Tea is consumed by more people today than ever. There is a wide array of teas available. One of the reasons for its popularity is its medicinal properties. Tea has been proven to protect against heart disease.
Tea is able to do that because of the chemical make-up of the tea leaf, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins. Green tea appears to have more preventative properties than black teas. The following is a compilation of some of the more popular teas and where they originated, what they taste like, and their medicinal properties.
Bergamot: native to North America; used to relieve menstrual pain, insomnia, and nausea. It has a lemony, mild taste. To make it, simmer one teaspoon of bergamot in a cup of water and steep for ten minutes
Chamomile: native to Europe; best known as a cure for insomnia and tension as it has a calming effect. Soak tea in boiling water until it reaches desired strength. It has a mellow taste, but can be sweetened with honey or sugar.
Dandelion: native to North America; it’s a common weed, but has been used as a medicinal tea. It acts as a diuretic, as it removes excess water from the body. It has a mild taste. Steep in one cup of hot water.
Echinacea: Native American; known to be an immune booster, it may shorten the duration of colds. It has a mild taste and can be sweetened. Put two teaspoons of dried Echinacea in a cup of water. Simmer fifteen minutes, strain.
Fennel: has its origins in the Mediterranean;
it helps to promote digestion. It has a spicy, anise-like taste, which makes it very popular. Add one tablespoon to one cup of hot water and let steep for five minutes. Can also be sweetened with honey. As an alternate remedy for upset stomachs, boil 1/2 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds in one cup of milk.
Feverfew: has Native American origins; used to relieve headaches; it is quite bitter in flavor, so it is best with added sweetener. Add one teaspoon to one cup of boiling water.
Ginseng: a native plant to Asia; It is aromatic and has many uses. In Chinese herbal medicine, it is considered a cure-all. It is used for coughs, colds, and fevers. Some think it improves concentration and endurance. It has an earthy, parsley-like taste. Use one cup of boiling water and 1/2 teaspoon of ginseng. Use sparingly as it is a strong tea.
Lavender: a native Mediterranean plant; It is a natural sedative and has calming effects. It is also helpful for headaches and insomnia. Lavender has a sweet aroma and flavor. use one teaspoon in 1/2 cup boiling water.
Lemon Balm: originated in the Middle East; used to treat tension and depression; headaches and colds. Has a natural sedative effect. It has a sweet lemon flavor. Use boiling water and infuse fresh leaves. Steep to taste.
Mint: a European native plant, but now common in North America; Peppermint is the most common and it helps with digestion and upset stomachs. But there are also spearmint, apple mint, and ginger mint teas. Mint teas also act as a decongestant. The teas have a nice, refreshing mint flavor. Pour boiling water over a few sprigs to make a refreshing tea.
Rosehip: originated in Europe and China; this tea is a good source of vitamin C. It has a sweet and tangy taste. Boil a handful of rosehips in water for five minutes. Strain before drinking.
Strawberry: common in Europe and North America; strawberry leaves are used to make the tea. the leaves are rich in vitamin C and are used to treat stomach pains and nervous disorders.
Of course, it has a sweet taste. Add one teaspoon to one cup of boiling water.
Valerian: native to Europe; used for nervous tension and headaches. It has a mild, unpleasant taste. Sweeten with honey or sugar. Use one cold water and one teaspoon valerian. Let steep overnight, strain, and drink cold.
There are many more teas in all different flavors. Experiment until you find your favorites. At the same time, you are doing something good for your body.