The Comprehensive Guide to Common Herbal Teas, Their Use and Their Medicinal Benefits
Herbal teas have been enjoyed by people all around the world for centuries and for very good reason, as aside from being delicious, they offer a wide variety of different medicinal benefits. In this article, we look at the distinctive aromas and flavours of 10 different, commonly used herbs, their medicinal benefits and how best to prepare them to get the full potency from each and every cup.
So, without further ado, let’s begin by looking at 10 commonly found herbal teas in kitchens around the world, how they taste and how they support good health.
#1 – Elderflower Tea
The first herb we look at is the hugely popular beverage that is elderflower tea which has a distinctly ‘herby’ flavour, as you might expect from edible flowers. However, elderflower tea is sweeter than other floral teas and it also comes with a slightly musky tone. In terms of taste, it’s quite a lot like lychees, with a crisp finish that does much to cleanse the palate.
In addition to its pleasant flavour, elderflower tea is also known to provide a variety of health benefits. For those with colds and flu, it’s an intensely soothing drink that calms the sinuses and bronchial airways. Elderflower tea is also believed to be effective in the treatment of constipation, as well as being a powerful diuretic. Like so many other herbal teas, it’s one that provides great support to the body.
#2 – Lime Blossom Tea
Despite carrying the name of lime blossom, lime blossom tea tastes nothing like the small citrus fruit it shares its name with. In truth, lime blossom herbal tea has a strong, pleasant, sweet taste. Lime blossom flowers produce a sweet sticky substance, which bees adore and make the most wonderful honey with, and it is because of this that you can drink this herbal tea without any additional sweeteners
Lime blossom tea is rich in antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds that are great for reducing the symptoms of colds and flu. There’s nothing worse than inflamed sinuses and sore throats to make you feel rotten. As well as being a wonderfully warming sweet treat, lime blossom tea does much to ease the effect of these uncomfortable symptoms: just like a “hug in a mug”.
#3 – Chamomile Tea
One of the most widely used herbal teas is chamomile which has a wonderfully mellow sweetness, reminiscent of honey. Whilst chamomile is a delicate, floral herb, it is able to soothe the body and mind from the first sip. Depending on where you get your chamomile tea, you may also be able to detect subtle apple tones too.
With regards to health, chamomile offers a range of body support, from its ability to reduce inflammation, promote sleep and treat cold symptoms to helping lower blood sugar and control diabetes. It truly is a multi-purpose herb that is also known to reduce menstrual pain and believed by some to be able to treat cancer symptoms and slow down the onset of osteoporosis.
#4 – Fennel Tea
As a flower, fennel is tall, hollow-stemmed and features yellow blooms. Its seeds are used in the strong-smelling, potent fennel tea that’s enjoyed by many and it’s a beverage with a mildly bitter aftertaste and an overriding flavour that’s a lot like liquorice. In addition to its health benefits, its aroma alone provides a deep sense of relaxation.
Fennel tea is ideal for those who suffer from bloating, abdominal cramps and constipation. Its ability to aid digestion is due to the effect it has on relaxing the muscles in the intestinal tract. Anyone suffering from any kind of digestive discomfort will be glad of a soothing cup of fennel tea.
Herb #5 – Mint Tea
As you’d expect, mint tea is cool, fresh and leaves a tingle on the tongue. The sharpness of the finish will depend largely on the type of mint tea you use, however, peppermint tea is perhaps the most ‘zingy’ you’ll find. There are some varieties of peppermint tea with vanilla or fruity tastes, although this will depend on the specific blend.
The health benefits of mint tea are quite extensive, with the most prominent being an aid to digestion, a boost for the immune system and a remedy for an upset stomach. Add to that a calming, sleep-promoting effect and stress-busting quality and its not hard to see why it’s such a popular drink.
Herb #6 – Rosemary Tea
In terms of taste, rosemary tea offers strong pine flavours, with mint and lemon undertones. It provides a sharp taste that enlivens the senses, however, its mild enough to be enjoyed throughout the day, without becoming overpowering.
Rosemary tea is high in anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant compounds, which means that it is able to fight the free radicals that cause so much damage during everyday life. Because of this, its believed to support brain health, improve eye health, lower blood sugar and help with memory and mood.
Herb #7 – Lavender Tea
Lavender tea offers an intense flavour with deeply fragranced aromas. Offering hints of mint and rosemary, there are some blends out there that offer a smoky flavour, whereas most tend to be sweet and floral. It is a drink that has the inimitable taste of lavender, but with added earthy flavours similar to those you’d find in a cup of green tea.
Lavender is a great evening beverage, preparing the mind and body for sleep, however, its calming effects aren’t limited to rest. It’s also able to reduce gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting and bloating, in addition to alleviating pain from sores, toothache, sprains and headaches.
Herb #8 – Meadowsweet Tea
Tea made from the meadowsweet plant has a wonderfully heady flavour and aroma, with those drinking it, being reminded of the delicate summer bloom that its made from. A lovely, refreshingly light taste is what you can expect from a cup of meadowsweet tea and perhaps a mild taste of sweet almonds.
There are a variety ailments that can be helped with meadowsweet tea such as colds, upset stomach, bladder infections and heartburn. This herbal tea is also known to be effective at reducing the symptoms of peptic ulcers and joint issues like gout.
Herb #9 – Lemon Balm Tea
Consistent with its name, lemon balm tea is every bit as citrusy as you’d expect. This light, mild and pleasant tea is one that will provide a delicious, soothing effect as it’s consumed. Whilst its flavours might be understated, the overall feeling it provides is a refreshing, yet calming one.
Like so many other types of herbal tea, lemon balm tea is able to reduce anxiety, boost cognitive performance, relieve indigestion and other gastric disorders, help with insomnia and even prevent cold sores.
Herb #10 – Calendula Tea
Lastly, we look at calendula tea, which has an earthy, complex flavour to it. With a slightly bitter base, the tea has a variety of tastes hidden within, like pepper, spice and fruit. On the whole, however, it’s a drink that belies its complicated composition, by providing a light and very pleasant flavour.
The health benefits of calendula tea are mainly centred around the digestive tract, as it offers a healing effect to problems like reflux, IBS, ulcers and other intestinal inflammation. It’s also helpful in the healing of wounds thanks to its potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
How to Make a Good Herbal Tea
As you can see, herbal tea in all of its different forms offers much in terms of health support. However, there are different ways to enjoy it. This will be largely dictated by where you get your tea from and how you prepare it, but in the main, people who partake tend to drink herbal tea that comes from pre-packaged, off-the-shelf varieties.
There’s no massive problem with this kind of teabag, especially when you’re just starting out, however, it does mean that you won’t be able to tell with any degree of accuracy where the plants it was made with were sourced or how long it has been stored for.
Saying that so long as you purchase unbleached biodegradable teabags, you won’t go far wrong, particularly as it allows you to quickly and easily choose the variety of tea you need, depending on your needs for that particular day.
Herbal Teapot Infusion
Once you become more experienced, you can progress to making your own tea from freshly dried herbs, meaning that you will know exactly how fresh it is and what’s in it. Sure it’s a messier way to do things, however, you get a fresher, more potent beverage when using loose tea. We know that it’s the truest and most natural way to enjoy herbal tea.
Of course, you may not want to go to all the trouble of creating the finest herbal tea infusion in a herbal teapot every day, but it’s certainly something that’s great for special occasions!
Why Buy Loose Tea from Wild Crafter?
When choosing your herbal tea, you could of course forage for wildflowers yourself, dry them and then infuse them, however, most of us simply don’t have the time. People choose Wild Crafter for their herbal teas because what we offer is the next best thing – ethically sourced herbal teas containing quality ingredients.
Our teas contain no caffeine or artificial sweeteners and we know that once you try them, you’ll know the care and attention that has gone into our products. If you’d like to try some for yourself, you can do so by visiting our store at www.wildcrafter.co.uk and having it delivered, by us, directly to your home.