I have turned to the benefits of herbal teas many times in recent years. Not only do I love the inviting scents, the cozy feeling of a warm cup in hand but the myriad of health benefits associated with herbal infusions and decoctions are really something to celebrate.
The history of tea is long and complex, spreading across multiple cultures and over thousands of years. The cultural, medicinal, and economic interests of tea are plentiful, heck, there have even been wars over these delicious dried materials.
But beside just the feel good aspect of slowly sipping a cup of warm liquid on a cold day, are there any physical or physiological benefits to be gained?
I say – YES! The infusion of leaves and flowers and decoctions of roots and barks deliver lovely benefits through the extraction of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds through hot water.
Benefits of Drinking Herbal Tea
- Hydration You need to constantly be intaking liquids, especially on a hot day or breastfeeding. It is recommended to divide your body weight (in pounds) by half, convert that number to ounces and drink that much daily. Ex: I am not more than 140 pounds, divided by 2 = 70. I should drink 70 ounces every day. There are 32 ounces in a quart, therefore I need (at least) roughly 2 and 1/4 quarts a day.
- Sensory Pleasure Warm, colorful, steaming, and flavorful all describe my favorite teas. Drinking in all this positive sensory stimulantion brings such pleasure.
- Social Interaction Going out for coffee, but don’t drink coffee…tea is your answer! I always like offering a cup of fresh tea to friends that come to visit.
- Steeping herbs in hot water releases nutrients and provides medicinal benefits to the body that are easily recognized and absorbed.
Medicinal Benefits of Herbs
Herbalism, the study and use of medicinal plants, is long established across the globe and many traditional medicine practices continue today. I find it interesting to note that many pharmaceuticals are based on the medicinal healing properties of plants. They isolate plant-derived compounds, package them and try to scientifically prove that the processed isolated part is the better version. Who is it better for? The customer (you) or the business (them)? Herbs are accessible, affordable, and easy to handle. In any event I may need a sort of medicine I prefer to work with herbs first before turning to over the counter medicine and prescription drugs. You may or may not agree. Everyone is prone to their own opinion but as long as decisions are made honestly and with an educated point of view, they should be respected.
Herbs are generally classified as culinary, aromatic, and medicinal herbs. While there are strictly medicinal herbs, culinary and aromatic herbs also offer health benefits. The versatility is evident when we look at basil, for example. Usually seen as a culinary herb, basil is a remedy against stress due to it being a nervine (meaning it has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system). Mint is an aromatic herb but commonly known to be a useful digestive aid. So you see, people can use plants for different purposes. Tea can be a tool to change your mood, your digestion, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.
DIY tea blends are so much fun because you can customize them to your needs. I like buying dried organic herbs in bulk and having them on hand to mix and match when the moment of desire strikes. It only takes a quick look at popular brands like Traditional Medicinals, Yogi Tea, and Earth Mama, Angel Baby to see that awareness of herbal teas is growing.
No matter what your ailment there are herbs out there that can help. I frequently drink herbs for the vitamin and mineral contents, I think of these as providing a sort of daily multi-vitamin protection. Whenever the flu or other illness affects my family I immediately go to my drawers of herbs and whip up a special mix to ward away the nasties that try to come.
Casually drinking tea gives me a special time to reflect and take some moments to recollect myself. As a mom, these moments are priceless! I make tea when I am happy, sad, healthy, sick, grumpy, groggy and tired – no occasion is off limits. Tea is my special “mom treat” that I truly do cherish.
Here are my five top DIY herbal tea blends:
Check out these fun Tea Time accessories and be on the look out for upcoming tea recipes!
Unbleached reusable muslim tea bags are great for steeping your own loose tea blend.
Stainless Steal Loose Leaf Tea Infuser with saucer look like my kind of tool.
The Perfect Tea Maker – such a beautiful presentation!
A glass tea kettle and infuser looks fancy as well.