If you are like most people, reaching for that hot cup to sip in the morning is a top priority to getting the day started. While most drinks like coffee and black teas are popular for the morning jumpstart, switching out the caffeinated beverages with an herbal tea can be soothing and comforting, while also providing your body with antioxidants and other medicinal properties that promote health. The simple aroma from a freshly brewed cup of herbal tea invokes in us a calm and warmth, and helps provide a feeling of peace and relaxation. Aside from the pleasure herbal teas provide, they also offer healing properties, and because they are naturally caffeine-free, they are suitable for drinking any time of the day.
One of the easiest and most nutritious ways to drink herbal teas is by infusing the herbs in hot water for at least 10 minutes, and up to 8 hours maximum. Studies have shown that it takes at least four hours for a significant amount of minerals to extract into the water, releasing the medicinal constituents. These long herbal infusions draw out the most significant amounts of vitamins, enzymes and essential oils. Depending on how much time and preparation needed, at least 10 minutes of steeping is necessary to extract any medicinal properties, and allowing the herb to steep at least 8 hours will extract the most nutrients.
There are many beneficial herbs that provide medicinal properties for different ailments and different herbs are better suited for steeping for longer periods of time.
If you are looking for a quick and easy herbal tea, the following herbs are simple and effective with at least 10 minutes of steeping time:
- Peppermint: improves digestion, prevents nausea and vomiting, boosts immunity
- Ginger: supports digestions, eases pain, increases weight loss, enhances immunity
- Echinacea: boosts the immune system, reduces redness and swelling, promotes cell health
- Rooibos: lowers blood pressure, improves bone & heart health, balances blood sugar
- Chamomile: induces sleep, antispasmodic & anti-inflammatory, relieves stress & anxiety
When you start steeping the herbs for four hours or longer, the medicinal constituents (phytochemicals) become primarily nutritive rather than stimulating/sedating. This also gives these nourishing long infusions their characteristic tastes: bland, sweet or earthy. These types of herbal infusions can be used on a regular basis. The following herbs are popular to use for long herbal infusions:
- Oatstraw: relieves insomnia, anxiety and ADHD; helps combat obesity, varicose veins and irritations to the digestive tract
- Nettle: treats arthritis and joint pain, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory qualities, used to treat bladder infections
- Comfrey: strengthens and heals bones, reduces pain, anti-inflammatory, boosts immune system
- Red Clover: eases anxiety, relieves muscle and joint pain, prevents osteoporosis and strokes
These are just a few of the more popular herbs that are used to make herbal teas and infusions and by experimenting and trying new ones, you are sure to find a few favorites that you enjoy. Tea drinking has been around for thousands of years and is not only used for its medicinal properties, but is valued for everyday pleasure and refreshment. Incorporating a time in your day to savor a cup of herbal tea is a great way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. This daily ritual will help you feel rooted in mindfulness, respect and living in the moment while also reducing stress.
Article by Andrea Nison