Archive for the ‘Herbal Teas’ Category

Turmeric Tea

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

While this is departing a little from the more traditional teas that I have been writing about, I am going to continue with another herbal tea; only this time it is turmeric tea. Turmeric is used in many dishes–it is a mainstay of many Indian curries for example–and it is also used in commercial preparations of mustard. However, its use is not as widespread as other spices or herbs; in fact Americans do not generally use it when preparing their foods very much at all. It is a shame, really, as recent studies have shown that it does have some rather spectacular benefits.

For example, did you know that elderly people in India have a far less chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease? This is attributed to the fact that one of the active ingredients in turmeric is curcumin, something that is supposed to be beneficial for many different maladies. In fact, the branch of Indian Ayurvedic medicine has long used turmeric in curing various diseases and illnesses. In light of this, clinical trials on humans have been conducted and though it should not be a surprise, they have revealed that there is a reason they are considered an important ingredient in Ayuryedic medicines. These studies showed that it may well be beneficial in treating people suffering not only from Alzheimer’s disease but also that it has antioxidant properties, anti tumor properties, and anti inflammatory properties. It is also possible that it has anti-depressive benefits as well as helping to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Of course, in order to benefit from turmeric one would have to consume it on a fairly regular basis. Not everyone loves a good, rich yellow curry and there is really a limit as to how much commercially prepared mustard one can eat on a regular basis. So, how can you adapt so that you can include this very healthy spice into your daily diet? As you may be aware, people living in Okinawa, Japan have been found to have the longest average life-span when compared to people from other countries and areas. Guess what is different about people in Okinawa? Probably quite a few things, however one interesting fact is that they drink a lot of turmeric tea Okinawa style. Some prepare it using fresh turmeric while others simply buy prepared turmeric tea powder from their local tea store. In this way, they are able to take in a large amount of curcumin on a daily basis, complete with its antioxidants which are well known for the part they play in slowing down aging. You can experience the same turmeric tea benefits as well fairly easily.

Preparing Turmeric Tea From Fresh Turmeric
This is probably the simplest turmeric tea recipe. All you need do is take a teaspoon of ground turmeric–just as you buy it from the spice section of your local supermarket–and add it to three cups of water. Let it simmer gently for around ten minutes then take it off the heat. Strain the liquid through a very fine strainer so you remove all of the powder from the tea, and enjoy your drink. You may want to add some honey or maple syrup to sweeten it, along with a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Alternatively, other people like to add a little grated or powdered ginger to the mix while it is simmering. It can also be prepared using milk instead of water–though be careful not to boil the milk, just let it gradually heat up, till it is hot but not boiling.

There are quite a few other variations on recipes for preparing it so you can get the most benefits of turmeric tea. You can find quite a few suggestions for preparing it online; though basically you can prepare it in a number of different ways depending on your particular preferences.

Where to Buy Turmeric Tea
Obviously, if you are taking a trip to Okinawa you should be able to fairly easily pick up some tea there. But it can be a little difficult to locate good quality turmeric tea products online and at health stores. You do have to be careful, as some that is sold as ‘tea’ is merely repackaged turmeric which you could probably buy for a lot less money at your supermarket. If you cannot find any actual tea products you may want to look into buying turmeric or curcumin capsules instead. These are also helpful if you do not care for the taste of turmeric yet want to benefit from taking it. I was able to locate some turmeric tea bags, Yogi Joint Comfort, Herbal Tea Supplement, 16-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6) online, as well as some Jarrow Formulas Curcumin 95, 500mg, 120 Capsules and Botanic Choice Turmeric, 500 mg, 90 Capsules (Pack of 5) all of which seem to be great products for those who do not wish to go to all the trouble of brewing up a cup of turmeric tea.

My Recommendation
In summary, I would recommend that you try to buy some organic turmeric, such as this Simply Organic Turmeric Root Ground Certified Organic, 0.53-Ounce Containers (Pack of 6) and make your own tea. You should be able to find a way to prepare it that is palatable and even enjoyable, by experimenting with some of the different recipes you can find online.

Alternatively, if you really cannot stomach the thought of drinking turmeric tea, you may want to look for some supplements that contain this ingredient. It has been well researched, and well documented that many of the claims made regarding the benefits of drinking turmeric tea (or taking turmeric supplements) are validated and well worth considering.

Simply Organic Turmeric Root Ground Certified Organic, 0.53-Ounce Containers (Pack of 6) Yogi Joint Comfort, Herbal Tea Supplement, 16-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6)
Jarrow Formulas Curcumin 95, 500mg, 120 Capsules Botanic Choice Turmeric, 500 mg, 90 Capsules (Pack of 5)

Side Effects
As with any herbal or natural remedy, it is important to exercise caution regarding the amount of tea you drink. Some people have experienced nausea or diarrhea when drinking it. If you have circulatory system problems you may also want to be cautious with your intake and check with your doctor beforehand–it may increase the risk of bleeding, and it has been known to lower blood pressure too. Pregnant women are generally not encouraged to drink it either as it may stimulate the uterus. Finally, it apparently can cause your gall bladder to constrict; something which would end up being very painful if you have gallstones.

Don’t forget the other herbal teas either. When it comes to health benefits chamomile tea also has a lot to offer, as do many other different types of herbal teas. Hopefully I can highlight some others on site from time to time.

Chamomile Tea Benefits

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Probably everyone has heard about Chamomile tea. It is well known for being beneficial to drink before bed as it will help promote better sleep at night. However, there are many other uses for the different types of chamomile teas as well, some of which may be less well known than others.

About Chamomile
First of all though, here are some facts about the Chamomile flower that is mainly used for brewing this fine cup of tea.
There are two main types of Chamomile grown to use as herbal aids; German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. Both are relatively easy to grow, though most tea that you buy is made from the German Chamomile. The German variety needs to be replanted each year, however Roman Chamomile is a perennial. The jury is still out regarding which type of flower is the most beneficial; however the general consensus seems to be that they are both great to use. If you would like to grow your own, and have it on hand when needed you may want to opt for the Roman variety as that way you will not have to worry about replanting it.

Harvesting the Flowers

Photo By: Toshiyuki IMAI

It is very simple to harvest the flowers. All you need to do is clip them off the plant once they are in full bloom. You do not needs to do anything with the flowers, such as dry them, if you do not wish to—the flowers can be used fresh, just as they are snipped off the plant, and you will receive a full benefit from the tea.

Making Chamomile Tea
If you are using fresh flowers, you should use a ratio of one cup of flower heads to a pint of water. If you are using dried flowers, two tablespoons in a cup of boiling water is sufficient. Of course, you can also use a tea infuser to brew a cup of Chamomile tea with as well. All you need do is open up the infuser and place the dried flowers inside, then close it back up again and let it steep in a cup of boiling water.

Benefits of Drinking This Tea
Sedative Properties: Studies have proved that Chamomile does indeed have sedative properties. Therefore it is great to use to help calm nerves and to promote a good night’s sleep. Simply brew up and drink one cup at night before heading off to bed and enjoy the Camomile tea benefits!

When it comes to other benefits Chamomile tea is also useful for anyone who is suffering with any stomach ailments, including an upset stomach or irritable bowel syndrome. It is often mixed with peppermint when being used for medicinal purposes in this way.

Antibacterial Properties: It has also been proved to have good antibacterial, anti-fungal and and anti-viral qualities as well. So, if you have a sore throat, or sores in your mouth you may find using it as a mouthwash is both refreshing, soothing and it will help you to heal faster. You will also find creams made with Chamomile oil. It can also be used externally as a poultice for any skin disorders or infections. However, if making it for external use the tea should be a lot at least three times as strong as if you were making it to drink.

How Much Should You Drink?
It is recommended that adults drink no more than two or three cups of tea a day. Children younger than five should be limited to only half a cup a day, if necessary to calm an upset stomach for example. Those between the ages of five years old and eighteen should limit themselves to one cup of tea per day.

Unlike green tea or wulong tea, or regular black tea, it is possible to overdose with this particular tea, so be careful. If used judiciously and wisely it can provide real health benefits but, just as with regular medication, if used in excess it can cause problems.

Side Effects-Chamomile Tea and Pregnancy, Other Precautions
It also has some known side-effects; again the need for caution when treating yourself with this tea. If you are allergic to daisies, ragweed, asters, chrysanthemums, or marigolds you should not drink the tea as you may have a severe allergic reaction to the tea. As far as drinking camomile tea pregnancy effects, pregnant women, anyone taking blood thinning medication or anyone with a blood related disorder should not drink this tea either. If you take birth control pills, or any other regular medication you will want to confirm with your doctor that it is safe for you to drink Chamomile tea before you go ahead and do so as it can react with quite a few different medications.

Buying The Tea
It is carried by many different health stores as well as tea distributors making it fairly easy to discover the benefits of chamomile tea. If you are no so keen about drinking tea made from the flowers you can also find it available in powdered form in many places. It is relatively easy to buy tea online. It is also very easy to grow your own chamomile—it is said to help your other plants be more healthy and strong too!

You can find it as loose tea or in tea bags. I would highly recommend, if you intend purchasing some, to look for the organic variety as you can be sure that it is free of pesticides and other dangerous substances. Here are some of my favorite teas, including the Choice Organic Chamomile Herb Tea, 16-Count Box (Pack of 6) and the Octavia Tea Calming Chamomile (Organic, Caffeine-Free Herbal Tea), Loose Tea, 0.92-Ounce Tins (Pack of 2). If you use K-cups, you can also find Bigelow Cozy Chamomile Herbal Tea, 12-Count K-Cups for Keurig Brewers (Pack of 3). As you see, there is something for everyone!

Bigelow Cozy Chamomile Herbal Tea, 12-Count K-Cups for Keurig Brewers (Pack of 3)
Choice Organic Chamomile Herb Tea, 16-Count Box (Pack of 6)
Octavia Tea Calming Chamomile (Organic, Caffeine-Free Herbal Tea), Loose Tea, 0.92-Ounce Tins (Pack of 2)