This month has been all about Tea at Blessed Herbs. But so far, we’ve concentrated entirely on “Traditional Tea” – or, simply brewed or steeped beverages who’s flavor and active ingredients are derived (even in part) from the “Tea” plant, Camillia sinensis. But we all know there’s way more to “tea” than that!
Tea is a common term given to any beverage that is created by soaking, boiling, steeping or otherwise exposing dried plant materials to hot or boiling water. Another name for this type of beverage is a “tisane” – which also usually means that there’s no caffeine in herbal beverages made this way.
So if there’s no caffeine, why drink it? These kinds of herbal beverages and medicinal drinks can be served either hot or cold, and can be taken for a wide range of reasons, from getting better sleep to lowering your blood pressure – and even promoting feminine health before, during and after pregnancy.
There are many, many different store-bought as well as homemade concoctions that fall under the umbrella descriptive “Herbal Tea”. And, as you may have already guessed, very few of these products actually contain the sinensis plant or its derivatives.
Just because a plant isn’t a Tea Plant, doesn’t mean there aren’t plentiful benefits to be had from it. You have probably even heard of many of these herbal teas before – but didn’t realize that it wasn’t another form of “plain old tea”. Even better: did you know you could create your own herbal tea recipes?
Lemon Balm – Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a commonly used herb in certain types of culinary traditions, but has significant health promoting properties as well. Lemon Balm has a calming, soothing effect on both mind and body. It is commonly used along with Chamomile to promote healthy sleep as well as digestion. Lemon Balm is particularly effective at soothing anxiety in elderly patients.
Chamomile Tea – Chamomile is a common name for several daisy-like plants. Chamomile has a variety of health benefits, but is most commonly used as a sleep aid and to calm anxiety. It also promotes digestive health, and can be of benefit against mild cold symptoms. There is some research that indicates Chamomile can promote healthy blood sugar levels as well.
Peppermint Leaf Tea – Peppermint is widely known for its cool, biting flavor and is renowned for its digestive health promoting properties. How does it work? Menthol. This natural source for the plant compound helps with everything from calming an upset stomach to encouraging digestive juices to curing bad breath. Peppermint leaf tea is a great way to get your digestive juices flowing and relieve flatulence, bloating and pressure at the same time.
Hibiscus Tea – Speaking of healthy blood, Hibiscus tea is enjoyed around the world, particularly Jamaica and the Caribbean where Hibiscus is used in a wide variety of beverages, from tea to liquor. Hibiscus tea has a faint cranberry flavor, and can be consumed either hot or cold. It is packed with vitamin C and minerals, and promotes healthy blood pressure levels. Several studies claim it is almost as effective as certain blood pressure medications!
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Essiac Tea – Essiac may just be the most famous herbal tea blend. Made from Burdock Root, Sheep Sorrel, Slippery Elm Bark and Turkey (or Chinese) Rhubarb, Essiac was developed around the turn of the century by Canadian Nurse Renne Caisse.
Essiac packs a potent punch because each of its four traditional constituents is a powerful medicinal herb in and of themselves. Essiac can promote skin, digestive & stomach health – even promoting appetite and encouraging immune and inflammatory responses in those that drink it.
There are far too many herbal tea recipes to list them all– but that’s okay! Experiment and find the tea-without-the-tea that’s your favorite. Whether you need a mid-day pick-me-up or a nightcap that’ll knock you out until the morning comes, herbal teas have something for everyone. And with Blessed Herbs high-quality bulk herbs and ingredients, you can make your own tisanes and teas right at home – no need to buy store-bought tea bags!
Do remember though – medicinal herbs should not be taken lightly. Consult your herbalist or master physician before embarking on any herbal tea or tisane adventure!