Need a detox? Need your energy boosted or your tension tamed? Need help losing weight? Fix yourself a cup of tea.
Tea is one of the most popular drinks due to its pleasant taste and perceived medicinal effects. Although health benefits have been attributed to tea consumption since the beginning of its history, scientific investigation of tea and its constituents has been under way for about 30 years.
It’s widely known that just one cup of tea can prevent strokes, arthritis, tooth decay and even keep cancer at bay. A variety by themselves, herbal teas are completely different from the other varieties of tea.
“There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge.
More correctly known as tisane, herbal teas are simply fresh herbs whose medicinal properties have largely been released in hot water through the processes of infusion or decoction. Medicinally, herbal teas have a reputation for being drunk mainly due to the properties of sedation, relaxation and stimulation. Another reason that people like to drink herbal tea is their therapeutic applications, which has a lot to do with the antioxidant properties of herbal teas.
The good news for tea lovers is that plenty of data suggests health benefits from green or black tea, and few medicinal teas. Some are made with herbals like chamomile, dandelion, sarsaparilla, licorice root, saw palmetto, fennel or stinging nettle. Evidence has also shown the benefits of some, such as ginger, hibiscus and peppermint. Little solid, scientific proof exists for many of the others, according to Diane McKay, a researcher and assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Two Separate Studies Find Herbal Teas Really Are Good For You.
Diane McKay and Jeffrey Blumberg of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, took a close look at chamomile, peppermint and hibiscus tea, and pulled research from past studies to determine if they really had any health value. In a placebo controlled study, one group drank three cups of hibiscus tea a day; the other drank a hibiscus-flavored placebo.
Those who drank the real hibiscus had lowered blood pressure.
McKay and Blumberg also pulled scientific data about peppermint tea and its potential health benefits. They found through a series of test tube studies that the minty beverage has the potential to alleviate some allergies, and also contains a significant amount of antioxidants and antimicrobial activities.
McKay and Blumberg have concluded there is enough useful information on herbal teas to conduct further research.
Bottom line, Cochran says: Better to think of tea as part of a healthy diet, rather than a cure. “Tea is nota magic bullet. If you eat a bad diet and drink tea, it’s still a bad diet.”
Tea has always been associated with good health– now studies support that belief