Have you ever noticed how a good tea can really hit the spot?
Whether you are stressed, sore, or sad, a few sips can provide an impressive soothing effect.
Did you ever wonder why?
How can tea, in a very short period of time, change your emotion from anxious to calm, your muscle tone from tense to relaxed, and your pain from severe to mild?
What’s so magical and therapeutic about tea?
It’s not magic at all. Teas possess a diverse and broad array of plant nutrients that have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Unhealthy inflammation and oxidation cause injury to your body.
Specifically, these destructive processes damage cells, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
This contributes to negative emotions, pain, weakness, stiffness, and disease.
The healthful substances in tea counteract the destruction brought on by unchecked inflammation and oxidation. This in turn makes you happier, healthier and more functional.
Excited to learn more?
In this article we’ll discuss:
- What are herbal teas?
- What are 8 amazing health benefits from drinking herbal teas?
- Why are herbal teas potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories?
- What are the 11 best anti-inflammatory teas?
- Dr. Lucas’s Favorite Herbal Tea Remedy
- Your Herbal Challenge
What are herbal teas?
Technically, the term “tea” can be applied to just about any beverage made by steeping plant leaves or flowers in it.
White tea, green tea, black tea, and oolong tea all come from the leaves of a tea bush called Camellia Sinensis.
Every other tea besides white, green, black, and oolong can be considered herbal teas.
Herbal teas are mostly a blend of several fruits, leaves, flowers, bark, and roots.
Herbal teas go by many names and are also referred to as :
- Herbal infusions
No matter the name, the therapeutic benefit of herbal teas have been known to health practitioners for quite a long time. Historical texts documenting herbal teas effectiveness go back as far as ancient China and Egypt
In fact, dried peppermint leaves have been found in many Egyptian pyramids and the Greek doctor Dioscorides listed over 600 herbal concoctions in his groundbreaking medical text published in the 1st Century AD.
More than 2000 years later, modern research has validated the ancient wisdom of herbal teas with cutting edge experimental data substantiating many of the historical uses of herbal teas to treat disease and ailments.
What are 8 Amazing Health benefits from drinking herbal teas?
Herbal Tea Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Perhaps one of the most important and popular features of herbal teas is its anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation is a natural process that your body uses to heal itself.
But sometimes inflammation becomes unrestrained and your immune system actually attacks itself and destroys healthy cells, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
The consequence of unhealthy inflammation is pain, stiffness, swelling, and negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety.
While research is still ongoing, daily drinking of herbal tea has been shown to help people suffering from arthritis, tendonitis, and muscle pain.
Herbal Tea Supports a Strong Immune System
When you hear about herbal teas, it is impossible not to talk about their wonderful effects on supporting your immune system.
Perhaps, this is the most common reason why people are inclined to drink a hot cup of tea when feeling under the weather.
In fact, research suggests, many herbal teas offer antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. This helps your immune system ward off infections naturally, keeping you healthy.
Herbal Tea Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases
Everyone seems to be searching for a natural way to prevent chronic disease. Fortunately, herbal teas with their potent antioxidants do just that!
By helping to prevent oxidative stress and counteracting the free radicals that injure normal tissue, these concoctions can help you avoid common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
Studies focusing on the active ingredients in herbal teas have identified a wide range of health promoting nutrients like flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins.
These are the same types of substances found in healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.
Herbal Tea Boosts a Healthy Digestive System
Herbal teas work well for your digestive system by helping to absorb gas, break down fats, absorb nutrients, and speed up emptying of the stomach.
Further, teas remove free radicals from foods, which are triggers for indigestion.
Herbal teas also contain nutrients that can help strengthen the muscles in your stomach and esophagus, making acid reflux and heartburn symptoms less likely.
Herbal Tea Promotes Better Brain Function & More Positive Emotions
Teas can help improve mental function by increasing blood flow your brain, delivering more oxygen and more nutrients to your brain cells and helping you perform at a higher level.
Additionally, certain substances in herbal teas help stimulate the positive emotion neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin.
Herbal Teas are Anti-Aging
Who doesn’t want to look and feel younger?
The primary driver of aging is oxidative stress and free radical damage.
As mentioned earlier, herbal teas are rich in powerful and broad array of antioxidants, which are effective in slowing down the natural aging process.
Herbal Teas Treat Acne
You probably have not heard much about this wonderful benefit, but herbal teas are useful in the treatment of acne. You can either drink the tea or apply it directly to your skin to reap the benefits.
Thanks to teas’ antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, many of the mechanisms that lead to acne are thwarted with this simple treatment.
For some, herbal teas might provide a safer and cheaper alternative to commonly used dermatological products.
Herbal Teas Promote Relaxation
Herbal teas are known for their soothing effects. Teas have been used for centuries for unwinding after a long, stressful day.
This benefit comes from more than just the comfort of a warm cup of tea. Herbal teas have actually been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system is a neural network that promotes rest and relaxation.
Stimulation of this system causes the release of calming hormone and deactivates muscles tension so you can relax. Sounds pretty great, right?
Why are Herbal Teas Potent Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatories?
There are thousands of different types of toxins, free radicals and oxidizing agents and there are hundreds of steps in the inflammatory process.
Just because something is an antioxidant or an anti-inflammatory does not mean that a particular substance acts on the same toxin or on the same step in the inflammatory process as another antioxidant or anti-inflammatory. There is no one-size-fits all for inflammation.
The best antioxidant and anti-inflammatory strategy is to provide protection against as many toxins as possible and attack as many steps in the inflammatory cascade as possible.
Here lies the beauty of herbal teas!
Herbal teas don’t only contain one potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory – they contain hundreds!
The diverse array of healthful nutrients in herbal teas act synergistically to provide powerful protection that is much greater than one particular active ingredient alone.
What are the 11 Best Anti-Inflammatory Teas?
Instead of relying on prescription drugs to manage your pain and swelling, try some of these all-natural teas that have been proven to help curb inflammation:
This spice has been used as a remedy in India and China since ancient times. Ginger possess the powerful active ingredients zingiberene, gingerol, and shogaol.
It is well known as an effective rival of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In fact, some research indicated that ginger is even more effective than NSAIDs when it comes to treating pain and swelling (2).
While the exact mechanism remains to be unknown, it is thought that ginger can inhibit the activation of genes involved in inflammation.
In another study, ginger tea was proven to be effective in treating chronic knee pain and inflammation among arthritic patients (3).
Ginger tea is not just for aching and bulging joints, several studies have been consistent in showing that ginger can also prevent stomach ulcers and relieve nausea and vomiting, especially among pregnant women (4, 5).
Ginger can make a delicious and nutritious drink, especially when mixed with some lemon and honey.
This age-old recipe can soothe a sore throat too!
Turmeric has been a huge craze these past several years. This tea is perhaps the most popular herbal treatment not just for pain and inflammation, but for several other health conditions too.
Turmeric is a vibrant orange-yellow spice that has been employed by traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to promote health.
Turmeric’s healthful nutrients are housed in an underground stem like structure called a rhizome.
It works by blocking pro-inflammatory molecules so they cannot prompt the beginning of the natural inflammation process. It literally stops inflammation before it starts.
This has long been recommended as an alternative to traditional anti-inflammatory drugs.
A crazy healthy and tasty herbal tea combo would be turmeric and ginger!
Just steep ¼ teaspoon of turmeric with ¼ teaspoon ground ginger in boiling water for 15 minutes.
Chamomile is another herb that has long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammation-related disorders.
More recent research has shown Chamomile tea to be just as anti-inflammatory as folklore claims.
Additionally, researchers suggest moderate chamomile intake provides antioxidant activity, antimicrobial activity, anti-platelet clumping activity, and anti “bad” cholesterol activity.
In an interesting study, researchers in Ohio demonstrated that the anti-inflammatories in Chamomile help stop inflammation in a very similar manner as common over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. (Life Sci. 2009 Nov 4;85(19-20):663-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2009.09.007. Epub 2009 Sep 27. Chamomile, a novel and selective COX-2 inhibitor with anti-inflammatory activity. Srivastava JK1, Pandey M, Gupta S)
While you may be familiar with cinnamon for its culinary uses like baked goods, it also makes a flavorful and healthy tea.
Like other herbal teas, cinnamon tea plays a role in controlling inflammation. In an experimental study conducted in 2011, cinnamon extracts were proven to reduce colon inflammation in mice (13). The researchers are hopeful that this effect will be evident in humans too.
Aside from cinnamon’s great act against inflammation, it also has anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-cancer, antimicrobial, and lipid-lowering properties.
Surprisingly, it was also found to be effective in the treatment of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Tart Cherry Tea
A lesser known herbal tea with strong anti-inflammatory potential. Tart cherry tea can by subdue inflammatory pathways. Tart cherries are among the most effective anti-inflammatory foods. Their effects are comparable to well-established prescription drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen minus the side effects.
You can make regular servings at home. You just have to mix 100% cherry juice with hot water and add some lemon and honey to boost the flavor.
Fennel tea may not be as popular as the other teas on this list, but it has shown to provide several health benefits, specifically related to pain and inflammation.
Though the exact mechanism is still being investigated, fennel has analgesic and antispasmodic compounds that reduces cortisol levels and helps the body to relax.
One study was conducted in 2012 to examine the effects of fennel on menstrual cramps and pain. Results showed that fennel is indeed effective against pain and inflammation (14).
Rose Hip Tea
Roses aren’t just for Valentine’s day. The little reddish ball at the stems of rose plants contains high levels of Vitamin C, which is good for the skin and the immune system.
Its other active ingredients, galactolipids and phytochemicals, have anti-inflammatory properties. Some research indicates patients with osteoarthritis have benefited from taking rose hip and hibiscus blends.
Have you ever thought of using Pineapple to make teas?
Why not, if it can help you get a good fix for your pain and inflammation.
Bromelain, an active enzyme in pineapples, has analgesic effects. This helps reduce swelling and inflammation. Some research suggests it is as good or better than NSAIDs, especially in cases of osteoarthritis.
It’s very easy to make. Just add pineapple to a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes then remove from heat and let it stand for another 20 minutes.
After that, just strain it and you’re ready for a drink.
Eucalyptus was very popular among the ancient people of Australia. For thousands of years this has been their main go-to when treating inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
One study confirmed that this old-age tradition really does work. Eucalyptus has also shown analgesic property (15).
While, most of you would recognize eucalyptus as an essential oil. It can also make a good tea by boiling the leaves.
Liquorice Root Tea
Any herbal tea fan surely know liquorice root tea. and its long history as a powerful pain killer and anti-inflammatory. It contains high amounts of natural anesthetic compounds.
In a study conducted by Chandrasekaran in 2011, it was proven that aside from easing arthritis, the root can likewise be effective against gastrointestinal problems (16).
To make a good drink, liquorice is often mixed with other anti-inflammatory herbs like peppermint and fennel.
Peppermint is actually a hybrid mint, being a cross between watermint and spearmint. It is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East and was used since antiquity as a potent herbal medication.
This herb acts as a good muscle relaxant, hence being used to relieve menstrual cramps (17). This herb has long been used in bringing down inflammation.
One study involving 127 women suffering from menstrual cramps were given peppermint extract capsules. The result showed that these were as effective as NSAIDs in lowering the duration and intensity of menstrual pain (18).
In another study, researchers found that peppermint tea has a soothing effect on nerves and provided mild pain relief. The study also showed antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-cancer, and anti-allergic benefits of peppermint tea.
Dr. Lucas’s Favorite Herbal Tea Anti-inflammatory Remedy
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- ½ tsp ground ceylon cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sweetener of your choice (optional)
- In a small pot, warm coconut milk over medium heat
- Add turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and sweetener then simmer 6-8 minutes, until fragrant, whisking occasionally
- Strain and enjoy
Your Herbal Anti-inflammatory Challenge
Herbal teas offer a nutrient dense, low calorie remedy to help prevent and mitigate disease while offering an array of other benefits.
Teas provide a concentrated dose of nature’s best solutions to the toxins and free radicals that cause excessive inflammation and oxidative stress.
These powerful substances help you counteract the debilitating symptoms that compromise the quality of your life.
As a good practice, aim to drink 1 to 3 cups per day to get the most therapeutic benefit from herbal tea.
Additionally, drink your herbal tea with meals or shortly after meals to help neutralize any toxins you might consume with your usual diet.
Finally, be confident in both the short term and over your lifetime that embracing herbal teas will positively impact your well being.