There is nothing better to soothe the soul and lift your spirits during the chilly winter months than a delicious cup of hot tea, but those who don’t regularly partake may have some questions about the best teas to drink. There are many varieties — from classic chamomile to rich English tea — and all have unique benefits.
The truth is tea has been used as a natural, herbal remedy for centuries, and is said to be helpful for curing maladies such as colds and sore throats. Try out a few of those below and you just might find yourself ready to add drinking tea to your arsenal of healthy living essentials — for the colder months and beyond.
How Tea Helps Heal the Human Body
Teas are made from various parts of herbs and plants, including the stems, leaves, flowers, and roots. It has been a valuable part of many cultures for thousands of years, has been written about in many ancient texts, and has even become a tradition passed down through generations. These days, studies have shown that teas can contribute to healing, and researchers readily tout their place in overall wellness. They have found that drinking tea on a daily basis may help:
- Protect against heart disease
- Boost overall heart health
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Offer anti-inflammatory properties
- Lower blood sugar
- Help to combat free radicals
- Lower blood pressure
- Aid in weight loss and weight management
- Have calming effects (at least the caffeine-free varieties)
- Positively impact cancer cells
- May lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Experts have found that the health benefits of tea are highest when tea is made from quality crops, and studies’ results recommend drinking three cups per day. A few of the ingredients that offers these astounding health benefits include:
An antiviral that is said to relieve nausea and help to prevent colds, ginger is a common ingredient in many herbal teas. It is a fragrant spice that makes it the perfect addition to your next cup to encourage soothing in the digestive system, warmth to help remove toxins, and other benefits that promote rest and healing from the inside out.
If you are suffering from a cold, sinus congestion, or bad headaches, peppermint tea might offer you some significant relief. Peppermint is a natural painkiller, and it also may help to loosen mucus and reduce inflammation in the body. The tea is made from peppermint plant tea leaves and is naturally caffeine-free, making it a great option for before bed or when you need some help calming down at the end of a long day.
It’s teas are made from the flowers, leaves, and stems of a fragrant herb, sage has a plethora of health benefits, from helping to reduce menstrual cramps, soothe a scratchy throat, and promote good digestion, to reducing anxiety and other calming effects. Many teas — including herbal teas, black teas, and green teas — feature sage as an ingredient, so pour a comforting cup and go to your happy place.
There’s a reason that chamomile is popular as a pre-bedtime sip: The white tea made from the camellia sinensis plant is a natural sedative and can help you to unwind if you are going through a stressful time. Studies have shown that getting proper rest can help lower oxidative stress, blood pressure, and damage from free radicals, making at least one mug of white tea with chamomile in it per day a great addition to your routine.
As with any citrus fruit, a mug of lemon tea provides healing benefits like the power of a boost of vitamin C, which studies have shown can help the body fight off infections, viruses, and other maladies. A fresh squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a slice added into your mug is a popular addition to almost any type of tea leaves.
A warm, fragrant spice, turmeric has many healing properties. Studies have shown it is beneficial to almost every bodily system, and it is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ability to improve the skin, delay liver damage, and even increase your resistance to cancer cells’ growth.
There are countless other beneficial tea plants and ingredients that provide additional perks. These benefits, plus many more, are proof positive that a hot tea may be the way to go if you want a natural way to heal your body and relax your mind.
A Quick Note on Tea Plant Quality
It’s important to source your teas from quality sources if you want to get the best health benefits, however. A cheap store brand tea may not be made with the same quality ingredients as one from a loose-leaf tea seller, for example, and you often get the quality that you pay for. Opt for brands that provide information on sourcing and use fair-trade, eco-friendly, and organic growing practices if you want the best tea quality.
5 of the Best Teas to Drink for Cold Weather Healing
There are dozens of varieties of tea, each with a unique flavor profile. Here are five of the most popular, all of which are readily available at most health food and grocery stores to be easily added to your daily routine.
Chamomile tea is a white tea that has been used for centuries as a natural way to promote rest. It is the perfect remedy for when you can’t shut your mind off, feel a headache coming on, or need to initiate a ritual to help fall asleep easily. Chamomile tea comes in many varieties and flavors and can be brewed from teabags or from loose leaves, making it the perfect tea for experimentation.
A natural cough suppressant, peppermint tea is the ideal choice for the cold winter months. Festive as well as naturally healing, peppermint tea is fresh, flavorful, and full of health benefits. Try stirring your peppermint tea with a peppermint stick for an added boost of minty freshness.
Many singers and on-stage performers choose ginger tea when they want to soothe their vocal chords prior to a big performance. Even if you don’t have a scene-stealing moment coming up, ginger tea is a tasty way to treat nausea and help an upset stomach — making this soul-warming beverage a favorite with pregnant women all over the world.
Black tea is a classic, whether by itself or as a base for other popular options, such as chai tea, green tea, or oolong tea. It has a higher caffeine content than other varieties (like herbal tea, as many of its varieties are naturally sans caffeine), but there are still plenty of health benefits. In fact, black tea has been shown to improve heart health, lower your risk of heart disease, increase mental clarity, and even aid in weight loss.
Packed full of antioxidants, green tea is a tasty way to start your day or wind down in the evening. More than one study found that drinking it may improve cholesterol levels, among other health benefits, and it’s light, refreshing flavor makes it a good alternative for those who find the taste of black tea to be too strong. Green tea is like black tea in that it makes a great base for other flavors, and can be combined with black tea, oolong tea, some herbal tea, hibiscus tea, and other varieties for fun flavors and drinking experiences.
4 Steps to Steeping the Perfect Cup
When it comes to making tea, everyone has their own opinion as to how to craft the perfect cup. The process can be highly personal, which is why many people in counties like England serve a pot of tea with milk, sugar, and cream, so that everyone can doctor their mug as they choose.
There are some universal basics when it comes to brewing tea, however, and these rules apply whether you’re preparing herbal teas or something more caffeine-packed like oolong tea. It’s important to learn them to ensure you get the maximum health benefits.
- Always make sure that you boil water for tea, and do not simply use hot water. The water must be boiling hot when it touches the tea in order for the tea to brew properly.
- You can use tea bags or loose-leaf tea, depending on personal preference, although many purists tend to prefer the artisanal qualities of loose-leaf tea.
- Once the boiling water is poured over the tea, allow it to steep for a full two minutes, uninterrupted.
- Remove the tea bag or vessel, then add milk or sugar to taste or drink without accompaniments.
Remember to let your tea cool a little before diving in!
Natural Health Tips and Tricks for All Seasons
The topic of health and wellness has become more challenging over the last year, and colder weather can make those issues even more prevalent. Winter often means new illnesses and immune-system suppressing viruses around every corner. It can help to boost your body and immune response the natural way by embracing the healing power of tea, and to have an expert on your side to answer any questions you have about natural remedies and healing techniques.
If you’re ready to boost your immune system and learn more about the healing power of tea, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel today! She has been helping her patients find natural remedies through naturopathic healing for years, and she can’t wait to speak with you about any questions you might have.