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Time for (healthy) tea- the therapeutic benefits of herbal teas



I am regularly suggesting to my clients to try and curb their Coffee ( and Tea) habits by actually trying to go ‘herbal’, not only to improve their energy levels and stabilise their blood sugar levels throughout the day but also for the amazing therapeutic benefits they offer.


There are so many fabulous blends on the market right now, and in the last decade it is noticeable how many more varieties and brands have appeared in the supermarkets, such as Teapigs, Pukka and Clipper. This makes it much more interesting and easier to find one that you like as well as using them to help your health , for everything from easing a cold and indigestion to helping you sleep and combatting nausea. In this blog, I shall outline my top 10 favourites , most of these are caffeine free and as hydrating as water.



My top 10 teas



Green Tea


This comes from the Camelia Sinensis plant is full of antioxidants, claimed to be great for weight loss as it speeds up the metabolism , beneficial for skin health and wrinkles and is anti-ageing. If you find the flavour ‘grassy’/ bitter you can try different varieties i.e. sencha, matcha or mao feng to see which ones you prefer. You can also buy many green teas now with natural flavouring such as lemon or mint for example to mask the flavour. Green tea does contain caffeine but only approximately a third of a regular black tea and due to the other antioxidants it is considered to outweigh the effects of caffeine.


White Tea


This comes from the same plant as green tea ( Camelia Sinensis) but is picked earlier and is therefore even less processed. It is even higher in antioxidants than green tea and much smoother on the palate. It is a pale tea with a sweet, silky flavour. Furthermore, studies indicate that white tea is better for you. Leaving tea leaves so close to their natural state means that white tea contains more polyphenols, the powerful anti-oxidant, than any other type of tea. A 2004 study at Pace University concluded that white tea can help your body's immune system fight off viruses and dangerous infection-causing bacteria.


Chamomile Tea


Chamomile tea, a traditional drink mild enough for small children in small quantities, but is nonetheless powerful enough to treat a number of conditions, from insomnia to stomach pain. It is known for its nerve-soothing and calminative properties and is also very helpful for digestion particularly if you have picked up food poisoning or a bout of diarrhoea. 3-4 cups per day can be very soothing on the bowel. Chamomile is also a lovely tea blended with oat , lavender or lemon balm to help you sleep at night. It is a great replacement for caffeine after 6pm for those of you who are slow metabolisers of caffeine and suffer with insomnia or nausea/headaches as a result of drinking it.


Ginger Tea


Well known for its ability to help with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy, you can simply steep grated root ginger in hot water and sip on it to help take the feeling of sickness away. It is also a very good digestive after a rich meal as it will encourage the liver to produce bile. Bile helps to emulsify and break down fatty foods. It also has the benefit of relaxing muscles and acting as an anti-inflammatory . Try with manuka honey and lemon as a soothing drink for a sore throat.


Yerba Mate


Move over green tea!


Yerba mate (pronounced Yerber Mat-ay) tea has many health properties and has 90% more antioxidants than green tea! It has significant immune boosting properties. It can slow the signs of aging, detoxify toxins and help reduce stress and insomnia.


Yerba mate also aids digestion by stimulating increased production of bile to break down fatty foods more easily. It also helps to cleanse your colon and reduce the stomach bacteria that can contribute to bad breath.


Combining yerba mate with a healthy diet and regular exercise can supposedly boost your metabolism to burn more calories and it can help you eat less by curbing your appetite slightly. Drinkers of this tea also report increased mental energy, clarity and focus, but they also say that yerba mate doesn't cause any of the uncomfortable side effects associated with drinking caffeinated beverages, such as headaches, stomach aches and jitters.


Rosehip


Rich in Vitamin C, flavonoids and vitamin A this is great for the immune system and keeping your skin health . Rosehips have also been found to be rich in lycopene, the powerful antioxidant, that is found in tomatoes and linked to a reduction in risk in heart disease.


Rooibos (Redbush)


This is a powerhouse from South Africa , rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, as hydrating as drinking water and a great way to get yourself off regular caffeinated tea, as with a drop of milk in it , it doesn’t taste dissimilar. Rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc and calcium. It can provide relief for skin conditions and breakouts and ease digestion. In South Africa babies have it cool in their bottles as it is so healthy!


Peppermint & Licorice


This is one of the best combinations to help with sweet cravings after a meal. Before you worry it doesn’t taste like black sugary liquorice, it is simply licorice root blended with peppermint leaves and just tastes like a sweet peppermint tea. Peppermint is such a good digestive after a meal to help with bloating , it also supports stress and anxiety due to the high menthol content, provides sinus relief, and can aid weight loss as it can act as an appetite suppressant. Licorice is good for supporting the adrenal glands, can relieve constipation and can protect the stomach lining for those who are taking medication etc.


Fennel


This is great for anti-bloating and therefore a good one to try after a rich meal if you feel like you really suffer with digestive discomfort. There is a wide range of health benefits in drinking fennel tea. Both the seeds and the tea can help with digestive problems by relaxing the smooth muscles of the intestine  and are often used by people to alleviate bloating, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, and gas. More surprising benefits of drinking fennel tea is that it is effective at reducing the symptoms of cold and flu, soothing sore throats, clearing up congestion and excess phlegm. People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may also find relief from drinking this tea.


Nettle


In one of those strange-but-true twists of nature, it turns out that the plant that can cause you so much harm could be the very solution to treating your problems. Nettles are a diuretic, cleanse the kidneys and encourage the bladder to release urine.

As a result it can be used to treat urinary tract infections , gout and inflammation as it also encourages the body to release uric acid . It contains lots of powerful minerals and is richer in calcium and magnesium than spinach! It can also be helpful for allergies such as hayfever and eczema.





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KATIE O'CONNELL

Nutrition

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