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Posted on: October 12, 2018 at 11:26 am
Last updated: November 8, 2018 at 11:03 am

Tea is a beverage that can be enjoyed year round, either iced or hot. While tea can be refreshing, it can also offer a host of health benefits depending upon the variety you choose. Variety is almost an understatement, there are so many options available in the marketplace, online and in herb shops that it may seem overwhelming. In this article we’ll simplify it and look at the health benefits of five commonly found varieties of tea.

Matcha

Matcha is a tea that is available in a powdered form, as opposed to loose leaf or tea bags. The tea buds are picked, allowed to dry and are ground to a fine powder. While very high grades of matcha can be sweet, some varieties can be bitter and may require a sweetener.

How to Consume: You can enjoy matcha as a tea, latte, matcha shot and even in desserts such as matcha ice cream, puddings, truffles and smoothies. To make a traditional matcha tea, sift 1-2 tsp. of matcha into a cup, add two ounces of hot water, whisk vigorously in a zig-zag type motion until the tea is frothy. (7)

A second version of matcha tea is to heat water (use just before boiling point). Add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to a cup and add a few drops of water and mix till you have a paste. Add more hot water to cup and stir.

Benefits of Matcha Tea

High in antioxidants– The concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) available from matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from other green teas. (1)

Liver health– Green tea is linked to a decreased risk of liver disease. (2)

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Cancer Fighter– Test tube studies have proven that the EGCG found in green tea is effective at fighting liver and lung cancer, as well as offering cancer preventive properties. (3, 4, 5)

Cardiovascular health-The polyphenols in green teas have been studied extensively and is linked to reduced mortality in relation to cardiovascular disease. (6) 

White Tea

White tea is a tea that has been minimally processed, it is usually steamed and dried upon harvesting. It is made with young leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant, which offers a milder taste profile. The leaves used can be from a number of plants including Da Bai (Large White), Xiao Bai (Small White), Narcissus and Chaicha bushes. (8)

True white tea is much more expensive than other teas and may be difficult to find locally. It may require a special order at your local herb or tea shop or an online order. This tea can be found in teabags or in loose leaf form. Unlike traditional black teas which can be kept for long periods, this tea rarely lasts more than six months. It should be kept in an airtight container, and stored in a cool, dark cabinet.

How to Consume: Heat your water to boiling and allow to cool for 5-8 minutes. If the water is boiled, it can make the tea bitter. Place water in teapot. Add two teaspoons of loose white tea leaves to an infuser or tea ball, insert in tea pot. Allow to steep for your taste preference, anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. This tea is traditionally served plain, so as not to mask the flavor.

Benefits of White Tea

Oral Health-White tea is rich in flavonoids, tannins and polyphenols. Tannins inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a major contributor to the formation of plaque. Flavonoids and polyphenols also inhibit the growth of plaque bacteria. (9)

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Cardiovascular health– Flavonoids in white tea help to lower blood pressure and are beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. (10)

Cancer fighter-Numerous test tube studies showed promising results of white tea triggering cell death in a variety of lung cancers. (11)

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea has long been enjoyed for both is uplifting taste and medicinal benefits. This caffeine free tea is a great option for digestive issues and as an after dinner beverage.

How to Consume: Steep fresh or dried peppermint leaves in a pan with near boiled water for 3-10 minutes, depending on the strength you prefer. Strain and add sweetener to taste if desired.

Benefits of Peppermint Tea

Digestive Health-Peppermint tea is a wonderful option for an upset stomach and indigestion. It can also offer relief for diarrhea, gas, IBS and general stomach discomfort. (12)

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Colds & Sinus Relief-Studies have shown the potency of peppermint and significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, as well as strong antioxidant properties, making this an excellent choice for relief from colds and sinus headaches. (13)

Immune Booster-Peppermint is a strong antioxidant, making it a great choice to boost your immune system. Due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties it’s also a great option to help fight many pathogens and bacteria, which can be at the root cause of a fever, cold, or cough. (14)

Hibiscus

This tea is made from dried parts of the hibiscus plant, which has a lovely deep red color. The flavor profile is similar to that of cranberry, sweet yet tart. The calyx which protects and supports the hibiscus flower is what is used to make a tea.

How to Consume: Add dried hibiscus flowers to a pot of nearly boiled water for five minutes. Strain and add a sweetener if desired. This is a very tart tea that some say is similar to cranberries. This tea can also be enjoyed with the addition of spices such as cinnamon, clove, ginger or nutmeg. This tea can be enjoyed hot or iced.

Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

Weight loss-Animal studies suggest that hibiscus actually lowers the bodies’ absorption of glucose and starch, which may aid in weight loss. (15)

Lowers cholesterol-The results of this study revealed that hibiscus tea had a significant positive effect in lowering cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. (16)

Lowers blood pressure-Due to its extraordinary anti-inflammatory benefits, hibiscus tea can reduce blood pressure up to ten points. The tea would need to be consumed three times a day for a few weeks to achieve these results, according to the Tufts University study. With this mind, if you already have low blood pressure (hypotension) you should avoid this tea. (17)

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Chamomile

This tea, derived from the Asteraceae/Compositae family offers a mild flavored tea that many enjoy for its digestive and anti-nausea benefits. Two common varieties are German and Roman chamomile. Dried flowers contain a variety of terpenoids and flavonoids which contribute to its medicinal properties, such as providing relief for hay fever, muscle spasms, inflammation, insomnia, rheumatic pain, as well as digestive disorders. If you are allergic to plants from the Asteraceae/Compositae family, you should avoid this tea.

How to Consume:  Bring water to a near boil. Add 2 Tablespoons of fresh chamomile flowers to a teapot and add water. Cover and steep 3-5 minutes. Strain and enjoy.

Benefits of Chamomile Tea

Sleep better-Drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea before bedtime can actually help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. (18)

Diabetes– The results of this promising study suggest that consuming chamomile tea daily with meals could contribute to the progression of hyperglycemia and diabetic complications. By helping to lower blood sugar levels and regulating the amounts of insulin in the blood, it also helps to eliminate drops and spikes in blood sugar. (19)

Boosts Immune System-Phenolic compounds in this herb tea help to strengthen your immune system and fight off infections. (20)

This guest post was written by Elisha of My Health Maven. She is deeply passionate about educating people and empowering them to lead healthier lives. We encourage you to check out her blog and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

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Elisha McFarland
Health Expert
Elisha McFarland, N.D. is the founder of My Health Maven. She turned her debilitating illness from mercury poisoning into a dedicated passion for helping people.

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