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People have been drinking for hundreds of years when the leaves of Camellia sinensis were dried and steeped in hot water. Different varieties of tea have different affects on our bodies. In this article I will discuss 6 herbal teas you might not have heard of. Some teas help with relaxation and sleep (chamomile), help fight colds (Echinacea) and all contain antioxidants that are good for us. Green tea contains the most effective antioxidants and can be considered to be the best for us.

Fruit and herbal drinks contain vitamins and minerals and with added black, white or green tea leaves contain antioxidants. Here we will look at some commonly used teas and see how they affect us. We are now finding out exactly what nutrients the different kinds of teas contain – and still more facts are surfacing about their different effects on us. The market for new herbals is also growing – a lot of online speciality tea and coffee stores have started to add to their offer and carry teas that were very hard to find only a few years ago.

Some of them are teas that our great great great grandmothers drank – others were used by healers and herbalists for hundreds of years. Here is a guide to some of the healthiest known and unknown teas:

Green tea

There are as many varieties of green tea as there are days in a year and all contain different nutrients but they all contain the antioxidant compound polyphenololic catechins. The colour green is produced by Epigallocatechin gallate and is the most important of the antioxidants in green tea.

  • Drinking everyday can reduce bad cholesterol
  • Reduce risk of Type II diabetes
  • Improve digestive health
  • Improve cardiovascular health

Matcha tea

This is green tea leaves that have been pulverised into a powder and you make a tea and are able to consume the entire tea leaf and therefore get every good nutrient and its affect. The unpronounceable green polyphenol is found to be around three times more concentrated in the green tea powder than drinking green tea made with leaves.

It is thought that Match tea may be able to stimulate your metabolism during moderate levels of exercise and thus burn more calories and boost weight loss.

Nettle Tea

A refreshing tea made from the dried leaves and or dried roots of nettle bushes contains a natural diuretic and promotes a healthy flow of fluid from the kidneys and bladder flushing out any toxins from our bodies on the way. It has long been used to treat inflammatory disease such as arthritis.

Nettles contain a variety of compounds including iron, beta sitosterol, flavenoids that act as antioxidants and can aid our health in the following ways:

  • Reduces the amount of histamine (allergy causing) in our bodies and can help prevent hay fever
  • Fights anaemia (iron) and can stimulate milk production in women (Ask your Doctor first)
  • Aids in preventing bloating symptoms from period pain
  • Good aid for digestion-relieves indigestion, nausea, gas and kills intestinal worms and parasites
  • Can aid in lowering cholesterol (beta sitosterol)
  • Strong antioxidant (quercetin)
  • Can lower blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Use nettle tea as a mouth wash to help gingivitis, bad breath and mouth ulcers

Use 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried leaf or root in your teapot and steep with near boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes.

Elderflower tea

Flowers are from the European Elder and have been used for hundreds of years as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It is rich in Vitamin C and the flavenoids quercetin, a strong antioxidant and contains anthocyanins that are anti-viral.

  • Can aid in the treatment of colds, flu, sinus and respiratory problems
  • Aid with allergy control
  • Can help regulate blood sugar levels
  • Can have diuretic and laxative effect
  • Can boost immune system
  • Make tea and gargle as a good mouthwash

Use a teaspoon of flowers in a tea pot for a stimulating brew.

Dandelion root tea

Both the flowers and root of the weed we call dandelion has beneficial effects as a drink. It contains a range of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, Vitamin B and C.

  • Can improve digestion and ease bloating
  • Can cleans the liver
  • Can reduce risk of urinary infections as acts to flush out toxins
  • Helps regulate blood sugar as well as improve circulation
  • Roasted roots can be dried and used a s a coffee substitute
  • Can be an aid to weight loss as it inhibits an enzyme that breaks down fat
  • Possible cancer cell fighting properties (more studies being done)

Dandelion tea can react with some medications so ask your doctor if you are unsure of anything.

Assam Tea

This is a variety of black tea from the Assam area of India. It exhibits a malty tart flavour and is often found in breakfast teas. It contains antioxidants and is a good settler of nerves and anxiety. This tea does contain a quantity of caffeine as well as Vitamin B1.

Beneficial properties include:

  • May enhance immune system (antioxidants)
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Contains calcium for strong teeth and bones
  • Boosts cardiovascular health
  • Contains phenols that help stop mutation of cells
  • Caffeine can increase metabolism
  • Slight laxative affect can aid with constipation
  • Can improve mental alertness and cognitive function

To prepare, pour near boiling water over a teaspoon of leaves and let steep for three to five minutes depending on your taste. The tea should be aromatic with a crisp flavour.