In the midst of cold or flu symptoms, it can be quite comforting to settle down on the sofa with a warm drink. However, do you know what types of brews have the best effects on your health during these times? Today, we explore a variety of herbal teas that would do wonders for your wellbeing, and also, we will learn why these particular herbs are beneficial. Keep on reading to unveil these delicious essences that will put your health back on track.
There’s a way to boost your immune system and actually help you fight viruses like the flu. Even better, this may be no farther away than your kitchen cabinet. What can it be?... Yes, you guessed it! It's herbal teas! Herbal Teas are not only affordable and easy to find, but they also offer a variety of amazing benefits for flu prevention and recovery.
Find out in this article:
1. How does drinking herbal tea support your health and wellbeing?
2. 5 types of herbal tea for fighting cold and flu symptoms.
3. How to brew herbal tea the right way.
1. How does drinking herbal tea support your health and wellbeing?
Herbal teas could potentially be some of the healthiest things you can drink on a daily basis. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in many herbs have shown to provide many short and long-term health benefits. These teas can be a great alternative to your daily sugary and caffeinated drinks, while still providing great taste and a natural boost to your day.
Let’s have a look at the specific benefits of ingesting tea for our health.
Benefit #1: Improves Digestion
Many herbal teas help with the breakdown of fats and speed up the emptying of the stomach. Doing so, they can reduce symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and vomiting. Some of the best teas for these symptoms are dandelion, chamomile, cinnamon, peppermint, and ginger tea.
Benefit #2: Boosts Immune System
The antioxidants and vitamins found in herbal teas are great for helping fight disease and infections. They can protect against oxidative stress and lower the risk of chronic disease. Some of the best herbal teas for boosting your immune system are elderberry, echinacea, ginger, and liquorice root tea. Further ahead, we have look at these kinds of teas in detail.
Benefit #3: Treats Cold and Flu Symptoms
Herbal teas are amongst the most popular remedies for treating a cold, thanks to their amazing properties. For example, the elder tree herb is one of the best for fighting a cold as it has properties that help clear the nasal passages and stops heavy coughs. This great herb can also reduce the symptoms of asthma.
Benefit #4: Reduces Inflammation
Daily drinking of herbal tea can greatly help those that suffer from arthritis. In fact, it can reduce pain, swelling, and tiredness in joints. Ginger is actually one of the best herbs to relieve inflammation, due to its main component, gingerol. This makes this tea an ideal treatment for joint and muscle pain.
Benefit #5: Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Herbal teas calm and relax the mind, relieving stress and anxiety. Since it calms the mind, drinking herbal tea before going to sleep can also help those who suffer from insomnia. Chamomile tea is one of the best teas for stress relief and difficulty sleeping. The comforting effect may also act as a mild anti-depressant for some as it stimulates the brain to reduce feelings of depression.
2. 5 types of herbal tea for fighting cold and flu symptoms
While there's no immediate cure for the coughs, the sniffles, sore throats and aches and pains of a cold or flu, tea has long been known to ease the symptoms in a gentle, pleasing and natural way. Herbal tea, in particular, has numerous beneficial ingredients to both soothe and abate the symptoms of cold and flu as well as delivering health benefits in general. Let's discover a variety of teas that can help you ease your cold and flu symptoms, while also offering additional benefits. (Source: Eartheasy.com)
Tea #1: Garlic, Ginger, and Cayenne
While this mix seems a little explosive, it's one of the best blends to indulge on when your symptoms kick in. Being garlic an antibacterial; it helps stimulate the immune system, improving respiratory conditions, cleaning out the digestive tract, and promoting a better digestion. Though, be careful to keep the garlic amounts moderate, as too much can cause gastrointestinal irritation. One of the reasons that ginger is the other ingredient in this tea—its due to its great ability to help with just about any type of stomach pain, nausea, etc.
In addition, ginger is also great for pain and sore muscles. And our last ingredient, Cayenne, is also an excellent anti-fungal and antibacterial, which helps your digestive / respiratory tract, by breaking up mucus, and increasing circulation. All these ingredientes - garlic, ginger and cayenne- induce sweating, which is also amazing for detoxifying the body. For all of these reasons, this blend is the full bundle of aid to prevent the flu from taking over.
Tea #2: Olive Leaf Tea
There are two key compounds in olive leaf tea, elenolic acid and oleuropein, that can be really effective at inhibiting the spread of a virus and bacteria - although there's still more research to unveil its power. In fact, olive leaf has more antioxidants and vitamin C than green tea, and thus, has been used throughout history to treat fever and malaria.
Making olive leaf tea is pretty simple. You can purchase dry leaves, extracts, powders, or harvest your own olive leaves as long (make sure they are pesticide-free). Use about a teaspoon of dried leaves, and submerge them in warm water for 20 minutes. You could use for three times a day, with an option to add honey to reduce the bitter taste, if preferred. If you have a sensitive stomach, take this tea with food to avoid any stomach irritation.
Tea #3: Basil and Ginger
By now you may have realised that many of these remedies are also common culinary ingredients, and basil is no exception. You can unlock the potential of basil to fight illness by brewing a tea that calms the stomach, battles infections and respiratory disorders, and even staves off depression. Basil is also full of antioxidants and has antibiotic properties.
Thankfully it’s usually easy to obtain fresh basil, even in the winter, because fresh is best for this tea. Sweet basil will have a clove-like flavour, while lemon basil, Greek basil, and Thai basil will each have their own unique taste. You’ll need a handful of leaves for each cup of water that you brew. Wash and chop them into ribbons, and chop at least 10 thin slices of ginger. Steep for 20 minutes and sweeten with honey to taste. Drink a few cups a day.
Tea #4: Catnip, Nettle, and Dandelion
These three so-called weeds—catnip, nettle and dandelion—are so full of powerful nutrients that you could benefit from drinking this tea all the time. Stinging nettle has very potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is considered one of the must nutritive herbs because it has so many vitamins and minerals, including more than 20 times more calcium than spinach. It can alleviate itching and sneezing from allergies and boost iron levels. In fact, there are so many benefits in nettle tea it’s difficult to list them all.
Catnip helps with achy muscles, nausea, and relaxation. It’s also anti-fungal and antibacterial. Dandelion can help reduce infection, assist in kidney function, ease menstrual complaints, cleanse the liver, and aid with digestion.
With this tea, less is more. You’ll need about an ounce of dandelion root and leaves, which is generally one dandelion plant, a handful of nettle leaves (dried or fresh) and a handful of catnip. Throw these into a saucepan and boil for a few minutes. Strain and drink with honey to taste. Start with only one or two cups of this tea a day, since it can have a mild laxative effect.
Tea #5: Lemon Balm and Black Elderberry
While the stems, seeds, and leaves of the black elderberry plant are toxic, the berries have been used for centuries as a remedy for colds, fevers, aches and pains. The remedy works by lowering fevers, clearing congestion, cleansing the liver and kidneys, and acting as a mild laxative. Elderberries are also full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, providing they are cooked and prepared properly, and can give your immune system a much-needed boost. (Note that they may reduce the effectiveness of some immune suppressing drugs in patients suffering from autoimmune disorders.) Black elderberry has been shown to reduce the length of flu symptoms if taken within the first 24-48 hours.
3. How to brew herbal tea the right way.
Once you've gone through the effort of sourcing high quality teas, it is really important, that you prepare the tea properly, to allow the flavour to come out. Discover these pro tips to make the best of your loose leaf tea (by Tea Taster)
Professional Loose Tea Brewing Tips
The first thing is that you should warm the teapot with hot water. This means that when you actually come to brew the tea, the cold teapot won’t cool the water too much, so the tea will then brew properly. So just give that a little swirl around, and pour it away.
Next you take your tea. It's highly recommended to keep your tea in a nice tea caddy, because in order to store tea properly, you need to keep it airtight and away from moisture.
You can add as much tea, as you want, that’s personal taste. The traditional measurement is one teaspoon per person, and one extra spoon for the pot. So, if you're going to make tea for two people, use three teaspoonfuls.
The next stage which is extremely important is that when you use the water for your tea, you use fresh water. If you use water which you already boiled, a lot of the oxygen will have come out of it, so it won’t brew properly and the resulting tea will be very flat.
It is always better to use filtered water if possible, because that will remove any impurities, which will affect the taste of the tea. Let the water come to a rolling boil. It must reach boiling point - 100 degree celsius. You don’t want to over-boil it because, again if it over-boils, a lot of the oxygen will come out. Most modern electric kettles tend to actually over boil the water. So, as soon as this will come up to a right level, switch it off, so it doesn’t over-boil.
Start to pour it straight onto the tea. Also, put the tea cosy over the top, just to keep that as warm as possible.
You really need to give the tea a good amount of time, to allow the full flavour to come out. The colour will actually develop quite quickly, but the flavour will take longer, the minimum time you must give the tea (in case of loose tea) is 5 minutes.
Once the tea has gone a good 5 minutes to properly brew, you are ready to drink it. Next thing you should do is give it a stir, just to mix it up a little bit. And then, you can pour it out into the cup. So now, it is really ready for you to drink – how ever you prefer; just drink it black like that, or with a touch of milk, lemon or sugar. That’s really up to you.
So that’s really how to make the perfect cup of loose tea.
Additional details for brewing
Follow the steps above and below, and enjoy your best cup of tea so far.
Step #1: Heat some water. The amount of water depends on how do you like your herbal tea. Ideally, heat at least 2 cups. So, simply pour the water into a kettle and bring it to a rolling boil. Remember to not over-boil it, to avoid the water from loosing its oxygen.
Step #2: Add the tea. The rule is to add a teaspoon of tea leaves for each cup and one for the teapot. Have tea bags? Simply use one tea bag for one cup of tea.
Step #3: After you add the hot water to a teapot with tea leaves or bags, you should let it rest for about 5 minutes. If you prefer a stronger tea, just use extra tea leaves/bags instead of increasing the steeping time.
Step #4: Spice it up! You can add anything you want! Our recommendation? Honey, sliced lemon or mint. It will make the tea even more intense and enjoyable.
Extra bonus tip: After you put your tea in, make sure you cover your cup with a lid or plate. Why? This guarantees that your tea’s essential oils don’t escape, plus it keeps it warm while you wait!
“Let us thank Nature for all these gifts, the best gifts to be had. Stick to your good, simple medicinal herbs.” – Sebastian Kneipp