The Wholesome Journal

Herbal Teas: Why One of the Oldest Methods of Supplementation Is Still One of the Best

We think herbal tea is underrated. It really is a magical substance if you think about it.

We know that herbs and spices are loaded with nutritional goodness like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that can help our bodies cope, heal, and thrive. But let’s be honest, when was the last time you felt like adding chamomile flowers to your salad or oat straw to your bowl of cereal? Never maybe? But so many highly nutritious plants that make poor dinner choices somehow make an excellent cup of tea!

You’ve probably heard the scientific adage that humans are made of seventy percent water, and this is true give or take. Hydration is an important part of health…and so is getting adequate nutrients from plants. Plants give us phytochemicals, vitamins, and other compounds that help our bodies to function at their best. What if there was a way to easily drink all these amazing nutrients and add even more goodness to your day? Enter herbal teas.

Many nutrients like vitamins, phytochemicals, and even minerals, that are found in some of our most nutritious plants are water soluble, meaning that they can leech out into water…and create tea.

Humans have been using teas to reap the benefits of medicinal plants for as long as history goes back, and they’ve been doing it in every society on earth. Herbal teas are basically part of our DNA. And so, in the spirit of magical, ancestral medicinal and culinary practices, here we’ll share a few of our favorite herbal teas and their benefits.

1.  Anything with Ginger

Can I get an amen? Ginger is loaded with beneficial plant compounds, vitamins, and lovely, spicy flavor. Ginger is the spice that keeps on giving. It’s good for nausea, immunity, stomach pains, bloating and gas, and inflammation of all kinds.1 Ginger owes most of these amazing attributes to it high content of a phytonutrient called gingerol (go figure). Gingerol is what gives this spice it’s medicinal power and its punch of flavor.1 Ginger tea isn’t just for grown-ups either, its dynamic and aromatic flavor profile makes it a kid-friendly option for sick days when you add some honey or other sweetener. What a win!

To make this delicious tea, just peel and slice some ginger and pour boiling water over it. We like ours best with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of honey. You can decide how gingery you want your tea and put more or less sliced ginger root in based on preference.

2.  Hibiscus

Pretty pink petals packed with phytonutrient power! Not only is hibiscus one of the prettiest teas with is magenta petals that produce a flowery pink elixir, but it’s also loaded with phytonutrients like anthocyanins, and is high in vitamin C. Because of its impressive nutritional profile, studies have found that hibiscus is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-bacterial.2 Hibiscus has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as promote weight loss.2 Let’s hear it for hibiscus!

As with ginger, you can simply steep this herb in hot water and feel free to add in other goodies. Our favorite is cold-brew hibiscus and elderberry tea. To make this tea, simply fill a pitcher with cool water and add a tea ball or sachet filled with hibiscus petals and dried elderberries to the water. Leave in the fridge overnight, and in the morning, you’ll have pinky-purply perfection! If you like your tea sweet, add a liquid sugar such as honey, agave, or maple syrup to make it just right for you.

3.  Mint, Any Kind of Mint!

Bad breath, tummy aches, cold and flu, or just feeling a little too chilly? Is there anything as comforting as a soothing cup of mint tea with a little honey? Mint plants have high amounts of menthol, which give it its cooling sensation and effusive aroma.3 Mint is plant powerhouse of nutrition and can help alleviate a variety of conditions including sore muscles, especially those in the digestive tract.3 It has antiviral and antibacterial properties to soothe sore throats, and all that menthol-y goodness is wonderful for a stuffy nose too.3 In fact, mint is so powerful that in some cases it can even work as a fever reducer.3 And there are so many kinds of mint to choose from! Peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, chocolate mint, lemon mint, you name it!

Mint teas are wonderful on their own or in combination with other herbs and spices. We like to drink spearmint tea with lightly crushed anise seeds (they have a licorice flavor), to help with indigestion. This minty combo is great after a meal full of garlic and onions, as it can sooth the digestive tract and reduce gas and bloating. Just combine your desired amounts of spearmint and anise seeds and steep in 180-degree Fahrenheit water for 5-10 minutes. (Steeping mint teas in boiling water can burn the leaves and make the flavor less desirable.)

Each of the teas mentioned above, and those not mentioned as well, (there are so many!) is full of supportive nutrients to help your body thrive. The next time you feel like your body needs a boost and you’re thinking about reaching for a vitamin water or Gatorade, try a cup of herbal tea instead and drink to our ancestors.

Comment below and let us know what your favorite herbal teas are! We’d love to hear back from you and find out what you like. Also, let us know if you try any of the teas mentioned above and tell us what you think.

Cheers!

-The Wholesome Story Team

In parting, remember that eating healthy, whole foods, and lots of plants foods, is one of the simplest, safest, and most effective things we can do to promote good health in our bodies. As with every preventative/restorative measure though, sometimes these changes alone are not enough to help our bodies function the way we want or need them to. If you are struggling with health problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider such a Naturopathic Doctor, Dietitian, or Mental Health Professional to see if they can offer appropriate guidance and care. We at Wholesome Story believe that healthy communities require community effort, so we advise you to keep your healthcare community aware and involved in your journey as you pursue better health.

Sources:

  1. Slattery E. Ginger benefits. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/ginger-benefits. Published March 8, 2022. Accessed May 13, 2022.
  2. 7 benefits of Hibiscus tea. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-hibiscus/. Published February 16, 2022. Accessed May 13, 2022.
  3. Health Essentials. The best teas to drink for your health. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/teas-for-health/. Published January 20, 2022. Accessed May 13, 2022.

 

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