Why buy Herbal Tea: Part II

by Elena Popec 4. September 2012 09:36

Once you try herbal tea, chances are good that you’ll like them enough to keep drinking them.  Herbal tisanes are very flavorful, almost calorie-free, and packed with so many healthy compounds that many herbals are considered “super foods”.  Any visit to your local supermarket or specialty foods store will most likely result in the discovery that whole aisles are dedicated to true teas and herbal tea blends.  There are all sorts of interesting flavor combinations out there, and blends that combine herbals with similar effects to achieve maximum results (for example, just about every major tea manufacturer offers at least one herbal blend that is intended to soothe and relax you before you go to bed). 

These pre-packaged blends are a great place to start.  They give you the opportunity to try out a large variety of flavor profiles and to learn what benefits best fit your needs.  But no matter how big that aisle is, eventually you’ll exhaust all the options available there.  When that happens, skip the supermarket altogether and head for your local tea shop.  If you’re a true fan of herbal tisanes, the tea shop will open up a whole new world of beverage opportunities.  First of all, tea shops generally deal in loose teas and herbals, rather than the pre-packaged varieties.  Loose herbals are much more flavorful, they are comprised of higher quality plant parts, and you have more freedom to experiment and find the perfect proportions in your steeped infusions. 

You’ll also be able to experiment with new blends and adventurous flavor of tea ingredients combinations.  Sure, some combinations are obvious, like lavender and vanilla bean or cardamom and cinnamon, but once you’re familiar with the flavor profiles you love, you’ll have a lot of fun mixing them to discover delicious new blends.  If you’re not sure where to start, ask the proprietor of the tea shop; he or she will undoubtedly have some great blend ideas to get your started.  Are you ready to take your herbal drinking to the next level?  Try growing some of your own herbs.  Many herbs, like chamomile, rosemary, mint, and lavender, grow easily in a variety of different settings.  They’ll thrive in your backyard herb garden, but they’ll also be perfectly happy in an indoor or box garden.  To turn your herbs into herbal infusion blends, simply pick the leaves, petals, or fruits when they’re mature; left alone in an undisturbed area (with little or no direct sunlight), they’ll dry up all on their own.  Different herbs require longer drying times, and can vary from a few days to a few weeks.  You’ll know they’re ready when they crumble easily.  Then, just crush the dried pieces, place them in a labeled, airtight container, and store them in your pantry for up to a year – if they last that long.

The options in herbal tisanes are endless.  Whether you buy bagged blends, mix flavors from your tea shop, or grow your own herbs, you’ll always have several delicious tisanes ready to steep.

Why Buy Herbal Tea?

by Elena Popec 28. August 2012 21:41

If you look in your closet right now, you’d probably find a variety of different clothing items.  You may have some shirts that are similar, but your collection is most likely made up of a wide range of styles and fabrics, and a rainbow of colors.  Similarly, your pantry is probably stocked with an assortment of options in each category.  Maybe you have several different snack foods, a variety of herbs and spices, or a selection of convenience foods in different flavors and cuisines.  Whether you’re considering your wardrobe or your kitchen, or any other area of your life for that matter, you acquire a variety of items because you want to be prepared for different situations.  The same outfit that’s appropriate for a day at the office might not work for a nice dinner out.  You may be in the mood to wear black one day, and feel like wearing a bright color the next.  Likewise, you stock your pantry and refrigerator with lots of food options so that you have a choice; you can find something that is appealing, no matter what you’re in the mood to eat.

A well stocked herbal tea collection should be approached just as you approach filling your closet or your kitchen; choose a variety of different options, across a few broad categories, so that you know you’ll always have something to suit your mood.  Not only are herbal infusions incredibly healthy, they are available in a huge array of flavors.  In fact, the choices when it comes to herbals might just be so wide that it becomes overwhelming.  If you feel like there are too many options to consider, you might be tempted to stick to the one brand or blend that you know, and forgo the rest of the possibilities.  But if you stick to only one herbal infusion, you’re missing out on some fantastic flavors, and some really valuable health advantages.  How can you branch out and expand your herbal collection without fumbling through the tea aisle of your supermarket for an hour? 

First of all, think about adding to your collection one herbal at a time.  Try looking for an herbal in a different flavor profile than the one you already have at home.  Look at the options you have, and consider which category each belongs in:  floral (like hibiscus or orange blossom), fruity (like peach, berry, or apple), spicy (like cinnamon or Chai), or earthy (like rooibos or chamomile).  Once you’ve determined what flavor profiles you already have, experiment with a new flavor.  Or, try a new blend that mixes something you know you love with something you haven’t tried yet.  If you’re apprehensive about committing to a big box of prepackaged infusion bags before knowing whether or not you’ll like the flavor, seek out a local tea shop.  They are becoming more common all across the country, and they have huge selections of loose herbals (and true teas) that you can purchase in small quantities to taste.

Chamomile Herb Tea And Its Powers

by Elena Popec 27. August 2012 14:08

Historical evidence suggests that chamomile was valued for its medicinal properties as far back as the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece. It was commonly used to treat a host of ailments, from anxiety to indigestion.  Chamomile herb tea continued to be highly regarded throughout the Middle Ages, when it became indispensible for other reasons, as well.  Its strong, pleasantly pungent aroma made it the ideal “strewing herb”; it was scattered on the ground in public places as a primitive air freshener.  Chamomile was also important in breweries, and was used prior to the wide availability of hops to give beer its characteristic bitterness.  Throughout centuries of use, across several continents, chamomile continued to be valued and respected as an important part of medicine.

Many ancient “healing” techniques have been proven ineffective, or even harmful, by modern science; bloodlettings, the use of leeches, and magic spells have all been replaced by treatments that actually work.  Chamomile, however, is quite different.  Ancient healers trusted it, without any real knowledge of how or why it worked.  Instead of proving it ineffective, scientific research has instead led to documented evidence of the properties of chamomile that make it a legitimate wellness remedy for a number of conditions.  Perhaps most commonly known for its soothing properties, chamomile contains compounds that can relieve muscle spasms and relax the nerves.  These compounds can ease the discomfort of mild aches and pains and provide an effective relief from stress and anxiety.  Research has also shown that chamomile metabolizes into phenolic compounds, which have antibacterial and immune-boosting properties.  It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  The active components in chamomile make it an ideal remedy for the symptoms of ailments like the common cold, allergies, insomnia, and arthritis.  A topical salve made from chamomile can also be effective in treating conditions like eczema and hemorrhoids. 

Chamomile has powerful medicinal properties; when consumed regularly, its effects are compounded.  However, consuming a chamomile infusion won’t ever be confused with taking medicine.  It has a distinctive flavor; it’s light, slightly tart, and fruity.  If the flavor of chamomile by itself doesn’t suit your palate, you can still enjoy this healthy beverage in one of the many flavor blends available from a number of different brands.  Chamomile mixes very well with many fruit infusions like peach and berry, as well as earthy herbal flavors like jasmine and lemongrass, and floral flavors like orange blossom and hibiscus.  No matter what your taste preference is, there’s a chamomile tea that you will love.  Enjoy a chamomile tisane any time you want to relax and feel better; consumed regularly, chamomile is an important part of your natural journey towards a healthier life. Because it’s an herbal infusion, chamomile is completely caffeine-free and a great way to encourage a restful and restorative night’s sleep; steep a cup of pure chamomile or an herbal blend and drink about half an hour before going to bed.  Healthy, natural chamomile is a daily treat for a better life.

Regular Loose Leaf Tea or Chai?

by Elena Popec 14. August 2012 08:26

While many Americans are very familiar with the popular spicy Chai tea from India, few people are aware of one of its key flavorings:  cardamom.  A relative of ginger, cardamom has been a valued and widely used spice in Asian culture for centuries.  The cardamom plant produces pods, which contain the seeds.  It is these pods that are harvested so that the seeds can be used in culinary and medicinal applications.  There are two categories of cardamom plants; one produces smaller, light green pods and the other produces larger, brown or black pods.  Both varieties have a warm, mildly spicy flavor that adds depth to both savory and sweet dishes in many Asian cultures, most notably Indian.  Cardamom is the spice that gives Chai tea its distinctive, vanilla-like taste.  In terms of price, only vanilla beans and saffron are more expensive than cardamom; its cost is indicative of the demand for cardamom, as well as the limited areas in which it grows.  Cardamom is indigenous to India and Nepal, although it has been successfully cultivated in other warm, tropical regions.  While purchasing whole cardamom pods is preferred to preserve freshness, it is the seeds inside the pod that yield the health benefits.

Cardamom has a well established history as an important medicinal spice.  Pods can be chewed whole, or the seeds can be crushed and steeped in boiling water to create a bold, spicy infusion.  Cardamom is very high in antioxidants, particularly phenolics and flavonoids.  Regular consumption of cardamom tisane can promote healthy tissue function and fight free radicals.  These same antioxidants help to fight inflammation, so cardamom is a common component of holistic remedies for arthritis.  It is also commonly used as a digestive aid; the same essential oils that give cardamom its distinctive spicy flavor also encourage healthy function in the stomach and intestines.  It has been shown to be effective against all sorts of digestive problems, from nausea to flatulence.  It may also relieve cramping due to antispasmodic properties.  Cardamom is a natural detoxifying agent; it can help to clear out harmful waste compounds and allow your body’s organ systems to function more efficiently.  Its anti-bacterial properties have long been used in dental care; cardamom can help heal infections in the teeth and gums, and can curb halitosis (which is often the result of bacteria in the mouth and digestive tract).  Cardamom may have been the first teeth-whitening agent; ancient Egyptians steeped strong infusions for just that purpose.

The vast collection of health benefits attributed to cardamom is enough reason to add this exotic spice to your infuser.  But an even more compelling reason might be its unique flavor.  The delightful warm spice of cardamom is wonderful alone, and pairs well with a lot of other flavors.  Add cardamom to black tea (true tea) for a morning pick-me-up that is more flavorful than gourmet coffee.  Or, blend cardamom with cinnamon, ginger, or vanilla for a delicious personalized mix.  Cardamom is so tasty you’ll forget how healthy it is.

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Herbal

Herbal Tea Blends – How It Benefits You

by Elena Popec 2. August 2012 10:39

From the buzz and popularity around “super foods” to a wide range of vitamin supplements, Americans can’t seem to get enough of the trends in health and nutrition.  The vitamin industry alone boasts hundreds of formulas:  multivitamins, isolations of specific vitamins, vitamin combinations designed to target particular conditions and concerns, kids’ formulas, and compositions aimed at every stage of adulthood and activity level.  Most supermarkets and health food stores have whole aisles devoted strictly to the wealth of vitamin products they offer.  But what could potentially provide as many, if not more, health benefits are frequently found a few aisles away:  herbal tea.

Technically, herbals teas aren’t actually teas; they come from a wide variety of plants around the world, but not the camellia sinensis plant that is the exclusive source of true teas.  The vast range of plants that can be made into herbal teas, or tisanes, offer as vast an array of vitamins, chemicals, and compounds that are proven to offer myriad health benefits.  For everything from occasional discomforts to chronic conditions like diabetes, there are teas that can ease severity and relieve symptoms of a host of ailments.  Stomach upset, nausea, and digestive problems can be relieved with a tisane of ginger, peppermint, licorice root, or lemon.  The antihistamine and immune-boosting properties of Echinacea makes it the ideal choice for fighting cold and allergy symptoms.  Some tisanes, like chamomile, have soothing and calming characteristics; tisanes of Rhodiola and ginseng provide a boost in energy and vitality.  Passionflower and lavender may alleviate the nagging pain of a headache. 

While many conditions are incurable, herbal tisanes have been shown to be beneficial in helping to manage them and promote health.  Diabetes, for example, can be very difficult to manage.  Spikes in blood sugar can lead to a host of related health problems.  Several herbals can help a diabetic manage his or her condition.  Fenugreek may absorb excess sugar, preventing it from getting into the system; raspberry and bilberry infusions can help to lower blood sugar.  Herbal infusions are helpful in easing the symptoms of a number of other chronic conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and anxiety.  Some herbs can relieve colic and digestive issues in infants; others can boost lactation for nursing mothers.

Tisanes are ideal treatments for a wide range of conditions and maladies.  But they also offer preventive properties.  Most herbals contain antioxidant compounds, which are known to destroy the free radicals that have carcinogenic characteristics.  Nutrition experts recommend consuming foods high in antioxidants to help in the fight against cancer; most agree that getting your antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients from natural, food-based sources is preferable to taking expensive supplements.  Herbal tisanes are a convenient and easy way to load your diet with a variety of compounds to promote a healthful life.  And unlike vitamin supplements, tisanes are delicious, too.  They are available in a wide variety of flavors, from fruity choices to spicy options like cinnamon or ginger and a host of blends.

Herbal Tea Blends - The different choices

by Elena Popec 27. July 2012 15:39

Although it is most commonly referred to by the moniker “herbal tea blends”, the vast varieties of steeped herbal beverages that are enjoyed all over the world are not really teas at all.  In fact, tisanes (the more accurate term for herbal teas) don’t even come from the same plant as true teas.  Black, white, green, and oolong tea have the same source:  the camellia sinensis plant.  The distinctive appearance and taste of any type of true tea comes from how the leaves are prepared once they are harvested.  Altering the amount of time camellia sinensis leaves are given to dry and oxidize determines the style of tea that will result; the more time tea leaves spend in the curing process, the stronger and bolder they will be. 

While tisanes packaged, sold, and prepared in the same way as true teas, their origins could not be more different.  True teas are made exclusively from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.  Tisanes can have a variety of sources; the most common sources are the South American yerba mate plant, the South African rooibos bush, and any number of herb plants native to all parts of the world.  They can be made by drying different parts of the plants from which they come.  Tisanes are typically categorized by the part of the plant that is used to make them.  Many tea drinkers would be surprised to learn that a large number of the most common “teas” on the market today are actually tisanes:  mint and lemongrass (leaf tisanes), chamomile and lavender (flower tisanes), peach, raspberry and apple (fruit tisanes), ginger and Echinacea (root tisanes), cinnamon and black cherry (bark tisanes), and fennel and cardamom (seed or spice tisanes).  Unlike camellia sinensis, the plant sources of tisanes are used for much more than their leaves.  Because they come from such a wide range of plants and plant parts, tisanes offer many more options in flavor than true teas.  The wide variety of tisane flavors is often used to create flavored tea blends; true teas are mixed with tisanes to create varieties such as Chai.

Tisanes of all kinds have been steeped for centuries.  The ancient civilizations in Egypt and China left behind documented uses of tisanes for medicinal purposes as well as their general consumption for enjoyment.  Either in pure form or blended from various plant sources, tisanes were thought to have had a wealth of healthy properties that could ease anxiety and help to restore health.  Tisanes continue to be popular for both their delicious flavors and health benefits today.  They are naturally caffeine free (even decaffeinated true teas still contain trace amounts of caffeine), rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and are available in a broad array of flavors and blends.  No matter what your taste preferences are, you’re sure to find at least a few tisanes that satisfy your palate.  Tisane varieties are just as readily available, easy to prepare, and maybe for some even more tasty than true teas.

Drink Herbal Tea: It's Good for You!

by Steven Popec 4. June 2010 07:10

There are so many types of herbal teas available to help you in so many ways. Drink them regularly and you'll find yourself better than you've been in a long time. They have the power to affect your healing from various conditions from which you may suffer. They will also assist in recovering from the stress we're all prone to these days, and in detoxifying from the poisons our bodies carry from these stresses, from poor lifestyle choices, and also from the environment. In terms of its detoxification properties, herbal tea is a real boon. It can go into the colon and help you pass the toxins that have gathered there.

What's Wrong with Us?

Many of us don't feel completely well but don't realize it or don't understand why. With our lack of exercise, stress that's common in our fast-paced world, and fast food/junk food diets, waste cannot be passed as it should and accumulates within the digestive track. That means you've got a bloated feeling and a bloated appearance. Bacteria grow where the waste accumulates so that you get sluggish and sick without knowing why. Added to that, the new food you take in can't be processed well, so any nutrients they could bring can't be absorbed and you're not getting their benefits. Herbal teas with cleansing capacities take care of this problem.

How do Herbal Teas Help?

There are lots of different teas that have this cleansing property, and you can ask at your local health food store for some more names. Senna, barberry, raspberry, and rhubarb are some of the commonly known teas that help with fostering your digestive well-being. Your colon's health improves immensely when you drink these or other cleansing herbal teas over time. The natural process of waste elimination begins to happen regularly again once you've begun drinking these teas.

They also support the strength of the muscles in this area of the body, which means that they are strong enough to contract as they should in order to push this stuck fecal waste, as well as future contributions, out of your body. Your body is meant to let go of food once their nutrients have been absorbed. If it doesn't, that food turns into poison in your body. So it's not like you're adding something foreign to your body. Rather, you're restoring it to the way it's meant to work in nature.

Herbal Tea Ideas

If you run out and can't get what you need at the moment and just want a simple tea solution, boil a piece of ginger root. Or you can drink green tea, which is readily available, or just boil water with some lemon until it's hot. Any of these will greatly benefit your digestive system and help you cleanse and feel lighter and healthier. Your elimination will become more regular and you'll be more positive and radiant without that sluggish feeling. It's unquestionably important that you watch what you eat when you're aiming for a healthy colon.

How it Affects Your Diet

Fast foods don't get digested properly and leave toxic plaque on the intestinal track. Fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, pass through this are as they're meant to do. After all, your body was made to process its food well. It's our contemporary lifestyle of fast food and junk food, combined with stressing out over small issues, and getting little sleep that contributes to our digestive woes. A good start is to buy some herbal teas that are good for cleansing and detoxification and use them regularly. Then your body can begin to get back to normal and you can have the advantages of the good food that you're going to start buying and consuming as part of your everyday diet.

Select Herbal Teas for Your Health

by Steven Popec 26. May 2010 08:02

It is well known that herbal teas promote overall health and well being. However there are lots of herbal teas out there and you might have a hard time choosing the right one to gain the most health benefits. You might be trying to make up your mind between Wuyi Cliff, Oolong or Wu-long, Pu-erh or Sencha teas. Well, wake up and smell the tea, because although you are not wrong, the answer is in the mix. To be specific, it is in the mix of herbal teas Wuyi Cliff, Pu-erh, Sencha and Oolong. By itself each of teas pack fantastic health benefits, then just imagine what the benefits would be when you combine all these teas. A few of the most important health benefits of this tea mix are in promoting healthy dieting, supplying your body with more natural energy, boosting your immune system and helping to calm the mind.

1. Healthy Dieting Solutions that Work:

Having a cup of the herbal tea mix made from mixing together the whole leaves of the different types of teas, rather than just having just a cup of tea with tea dust helps in ensuring quick and effective weight loss. Insulin is produced in your body, when you consume carbohydrates or sugary foods, which aids in storing fats in the body. The herbal tea mix works by reducing the amount of insulin produced and directly affects the amount of fat stored. Having a cup of herbal tea mix after each meal will work wonders by helping you stay off the calories effectively.

In addition to reducing the amount of fats stored in the body the tea also helps in speeding up the metabolism of the body. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns up calories, so consuming this tea regularly will help your body able to keep off the weight easily.  Also, the tea mix reduces food cravings and suppresses your appetite. Even with all these benefits, the tea mix does not have any side effects unlike diet pills and supplements available on the market.

2. Stronger Immune System

Immune system defense is the ability of your body to fight against external infections. Out of numerous important benefits of the herbal tea mix is that it boosts the natural ability your body has, of fighting off bacteria. Moreover, the tea mix increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

3. More Pep in Your Step!

Feel energized and revitalized by just having a cup of the herbal tea mix! An important benefit of this herbal tea is that it helps to decrease harmful amounts of cholesterol, thus improving cardiac function. Lower cardiac function helps to noticeably energize, and increase your mobility, and desire to get out and move around more.

4. Soothes and Relaxes

Feel more relaxed and sleep better! Having a cup of this herbal tea mix will relax you, both mentally and physically. Given all the above benefits of having herbal tea, are you now convinced and ready to try this herbal tea mix?

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