Stemming from ancient China and India, herbal teas have long been regarded as remedies that heal the body and cleanse the mind. In recent years, these spice and fruit infused drinks have gained popularity in the West including in the United States and Europe, becoming the second widest used beverage in the world. In addition to being a delicious alternative to coffee, herbal teas are packed with nutrients that may improve the overall health and wellbeing of consumers.
While tea’s herbal properties were theorized to have medicinal properties, scientists today have uncovered research to provide a factual bases as to why people should drink more tea. The American Dietetic Association’s spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge, claims that the flavonoids in herbal teas have special compounds that are good for the heart and may prevent some cancers. She adds that “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,” whether it drank to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or prevent heart disease and diabetes, a variety of herbal teas will do the job.
The University Of Maryland Research Center emphasizes teas as being a rich source of antioxidants, a substance that fights free radicals in the body. These radicals damage cells and their DNA, contributing to the development of certain cancers and heart disease. The antioxidants found in tea, including some polyphenols, help neutralize and even reverse the damage of free radicals. As a result, the body develops a stronger immune response towards these conditions.
In countries like Japan, where the population consumes large amounts of herbal teas, cancer rates are lower than the rest of the world. The same University of Maryland study also addressed specific cancers including breast and ovarian cancers in women, and found that those women who drank herbal teas and green teas lived longer with the disease and saw less spread of tumors, than those who didn’t drink any tea.
The benefits of drinking herbal teas to fight cancer don’t stop there. A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women after a certain age had lower chances of developing throat, stomach, and colon cancer when they drank a cup of tea. Large scale and long-term studies have provided similar results. One Canadian researcher found that out of 69,000 Chinese women those who drank herbal teas three days out of the week, for over a ten-year period, had a 14 percent lower risk of experiencing cancer having to do with the digestive system.
Other Chronic and Genetic Conditions
Apart from its cancer suppressing abilities, some herbal teas have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing some chronic and genetic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Herbal teas have also shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, especially in men.
Tufts University professor Jeffrey Blumberg Ph.D. claims that herbal teas show “most promising” results in the context of cardiovascular health. His studies in the sphere have shown that those who drink herbal teas are at a lower risk of dying from, for instance, stroke. One 2013 British study reviewed 11 clinical trials and found that drinking tea can improve blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol levels in consumers.
Other studies point towards the lasting benefits of herbal teas as well. A 2012 study in BMJ Open referenced 50 different countries that linked the catechin compounds in tea to better blood sugar regulation and lower risk of type two diabetes.
As for degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the science is a bit obscured.
For example, a 2008 study noted in the American Journal of Epidemiology that tea drinkers were at a lower risk of Parkinson’s than those who didn’t drink tea. However, because the addition of different types of teas yields different results no clear conclusion can be made. In any case, you are better off drinking tea, because again there really is no downside, but significant benefits.
In addition to its cancer and disease inhibiting properties, herbal teas, specifically those based with some sort of green tea, have also shown to increase metabolic activity, which helps with weight loss and regulation. Herbal teas are also an excellent way to calm an upset stomach. Consuming three cups of chamomile tea, a day is ideal for soothing stomach muscles. Repeating this process for up two months can relieve chronic stomach pain.
Best Herbal Teas
Therefore, whether it’s for an uneasy stomach, sleepless nights, or preventing various medical issues, a cup of tea is your best bet. Try this list of herbal teas, your body will thank you.
• Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), Lavender (Lavandula), and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) for an upset stomach and indigestion
• Sage (Salvia officinalis), Passion flower (Passiflora), and Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) for sleepless nights and anxiety
• Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): for coughs brought on by bronchitis.
• Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): dilates blood vessels to prevent headaches.
• Chrysanthemum tea (Chrysanthemum morifolium) relieves a sore throat and lowers body temperature when suffering from fever
• Hibiscus Flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa) rich in antioxidants that fight against free radicals and strengthens immune system
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