The Power of Herbal Tea: How it can benefit you every day
Herbal tea is one of the most overlooked and underrated health and wellness products on our shelves today. When we go looking for those glamorous goods that get all the hype and are said to make us feel wonderful, we may overlook the tea aisle in our local grocery or health food store. But embracing herbal teas as a daily ritual can have a huge amount of positive impact on both mind and body and can be transformational when it comes to your journey with health and wellness.
The history of medicinal herbs as infusions (otherwise known as herbal tea) has been widely documented for centuries, from all different cultures, right across the globe. Herbal tea as we know it today is derived from the ancient apothecaries; where the medicinal benefits of herbs were used to treat a variety of sicknesses and diseases much like the pharmacies we have today. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can still harness the power of herbs to benefit you every day, just like they did centuries ago.
Herbal tea is one of those wonderfully accessible products that can be enjoyed by everyone, through every life stage; it can be enjoyed by kids, the elderly, throughout pregnancy, sickness and health. It does not discriminate when it comes to religion, dietary requirements, or cultural backgrounds. Everyone can enjoy a good cup of tea.
When I see individuals turning to herbal tea for their everyday requirements (not just when they are sick or attempting to quit coffee - although these are very valid reasons too), my herbalist side does a big happy dance! We're building our health from the ground up, cup by delicious cup, every day, when we opt to drink herbal teas over other less supportive beverages. I love to think of herbal teas as a fabulous way to support our health and wellness journey.
But what makes herbal tea beneficial to our health?
To begin with, the active constituents of the herbs are where the real magic happens. To break it down, these are the chemicals or biological compounds that have specific medicinal actions on the body. As herbalists, we rely on these known active constituents to treat presenting symptoms and underlying sickness or disease. Some herbs are so useful for reducing digestive symptoms, reducing inflammation both internally and externally, helping to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, promoting better quality sleep, PMS, Pregnancy and breastfeeding support, menopausal symptoms, detoxification support, the list goes on. Herbal infusions are a gentle, safe, and effective medium to help keep symptoms at bay or to support your feeling well, especially if they are a part of your daily routine or used alongside other medicinal treatments.
Water, in addition to the wonder of the plants, is the precious liquid in which they are infused. Dehydration is more common than we think and can present its own set of symptoms like fatigue, dry mouth, and skin, headaches and nausea. The target is to consume 2L (8 glasses) of water per day minimum; but this amount can increase if you exercise, sweat excessively, consume diuretics like coffee, black tea and alcohol, consume a high fat and salt diet, sit with heating and cooling on all day and/or experience high levels of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, a lot of individuals find it difficult to achieve their daily 2L water goal in the first place. Some people have an aversion to the taste of tap water, or experience 'funny tummy' symptoms when the cold water hits their digestive tract, whilst some people simply don't think about it and it gets forgotten. Herbal tea is a superhero when it comes to keeping up your daily water intake. To start with, we absorb warm water far more efficiently than cold. The discomfort, irritation or shock cold water causes to some stomachs doesn't happen with warm infusions, which can have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. Lastly, creating the ritual of making a cup of herbal tea means you are less likely to forget to pause and drink the warm water infusion - bonus!
Continuing the next important element of why herbal tea is so beneficial to your daily life, is in the ritual itself. Here at Heart Therapeutics , we love to promote the space you create around your daily cups. You may only have 10 minutes to spend on this ritual, but it can be game-changing. My mantra here is "disconnect to reconnect". Give your brain and nervous system time to decompress, create some space and allow your overworked, overstimulated self to take a break. Begin by putting away your phone/computer, grabbing your favourite cup and put the kettle on. Whilst waiting for your herbs to brew and the water to cool, why not take some deep soulful breaths, feel the air fill your lungs and breath in the aromas of the herbs that are filling the air around you. Sip mindfully and enjoy the moment. Utilising time like this to reduce your heart rate and promote more mindfulness has unlimited health benefits that you will feel almost instantly. Think of it as your ticket to a calmer more focused self, ready to take on the rest of the day or even to symbolise the end of your workday and the transition into the night.
Another big bonus is good quality herbal teas should taste good and when they are blended with balance and flavour in mind they should be something you want to enjoy regularly. The botanicals if grown, picked and dried properly should have a good amount of volatile oils present (one of those active constituents mentioned earlier), which infuses into the water and then ceremoniously drunk by you. They are sugar-free, additive-free, cruelty-free natural alternatives to the over-processed highly caffeinated beverages which can do us a lot of harm in the long run.
Now in saying all this, there is one note to add here 'Not all herbal tea is created equally'. If you are looking for herbal teas that are therapeutic or for specific health issues it is always beneficial to look for brands like ours ( Heart Therapeutics ), where the herbal blends are formulated by a qualified practitioner who has spent years working with herbs as medicine. There can be common medicinal herbs like Licorice, that if consumed in large amounts for long periods may interfere with some medications or have negative effects on conditions like heart disease. Therapeutic herbal tea blends, created by herbalists, will guarantee safety and efficacy in situations like this.
It's important to also understand the environmental implications of the tea, herb and spice trade and how much generic or conventional tea contribute to pollution and human ethical issues. Conventional teabags contain microplastics that take thousands of years to break down and devastate our flora and fauna, especially coastal and marine life. It is the same goes for the growers and pickers of some of the most widely used herbs that fill the millions of conventional tea bags made every day. The slave trade is also still alive and well in regards to the tea and herb trade and is the human cost to providing cheap, conventional herbal tea that sits on our grocery shelves. Look for brands that pride themselves on only stocking herbs from ethical and fair trade origins. You would be surprised at how many brands have no idea where their herbs are sourced or are not interested in seeking transparency from their suppliers.
So what should you look out for when purchasing a good herbal tea?
If you are (hopefully) now off to purchase a good herbal tea what should you be looking out for? The best is always loose leaf tea; the quality is always far superior and has had minimal processing, therefore there will be less degradation in flavour and active constituents. Furthermore, the environmental impacts of less packaging rate it as number 1. Understandably though, some people still love the convenience of tea bags so always opt for compostable tea bags with paper tags and no staples. Avoid generic, conventional tea bags at all costs and look out for "greenwashing" as it is rampant everywhere but especially in the tea world.
So if you wondering about convenient ways to make a cup of tea; ethically and without environmental impact, there are so many great and eco-friendly ways to brew tea these days. Here at Heart we just love our tea cup infusers . They make brewing tea as eco-friendly as possible (along with looking fab whilst doing it!). Furthermore, looking for brands that use certified organic ingredients is also a must. To get the maximum benefits out of your herbal tea they need to be chemical and pesticide-free and therefore certified organic is the only way to go.
Beyond everything enjoy the process. It's a beautiful ancient art and provides a deep connection to ourselves, our ancestry and the plant world.
We hope you enjoyed this post and please let us know if there are any topics you would like for us to cover. You can always contact us HERE
Happy sipping! xo
PS: If you are interested in trying out some of our herbal tea blends, we have a special offer for blog readers - use the code BLOGLUV at checkout for 20% off site wide