12 Teas to Healing
I think everyone knows that drinking tea on a regular basis is good for you, especially if you don’t load it down with white sugar first. However, did you know that you could treat a variety of illnesses and diseases by drinking tea? Nature is full of wonderful medicinal herbs and plants that can offer relief for gas or nausea, for instance, and heal a respiratory illness. You can also reduce or reverse the signs of aging and prevent or even heal cancer with the right herbal teas.
Using tea for healing can get pretty complicated if you really delve into the world medicinal herbs and edible plants, but I tried to focus on those that would be the most familiar, and the easiest for you to get your hands on. There’s no sense in offering you complicated recipes or ingredients if you’re not going to end up using them.
Although, what I am talking about is home brewed loose leaf or organic hot tea, not the froufrou stuff that has been processed down so much that all of the nutrients are gone. Many wonderful options are available for purchase right next to all of the other hot teas. Organic tea brands line the shelves of your local grocery store, so it’s become increasingly easy to purchase organic tea anywhere you shop. Unfortunately, many of those organic tea brands aren’t being honest with their “organic” and “natural” labels.
Many popular brands, most predominantly the popular Celestial Seasonings available everywhere, are in fact not washed before the leaves are bagged. This means that, should any chemicals or pesticide products have come into contact with the tea, they will appear in every sip of your “organic” tea. In fact, 91% of Celestial Seasonings tea contains pesticide residues that exceed the amounts allowed by the U.S. government.
At the end of this article, I’ll share with you what to look for to get the truly safe, organic tea you need, and what specific brands are the best on the shelves. Spoiler alert: Traditional Medicinals is the one I use! Let’s look now at some of the best and most delicious teas for healing that you could be drinking right now. You might even have the ingredients in your pantry at this very moment.
Peppermint leaves steeped in water with a little bit of raw honey are great for relieving bloating, gas, and general stomach cramps or pain. Peppermint is known for relieving muscle spasms and is also great for nausea and vomiting. It will also warm up your body and make you sweat, so it’s good for removing toxins from the body.
How to Make: Steep a few leaves in hot water for about 5 minutes, remove leaves, add honey and enjoy! Can be made with fresh leaves or dried.
Cardamom tea can help with stomach pain, gas, and indigestion, along with nausea. This is a terrific tea that can help remove phlegm and fight respiratory illnesses as well. Cardamom is a little known spice that not many people would have in their spice cabinets, but can easily be found next to all of the other spices. It is exactly what you should drink when you have a cold coming on and want to relieve a cough or need a good expectorant. No need for cold medications!
Cardamom is excellent at detoxifying the body, and is especially good at removing excess caffeine from your system. For women who experience mood swings or other PMS symptoms, drinking a cup or two of cardamom tea each day will greatly help relieve these annoying problems.
How to Make: Steep a few cardamom pods in hot water for about 5 minutes. You may want to add a dash of cinnamon and ginger (your preference). Remove cardamom pods, add a dollop of honey, and many people like it with some milk, and enjoy!
Using the dried leaves from blackberry plants not only makes a delicious tea, but the leaves contain high doses of flavonoids, which are known for their powerful antioxidant activity.
Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which are the cause of many autoimmune diseases and for early aging. Similarly, those same antioxidant compounds that prevent oxidative stress and inflammation are known to lower cancer risk. The vitamin C, E, and A found in this tea further boost the body’s defenses against chronic disease.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a few blackberry leaves and steep for 10 minutes. You may want to add a few crushed blackberries. Remove leaves, add a dollop of honey and enjoy!
Hawthorn, also known as may flower, is a dense, thorny bush that grows in areas with moist climates throughout the world. The likelihood is high that you have one of these growing in your front yard and don’t even know it. Hawthorn is known for improving cardiovascular health by dilating and relaxing the blood vessels. This leads to increased blood circulation and lessens the stress on the heart. Tea made from hawthorn berries will relieve bloating caused by water retention by removing excess salt from the body. This is also a great tea to drink to help with high blood pressure.
How to Make: Bring a handful of hawthorn berries and their leaves with a couple cups of water to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for another 10 minutes. Remove berries and leaves, add a dollop of honey and enjoy!
Chamomile is one of the world’s most popular teas when it comes to calming the body and relieving insomnia. This tea is terrific for relieving cough and bronchitis symptoms, as well as improving the digestion. You can also use cooled tea as a gargle for a sore throat or for mouth inflammation. Chamomile is most well-known for calming the mind, relieving anxiety, and helping you deal with stress.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers and steep for 5 minutes. Strain your tea, add a dollop of honey, and enjoy!
I bet you already know that green tea is really good for you. Green tea is so full of health benefits, it is called “the wonder tea” by many people. It lowers your risk of developing cancer and inhibits the carcinogenic effect found in processed foods and other toxins. This tea has powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which fight free radicals and stop the damage they cause. Green tea lowers cholesterol, which can help cardiovascular health. Green tea has also been shown to stop certain types of cancerous tumors from forming as well.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a tablespoon of dried green tea leaves and steep for 3 minutes. Strain your tea and enjoy!
This is one I know you have in your spice cabinet. One cup of hot water infused with rosemary leaves can help to stop gas, indigestion, and bloating. Rosemary tea is also known to improve memory and concentration, stop allergy triggers, and prevent arthritis as well. This herb has strong antioxidants which fight off free radicals. Rosemary can also improve vision health, prevent aging of the brain, and stop the formation of cancer causing compounds. Rosemary is another plant that is super easy to grow at home.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a fresh or dried sprig of rosemary and steep for 5-10 minutes depending on how strong you like it. Remove leaves, add a dollop of honey and enjoy!
Echinacea has been identified as having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties and as an immune-strengthening agent. Echinacea tea is an extremely popular remedy that is said to prevent and even get rid of the common cold. Evidence has shown that Echinacea helps to boost your immune system, which could help your body fight off viruses or other infections. It is also known for its ability to fight the flu, control your blood sugar levels, aid in healthy cell growth, help to manage anxiety, reduce inflammation and lower your blood pressure.
How to Make: Combine a few fresh or dried echinacea flowers a couple cups of water in a pan on the stove and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain your tea, add a dollop of honey and enjoy!
Sage tea is well known for its medicinal properties, but is just starting to be known for its benefits in brain health. It is traditionally used for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. It is also used for reducing overproduction of perspiration and saliva; and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer's disease. It provides cognitive benefits for healthy adults, as well as improving your mood, mental function and memory. What’s more, this herbal tea improves blood lipid levels, and protects against the development of colon cancer.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a couple tablespoons of fresh or dried sage leaves and steep for a few minutes. Remove leaves, add a dollop of honey and enjoy!
Lemon balm is another great herb that is easy to find, and even easier to grow in your back yard. Lemon balm tea is known to have powers of longevity. This tea is generally used to treat colds and flu, lower blood pressure and for insomnia and indigestion. Drinking lemon balm tea twice a day for one month increases the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which help protect the body from oxidative damage to cells and DNA. It also improves mood, mental performance, calmness and memory.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a couple tablespoons of fresh or dried lemon balm leaves and steep for a few minutes. Remove leaves, add a dollop of honey or lemon, and enjoy!
When people talk about dandelion tea, they are largely talking about one of two different beverages: an infusion made of the plant’s leaves, or one made of roasted dandelion roots. Both are considered safe (so long as you haven’t sprayed your yard with herbicides or pesticides) and are used for a variety of purposes. Dandelion teas are gentle ways to cleanse the liver and the blood. These herbs help the liver to regenerate itself and function at a higher capacity.
How to Make: You can make tea with the leaves and flowers or with the root. 1) Pour hot water over a couple tablespoons of fresh or dried dandelion leaves and/or flowers. Steep for a few minutes and then remove the leaves and flowers. Add a dollop of honey and enjoy! 2) Crush a tablespoon of dried dandelion root and bring to a boil with a couple cups of water on the stove. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain, add some honey and you've got tea!
A cup of thyme tea has a lot more to offer than its pleasant taste. Thyme is a great herbal remedy rich in minerals, flavonoids and antioxidants. One of the oils in thyme known as “thymol” can help to increase the omega 3 fatty acids essential for growth of brain cells. Also, according to a study by the Biochemical and Biophysical Research, thyme oil can help to protect brain cells against aging and can prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Thyme tea can also relax coughs and bronchitis and fight against infections.
How to Make: Pour hot water over a tablespoon of fresh or dried thyme sprigs and steep for 15 minutes. Strain your tea, add a dollop of honey and enjoy!
So How Can You Tell Which Teas Are Organic and Safe?
This is a great question! With all of the organic brands of hot tea on the market, it’s difficult to know which ones are using safe practices and are true to their organic labels. Many teas on the shelf today contain dangerous chemicals, carcinogens known for causing cancer, and dangerous pesticides. If the “organic” labeled tea is no better than the generic stuff, what’s the use of buying organic? Here are a few tips to keep in mind while choosing your next brand of organic tea:
- Check if the tea brand holds two certifications: organic and non-GMO. These certifications mean the tea has been verified to contain only organic and non-GMO ingredients.
- Look at the ingredient list, and be wary of “added” or “natural” flavors, as well as any odd items such as corn starch.
- Try to choose loose leaf over ground, pre-made tea bags. Loose leaf teas have undergone less processing, and are often more natural in their creation.
Which Tea Brands Should I Be Looking For at the Store?
If you want to be certain the tea you sip is truly organic, it’s a good idea to find a brand – or a few – that are known for their all natural teas. I can help you there by giving you some great brands on the market today with great reputations for providing quality products.
- Traditional Medicinals*
- Numi teas
- Choice teas
- Uncle Lee’
- Rishi teas
- Organic India
- Stash teas
- The Tea Pot
- The Whistling Kettle
- Full Leaf Tea Company
- Prince of Peace
The best way to know that you are getting healthy, good quality tea is to grow it and make it yourself. Some easy ones would be sage, rosemary, lemon balm, and peppermint because they grow quickly in a pot in your back yard with minimal effort. Dandelion, hawthorn and chamomile can probably just be found in your yard or at least nearby.
If you’d rather not grow some herbs or go foraging for some flowers in your yard, your local health food grocer like Sprouts will carry most of these tea brands for you to pick up. I starred Traditional Medicinals because not only is it at the top of the list for quality and price, but you can find it everywhere! Even Walmart carries that brand for you, and you can know that what you are drinking is safe for your consumption and filled with tons of great nutrients for your body.
At our house we regularly purchase Uncle Lee’s Organic White Tea online for a great price for all of our iced tea. I buy the Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy tea, Healthy Cycle tea and Peppermint the most for hot tea. Next time you have a headache, some indigestion, cramps or nausea, or even feel a cold coming on, instead of reaching for that medication, try a mug of yummy hot tea with a healthy dollop of raw honey. It always makes me feel better.
Here are some other great resources on this topic for your reading pleasure:
© 2018 Victoria Van Ness