A cup of tea is the British cure-all for everything from a hangover to the flu. We all know about the restorative properties of a nice ‘cuppa’, but what about the range of herbal teas or infusions also on offer? More popular than ever before, here are some of the favourites.
Most commonly drunk before bedtime to promote restful sleep, camomile can also be used to relieve digestive symptoms such as morning sickness or nausea. It has calming properties as well as a mildly relaxing effect on the muscles.
A natural diuretic, dandelion is thought to have a cleansing effect on the body, particularly on the liver and kidneys. It is therefore recommended for combating water retention.
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Recommended for women suffering from painful menstrual cramps, or those seeking relief from symptoms such as constipation, bloating and abdominal cramping. It also has diuretic and expectorant properties.
A powerful anti-inflammatory spice, ginger can be peeled and grated to make a hot infusion. A warming digestive aid, it is believed to treat various kinds of nausea, motion sickness, constipation, indigestion and flatulence.
A Chinese powerhouse believed to have energising and rejuvenating properties, ginseng is used to enhance concentration and memory, while also calming the nervous system and slowing cell degeneration. It is often recommended for fatigue and stress relief.
6. Green tea
With less caffeine in it than black tea (as it is made from the unfermented leaves of the camellia sinensis plant), green tea has recently soared in popularity thanks to its antioxidant properties and wide range of health benefits. Research suggests that regular consumption may help protect against various cancers, control blood sugar levels, destroy free radicals (which contribute to the aging process), lower high blood pressure and cholesterol and aid weight loss.
A useful detoxifying agent for the liver and kidneys, nettle works well in combination with dandelion. It is thought to purify the blood and work as a general booster for a sluggish system, and is reputedly helpful for treating inflammation within the urinary system.
Soothing on the stomach, this refreshing herb is reputedly beneficial to the digestive system by relaxing the intestinal tract, acting as an anti-spasmodic, and therefore easing indigestion and nausea. The minty flavour may also improve bad breath.
9. Raspberry leaf tea
The expectant mother’s favourite, raspberry leaf is thought to tone and relax the womb muscles in preparation for labour. It accumulates in the body, so it’s best to take it some weeks in advance.
Also known as red bush tea, this is a popular beverage in Africa and comes from an entirely different plant to the camellia sinensis – from which we get black, green or white tea. It is caffeine-free and low in tannins (the astringent agent also found in wine), as well as a source of vitamins and minerals.