7 herbal teas with health benefits

Are you dying for your daily cup of Breakfast tea? Do you prefer Oolong, or Earl Grey? Do you look forward to that mid morning tea or coffee with a hint of desperation? Have you considered that your tea drinking habits could have a tinge of addiction to them? You are in good company. Tea is now the most popular drink in the world. Millions of people can't get through their days without it.

Tea has caffeine in it - that much we all know. But it also contains a natural stimulant called theophylline, which is equally responsible for the buzz you get from a good cup of tea. That feeling of relaxation and pleasure that floods through you as you gently sip is a much milder version of the euphoria that floods an addict's veins. 

And that headache you get, the tiredness and sore muscles that your 'cuppa' eases so beautifully? Those are the signs of your addiction. Just one more cup, and they disappear. But try and cut down your daily consumption and back they come with a vengeance.

If you recognise yourself here, it may be time to make a 'tea' shift and reboot your health in the process. Just add some different teas to your daily brews and notice the difference.

 Easy to make teas with added health benefits. Find them in the garden or the hedgerows if you can.

Easy to make teas with added health benefits. Find them in the garden or the hedgerows if you can.

Tea by itself, like coffee by itself, has been shown in scientific studies to be good for you when drunk in moderation. But it's the sugar and the milk you add with gay abandon that turn both drinks into health hazards (read why coffee is a health food).

So drink your daily cups of tea 'neat' and don't drink more than 4 or 5 cups a day. Cut out the sugar, and if that leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth (literally!), then try a herbal tea instead. You may be pleasantly surprised.

7 healthy herbal teas

Herbal teas don't just taste great - they are a medicine with no side effects that can help you with innumerable symptoms. And there's no need to just buy teabags off the supermarket shelves. 

Herbal teas are incredibly simple to make fresh, and taste much better that way. Just pick or purchase the ingredients fresh, mix together in a teapot or jug, pour on boiling water and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Add slices of fresh lemon or ginger, and you have a delicious drink that has health boosting benefits. Just the sort of side effects you actually want!

1. Rosemary

Helping your brain work better, and improving memory, rosemary boosts circulation and is a powerful antioxidant. The herb also calms indigestion and gas, while salycylic acid in the plant calms arthritis and rheumatic pain. Rosemary helps with muscle pain and skin complaints like eczema. And bad breath? This is the tea for you.

2. Peppermint

A herb that stimulates the liver and gallbladder, peppermint tea is great for weight loss. It suppresses your appetite and helps with concentration and memory. Peppermint contains menthol - a natural decongestant - so is good for sinus issues and colds too. It also calms the stomach and soothes digestive problems.

3. Valerian root

Valerian is nature's version of Prozac, calming and relaxing. Drink this if you can't sleep properly at night.

4. Nettle

It's worth a stroll along the hedgerows to pick fresh nettle tea. Nettle builds and purifies your blood and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It also boosts your metabolism - definitely one to add to the daily tea quota!

5. Verbena

This herb reboots your blood and heals cuts; it cleans up your liver and can release stones in the liver and gallbladder. Great for arthritis because it reduces joint pain and muscle ache, verbena is soothing to the stomach and suppresses appetite, so is good for weight loss and boosting metabolism.

6. Chamomile

A very soothing tea, particularly after a heavy dinner, chamomile calms inflammation and is anti-bacterial. It's also good for soothing muscle spasms and stomach aches.

7. Dandelion leaves

Wrestle the tortoise for this one! For him, it's merely lunch but for you it gets bile flowing and strengthens your liver (always good to have a happy liver), speeds your metabolism and helps with weight loss. Be aware though, it's a diuretic and may up your trips to the bathroom!

 

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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's largest breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health. 

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