Tea for Good Health

September 28, 2011


tea as a survival drink

Now that fall has arrived, steaming mugs of tea are ever more attractive to me.  I enjoy tea in different forms throughout the year, but hot teas on chilly days hold a special appeal.

The Definition of Tea

Most people use the term “tea” generically to mean a drink produced by pouring hot water over leaves.  Technically, “tea” is that liquid produced by steeping Camellia sinensis (the tea plant originally grown in China) in water.

Any beverage produced using other leaves, rind, roots, bark, fruit, etc. is actually an “herb infusion” or “tisane.”  I’m not too picky about such distinctions, so for our purposes, we will use the term “tea” for all drinks created in that fashion.

The Benefits of Teas

God has created a marvelously varied world for us.  It boggles my mind when I think about all the different types of plants and animals He has provided for our benefit and enjoyment.

We brilliant humans are always trying to invent some new concoction to treat the health problems we accumulate while there are so many natural remedies for these things already.  Using herbs in teas is one of the easiest ways we can take advantage of the naturally occurring healing properties of plants in a very pleasant way.

True tea contains lots of anti-oxidants which are very helpful in the repairing of our bodies internally.  They protect us from heart disease and cancer.  Tea also shows evidence of maintaining bone density as we age, lowering “bad cholesterol,” and protecting us from arthritis.

Some Familiar Examples

Other herbal teas can have fantastic health benefits too.  Peppermint is often used to treat nasal and chest congestion, to stop a developing cold, to give headache relief, to ease tension and stress, to prevent seasickness and nausea, and to relieve abdominal cramps, heartburn, and gas.  Pretty versatile and very tasty too!

Chamomile is a lovely flowering plant, reminiscent of a daisy.  In addition to making a nice garden addition, a tea made from the flowers has great health bonuses.  It is useful for relieving muscle aches and strains, fights bladder infections, eases nausea and sometimes stops vomiting, is a natural tranquilizer that promotes restful sleep, stops muscle spasms, and helps alleviate gastrointestinal disorders that are aggravated by stress (like Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  It is also used as a treatment for asthma, hay fever, and sinusitis since it has a soothing effect.  Pretty good resume!

Given my interest in self-sufficiency, I want to begin growing and blending my own herbs for teas.  So far I have had to be content with store-bought ones.  Fortunately, there are some delicious ones already available at health food stores and even many grocery stores.  Occasionally, even Sam’s has bulk packs of nice blends.  Check out what is available near you.

In an upcoming post, I will review a book that I have found quite handy.

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11 Comments on “Tea for Good Health”

  1. Jarhead Survivor Says:

    I love sleepy time tea. Not sure if it really makes me sleepy (I have no problem sleeping even after a cup of coffee), but I love the taste of it.


  2. Arsenius the hermit Says:

    Do you know of a tea I could buy ready made that is good for stress? Or that would help with insomnia?


    • Laura Says:

      According to my book on herbal teas, you are looking for teas with mint/catnip, chamomile, hops, lemon balm, licorice, passion flower (maypop), and/or valerian for insomnia. The most common one will be chamomile.

      For stress, teas that include catnip, damiana, ginseng, hops, kava kava, licorice, motherwort, peppermint, rose hips, saw palmetto, scullcap, St. John’s wort, vervain, and/or yerba mate are the ones you are looking for. Ready-made teas with peppermint and rose hips are fairly common.

      Jarhead’s suggestion of Sleepytime Tea is a good one. Celestial Seasonings makes one by that name and it’s readily available at large grocery stores. They have some variations like Honey Vanilla (that contains licorice), Tension Tamer (that also contains licorice and catnip), and Sleepytime Vanilla. They all use chamomile as the base.

      Bigelow also makes very good teas often carried by grocery stores. I have found these for sale in 4-pack boxes at Sam’s sometimes, usually fall and winter.

      Just finished my own cup of peppermint tea. I find it helps soothe my allergy-irritated sore throat and seems to help open my sinuses a little.


  3. Devon Says:

    We grow chamomile and I can attest to some of those benefits. It is great with a cold. I probably drink a gallon with ever cold. It grows like a weed and self seeds and it tastes great.



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