kid, but those fluffy little weeds are actually full of pharmacologically active compounds and have been used for quite a while to treat infections and liver problems, and to improve digestive health. Who knew, right? It’s great for a detox, or for drinking every day to help keep your digestive track healthy and toxin-free.
Personal Favorite Blend(s): Traditional Medicinals’ Dandelion tea (a very mild and delicate flavor)
For All-Around Better Health: Green Tea
I’ve saved the best for last. This one is quite possibly my favorite on this list; it’s definitely the one I drink most often. And I know it’s not technically an herbal tea, as it is made from actual tea leaves, but green and black teas are VERY different (green is much better for you, from what I understand). To me, green tea has a taste that’s kind of halfway between herbal tea and black tea, and it’s very satisfying. And it’s literally overflowing with health benefits. It’s high in antioxidants and contains a variety of helpful enzymes. It can actually help improve the clarity and overall-appearance of your skin, lowers cholesterol levels in your blood, has been clinically proven to speed up your metabolism almost immediately after drinking it, reduces your risk of death from cardiovascular disease, may reduce your risk of stroke, and has been proven to gradually lower blood pressure if consumed on a daily basis. I’m absolutely in love with green tea: I tend to drink 1-3 cups of it every day, and I can literally feel an improvement in my health since I started drinking it. It also contains a small amount of caffeine, so if coffee makes you jittery you might want to give this stuff a try instead.
Personal Favorite Blend(s): Stash’s Premium Green tea (a slightly herbal flavor that reminds me of my favorite veggie rolls for some reason) and Yogi’s Skin DeTox blend (a sweeter, more floral flavor with hibiscus and rose petal: tastes more like an herbal tea than an actual green tea)
What we put into our bodies is reflected in how we look and feel. I know that, personally, I’m much happier to sip on a nice, steamy mug of one of these teas than on a can of soda, which I’m sure my body is thankful for. They just taste so good! I love when healthy things happen to be delicious, don’t you? :)