Tea is actually the second most commonly drunk beverage in the world after water (but it has the unfair advantage of having several types from around the world all added together unlike water) probably because of the various and unique flavors available. And it’s simple to make too – just add hot water to a bunch of leaves (we don’t recommend trying this with random types of leaves).
Teas have been consumed around the world for millennia, long before the invention of coffee and other hot beverages. Some teas were used for their medicinal benefits in ancient cultures, and these are still relevant today. In fact, there is a growing branch of science known as phytopharmacology which studies how the compounds in plants affect the body. So here are some teas from around the world that have some proven health benefits.
Chamomile tea, a truly English tea (because it was actually discovered there and not in China or India), is known for its calming and soothing effects. It’s the perfect drink to have before bed because it just helps everything from your mind to your muscles to relax. In fact, there is research published that shows that chamomile tea is effective in helping to fight the blues!
Chamomile tea is best enjoyed plain (without milk or sugar) as it is generally quite sweet on its own.
Green tea has been famous for many years due to its claimed health benefits. There are also several critics of green tea. Whatever your stance, it’s important that if you drink green tea, it should be in moderation.
There is some debate about it, but it is believed that green tea is rich in antioxidants and liver cell cleansing compounds. What is definitely quite clear, however, is that green tea is good for prostate health. One of its compounds inhibits the development of benign prostatic enlargement, a common (but not serious) condition in older men.
Hibiscus tea is made from those pretty and tropical hibiscus flowers that are often worn in the hair (the flower in the hair is hopefully not used to make the tea, but rather some fresh ones are). This makes it sound like quite a dainty tea, but actually, it packs a powerful health punch – possibly in helping to fight the flu and in protecting your heart from all sorts of diseases. Hibiscus tea has an interesting deep red color and a wonderful smell – a really cool addition to your exotic tea cabinet that you impress your guests with.
Chai tea is great because it is made from a whole range of plants including cinnamon and cloves. This is also why it is one of the most flavorful teas out there. Chai tea is quite protective of the digestive tract and is even used as a gentle treatment for nausea and indigestion. For those who are not massive fans of tea, there are so many other recipes that include chai like chai latte or even chai milkshakes.
One of the most loved teas in South Africa, but sadly not as well known throughout the world is rooibos tea (literally translating to red bush). Besides being rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, rooibos has the unique property of helping bones grow strong in children and protecting bones from osteoporosis in older women. In South Africa, it is often mixed with honey, lemon, and ginger as a treatment for a sore throat.