Herbal tea is a generic term for tea made from herbs instead of tea leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). These are not really teas as they are not usually made from tea leaves but other types of plants. They are purely made of herbs without any tea leaves and are caffeine free alternatives to tea or coffee for a hot drink.
How did it get its name?
Herbal tea is also known as tisane. The name notes that the tea is not made from tea leaves. Herbal tea can be made from fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots. The tea is usually made by pouring warm to boiling water over the plant parts and allowing the mixture to brew for several minutes.
The Health Benefits of Herbal Tea
The majority of herbal teas have medicinal properties. Most are high in Vitamin C and some have very particular active ingredients with very specific effects. Some of the herbs commonly used to make herbal teas are:
Tulsi or ‘Holy Basil’ is a prime herb in Ayurvedic treatment. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, Tusli is a kind of "the elixir of life" as it promotes longevity. The plant extracts can be used to prevent and cure many illnesses and common ailments like common cold, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning and malaria. It is often called “mother’s medicine” of nature.
Chamomile, Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant from the daisy family. The active ingredient in chamomile essential oil is known as bisabolol, which has a number of anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties that can be used to treat a number of everyday ailments, such as insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety and panic attacks, stomach flu, and ulcers.
Lemongrass is a citrus flavored grass that is often used in cooking. It is known to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Herbal tea made of lemongrass is known to aid digestion by killing infectious microbes in the stomach. In Ayurved it is known as the medicine for relieving cough and nasal congestion. Brazilian folk medicine also prescribes lemongrass tea for anxiety and its oil is often used as relaxing perfumes and scents.
Nettle has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties and is commonly used against hay fever, arthritis, eczema, asthma and urinary tract problems. Fresh nettle may be used to stop bleeding due to its high vitamin K content, but is almost absent in dry nettle which may then be used as a blood thinning agent.
These herbs are collected from the clean mountain meadows of the Himalaya near Mount Everest. In a Buddhist viewpoint, the petals of the rhododendron tree are said to be the tears of the Bodhisattva "Loving Eyes" and symbolize the united compassion of all Buddhas.
It clears stomach and improves digestion. It is helpful with "lung" disorders involving general weakness of the body. It helps reduce fever and swelling of the abdomen due to the indigestion of food, restore the natural balance after changes in climate or water. This tea helps balance five elements and improves physical well being.
Some other herbs include Thyme, Echinacea, Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Parsley etc.