Herbal Teas, AKA Tisanes: A Celebration of Humanity’s Oldest, Most Delicious Herbal Supplements
Herbal Teas, AKA Tisanes:
A Celebration of Humanity’s Oldest, Most Delicious Herbal Supplements
Tisanes Are Old Magic
Did you know that the proper name for an herbal tea is actually “tisane”? Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis (tea) plant, but a tisane is made from any combination of herbs, spices, fruits, etc. We like the word “tisane” because it sounds like old magic and flower petals, so we’ll use it in this post a lot.
Why Drink Herbal Teas?
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?
What if there was a way to easily drink all these amazing nutrients and add even more goodness to your day? So many highly nutritious plants that make poor dinner choices somehow make an excellent cup of tea!
Many nutrients like vitamins, phytochemicals, and even minerals, that are found in some of our most nutritious plants are water soluble, meaning they can leach out into water…and create a tisane.
Humans have been using tisanes 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, we’re sharing a few of our favorite herbs that you can use in your next cup of herbal tea.
- Zingiber officinale (Ginger).
Can I get an amen? Ginger is loaded with beneficial plant compounds, vitamins, and a lovely, spicy flavor.
Ginger is Mother Nature’s gift that keeps on giving. It’s good for nausea, immunity, stomach pains, bloating, gas, and inflammation. 1 Ginger owes most of these amazing attributes to its high content of a phytonutrient called gingerol (go figure). Gingerol is what gives this famous botanical its medicinal power and punchy flavor. 1
Ginger tea isn’t just for grown-ups either; it's a great, kid-friendly option for sick days. Just add a little honey or another sweetener to make a wholesome, soothing cup of immune-boosting magic. What a win!
To make a delicious, sick-day ginger tisane, 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 determine how gingery your tea will taste by using more or less sliced ginger root.
- Hibiscus sabdariffa (Hibiscus).
Pretty, pinky-red petals packed with phytonutrient power! Not only is hibiscus one of the prettiest teas, with a magenta hue that produces a flowery pink elixir, but it’s also loaded with phytonutrients like anthocyanins and is also very high in vitamin C. 2
Studies have found that, because of its impressive nutritional profile, hibiscus tea has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-bacterial properties. 2
Hibiscus has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as support weight loss. 2 Let’s hear it for hibiscus!
As with ginger, you can simply steep this herb in hot water. You can also freely add in other goodies like sweeteners or complementary herbs and spices.
Our favorite version right now is a cold-brewed hibiscus and elderberry tisane. To make this tea, simply fill a pitcher with cool water and add a tea ball or sachet filled with dried hibiscus petals and elderberries. Leave in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you’ll have pinky-purpley 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.
- Mentha (Mint)…any kind of mint!
Is there anything as comforting as a soothing cup of mint tea with a little honey? Mint is here to help with everything from bad breath, to tummy aches, to nasty colds.
Mint plants have high amounts of menthol, which creates a cooling sensation and gives the herb a heady aroma. 3
Thanks to its high menthol content and other phytochemicals and vitamins, mint is a plant powerhouse of nutrition that can help alleviate sore muscles, especially those in the digestive tract. 3 It even 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... there is a mint for everyone. Mint teas are wonderful on their own or in combination with other herbs and spices.
One of our favorite ways to enjoy mint is in a spearmint tisane with a sprinkling of 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 soothe the digestive tract and reduce gas and bloating. Just combine your desired amounts of spearmint and anise seeds and steep for 5-10 minutes. Aaahhhhh…so happy and soothing.
Let’s Drink to Our Health
Each of the herbs and tisanes mentioned above, and those not mentioned as well, (there are so many!) is full of supportive nutrients to help your body thrive. So, 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 nourishing tisane instead and drink to our ancestors. Cheers!
In parting, remember that eating healthy, whole foods, and lots of plant 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 as 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.
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- 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.
- Kaputk. 7 benefits of Hibiscus tea. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-hibiscus/. Published February 16, 2022. Accessed May 13, 2022.
- 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.
- All gifs obtained from Gify.com; links for each gif are posted below the respective image.