publication date: Apr 3, 2020
author/source: Dr Carrie Ruxton
Just as flowers come in yellow, orange, green, pink and red so do herbal infusions. But, unlike most of the blooms we’ll see springing into life over the next few months, infusions and teas provide surprising health and wellness benefits for our hearts, bones, immune system as well as our minds.
Check out my tasting notes and wellness tips on six colourful herbal infusions and teas.
With gentle notes of apple and a mild honey-like sweetness, chamomile is a firm favourite at bedtime. And its benefits for sleep are not an old wives’ tale. A study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that drinking chamomile daily for two weeks improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue.
Made from the leaves of a South African shrub, rooibos has a smooth, gentle flavour with a slight nutty sweetness. In a clinical trial six weeks of drinking rooibos daily stimulated antioxidant pathways in the body, a great stress buster and lowered LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides – fats linked with heart disease risk.
Peppermint and spearmint have a refreshing minty taste and a vibrant aroma. While better known for digestion, mint infusions can also help re-balance hormone levels. Great news for those feeling angst with emotions. A 30-day randomised trial in women with polycystic ovary syndrome found that drinking mint tea twice daily reduced testosterone levels and boosted normal female hormones.
With its gorgeous deep pink colour, hibiscus offers a combination of floral notes sharpened by the acidic flavours of cranberry and redcurrant. A clinical study in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking three daily servings of hibiscus significantly helped lowers systolic blood pressure after six weeks compared with a placebo drink. Some of us often find that stress can cause blood pressure to rise.
Well known for its rich red colour, Rosehip has an intense tangy taste similar to green apples and ripe plums. Rose hips have anti-inflammatory properties. A recent review of 24 pharmacological studies found that preparations of rose hips helped to reduce pain and swelling in conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Don't forget the leaves…
While herbal infusions are bursting with "flower power" don’t forget the traditional cuppa and green tea, both borne from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis – are bursting with a range of flavours, aromas and vibrancy too. Plus, they are packed with health and wellness properties from heart, memory and bone health benefits to gut, digestive fitness, skin and beauty hydration needs to stress busting properties. So, pop the kettle on, sip, take time out for yourself, dream and enjoy that tea moment, whatever the aroma or flavour.
Dr Carrie Ruxton is a member of the Tea Advisory Panel.