The Benefits of Herbals
By A.C. Cargill
The health benefits of tea (Camellia Sinensis) are well-documented. But what about those other brews made of various herbs and other plant parts that some people call “teas” (and that those of us who know better call “herbal infusions” or just “herbals”)?
These herbals through the centuries have been used to address a host of ills, in the absence of well-researched, man-made medicines. They are still very useful even with a drugstore full of products. Personally, I’d rather have a cup of chamomile to help me sleep instead of popping a pill. Chamomile also aids digestion and can be a soothing cupful if you are pregnant and avoiding caffeine.
Chamomile is just one of many herbals that are popular and healthful. Rooibos (red bush) has become increasingly well known among people who want a caffeine-free and beneficial beverage. The list doesn’t stop there, and as more research is done to confirm age-old folklore, more herbals get added every day.
Some of the more well-known herbals:
Some more exotic herbals:
Tulsi (also called “Holy Basil”)
Additional plants used are chrysanthemum (popular in China), hibiscus (popular in the Middle East), ginseng, nettle, sage, thyme, strawberry leaf, lemon grass leaf, alfalfa, fennel seed, rosehips, and lemon verbena.
Last but not least is essiac “tea” made from a variety of plants and blended differently according to the effect desired. Several of the herbs used have cancer-fighting properties: blessed thistle, burdock root, kelp (also a great source of iron), red clover, wild sheep sorrel (stronger than the kind you put in salads), slippery elm bark, Turkish rhubarb root, and watercress (loaded with vitamin C and other goodies).
Note: Like the commercials for alcoholic beverages say, drink responsibly. With herbals, that means always checking with an herbalist and your physician before consuming them. Overindulging in some herbals can be dangerous, and allergic reactions could result, especially if you aren’t getting what you think you are (for example, pineapple weed is sometimes sold as chamomile and can cause a reaction in hay fever sufferers).
Feel a sniffle coming on? Choose an appropriate herbal infusion. To your health!
Learn more about the wide world of tea over on A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!