Herbal teas have been around for hundreds of years.
Herbal teas, despite their name, are not true teas at all. True teas, such as green tea, black tea, and oolong tea, are made from the Camellia sinensis plant's leaves.
Herbal teas, on the other hand, are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices, or herbs.
This means that herbal teas can be made in a variety of flavours and tastes, making them a tempting alternative to sugary beverages or water.
Some herbal teas have health-promoting properties in addition to being delicious. Herbal teas, in fact, have been used for hundreds of years as natural remedies for a variety of ailments.
Interestingly, modern science has begun to uncover evidence supporting both traditional and novel uses of herbal teas.
Here is a list of ten healthy herbal teas to try.
Chamomile tea is well-known for its calming properties and is frequently used as a sleep aid.
Two studies looked at the effects of chamomile tea or extract on human sleep problems.
In one study of 80 postpartum women with sleep problems, drinking chamomile tea for two weeks improved sleep quality and reduced depression symptoms (1).
Another study of 34 patients with insomnia found that taking chamomile extract twice a day improved waking up during the night, time to fall asleep, and daytime functioning (2).
Furthermore, chamomile may be more than just a sleep aid. It is also thought to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protective properties (3).
Preliminary evidence suggests that chamomile may help fight diarrhoea and stomach ulcers in mice and rats (3, 4).
Another study found that chamomile tea reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, while another found that it improved blood glucose, insulin, and blood lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes (5, 6).
While more research is needed to confirm these findings, preliminary evidence suggests that chamomile tea may provide a number of health benefits.
Chamomile has long been known for its calming properties, and preliminary research backs this up. It may also aid in the relief of premenstrual symptoms as well as high blood lipid, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
Peppermint tea is one of the world's most popular herbal teas (7).
While it is most commonly used to promote digestive health, it also has antioxidant, anticancer, antibacterial, and antiviral properties (7).
Because most of these effects have not been studied in humans, it is impossible to say whether they may have health benefits. Several studies, however, have confirmed peppermint's digestive-health benefits.
Several studies have shown that peppermint oil preparations, which frequently include other herbs, can help relieve indigestion, nausea, and stomach pain (8, 9, 10, 11).
Peppermint oil is also effective at relaxing spasms in the intestines, oesophagus, and colon, according to research (12, 13, 14, 15).
Finally, studies have shown that peppermint oil is effective at alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (16).
As a result, if you are experiencing digestive discomfort, such as cramping, nausea, or indigestion, peppermint tea is an excellent natural remedy to try.
Traditionally, peppermint tea is used to relieve digestive discomfort. According to research, peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, cramping, spasms, and stomach pain.
3. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is a spicy and flavourful drink that is high in antioxidants that fight disease (17).
It also fights inflammation and stimulates the immune system, but it's best known for being an effective nausea treatment (18).
Ginger has been shown in studies to be effective at relieving nausea, particularly in early pregnancy, though it may also relieve nausea caused by cancer treatments and motion sickness (19, 20).
Ginger may also help prevent stomach ulcers and relieve indigestion or constipation, according to research (20).
Ginger may also aid in the relief of dysmenorrhea, or period pain. A number of studies have found that ginger capsules reduced menstrual pain (21, 22).
In fact, two studies found ginger to be just as effective at relieving period pain as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (23, 24).
Finally, some studies suggest that ginger may have health benefits for diabetics, though the evidence is inconsistent. Ginger supplements were found to help with blood sugar control and blood lipid levels in these studies (25, 26, 27).
Ginger tea is best known as a nausea remedy, and studies have repeatedly shown that it is effective in this regard. Several studies, however, have found that ginger can help relieve period pain and may have benefits for people with diabetes.
4. Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea is made from the hibiscus plant's vibrant flowers. It's pink-red in colour and has a refreshing, tart flavour. It can be served hot or cold.
Hibiscus tea has health benefits in addition to its vibrant colour and distinct flavour.
For example, hibiscus tea has antiviral properties, and test-tube studies have shown its extract to be highly effective against strains of the bird flu. However, there is no evidence that drinking hibiscus tea can help you fight viruses like the flu (28).
Several studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of hibiscus tea on high blood lipid levels. Although a few studies have found it to be effective, a large review study discovered that it had no significant effect on blood lipid levels (29).
Nonetheless, hibiscus tea has been shown to help with high blood pressure.
Indeed, many studies have found that hibiscus tea reduces high blood pressure, though the majority of the studies were of low quality (30, 31).
Furthermore, another study discovered that taking hibiscus tea extract for six weeks reduced oxidative stress in male soccer players (32).
If you're taking hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic medication, avoid drinking hibiscus tea because the two may interact. Hibiscus tea may also reduce the duration of aspirin's effects, so take them 3–4 hours apart (30).
Hibiscus tea may aid in the reduction of high blood pressure and the prevention of oxidative stress. It should not, however, be taken with certain diuretics or at the same time as aspirin.
Echinacea tea is a well-known remedy for preventing and shortening the common cold.
Evidence suggests that echinacea may help boost the immune system, allowing the body to fight off viruses or infections (33).
Many studies have found that echinacea can reduce the duration of the common cold, reduce the severity of its symptoms, and even prevent it (33).
However, the findings are contradictory, and the majority of studies were poorly designed. This makes determining whether positive results are due to echinacea or random chance difficult.
As a result, it's impossible to say for certain that taking echinacea will help with the common cold.
If you feel a cold coming on, this warm herbal drink may help soothe your sore throat or clear your stuffy nose (34).
Echinacea tea is commonly used to prevent or shorten the duration of a common cold. While several studies have found it to be effective for this purpose, the evidence is mixed.
6. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos is a type of herbal tea native to South Africa. It is made from the rooibos or red bush plant's leaves.
South Africans have traditionally used it for medicinal purposes, but scientific research on the subject is limited.
Despite this, a few animal and human studies have been carried out. So far, studies have not demonstrated that it is effective for allergies or kidney stones (35, 36).
However, one study found that rooibos tea may be beneficial to bone health. According to one test-tube study, rooibos tea, along with green and black tea, may stimulate the cells involved in bone growth and density (37).
The teas also reduced inflammation and cell toxicity markers, according to the same study. The researchers hypothesised that this is why drinking tea is linked to higher bone density.
Furthermore, preliminary research suggests that rooibos tea may help prevent heart disease.
According to one study, rooibos tea inhibits an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict in the same way that a common blood pressure medication does (38).
Another study discovered that drinking six cups of rooibos tea daily for six weeks reduced "bad" LDL cholesterol and fat levels while increasing "good" HDL cholesterol levels (39).
Much more research is required to confirm these findings and discover any additional benefits. However, preliminary evidence suggests promise.
Scientists have only recently begun to investigate Rooibos tea. Preliminary evidence suggests that rooibos tea may help improve bone health and lower the risk of heart disease, but more research is needed.
7. Sage Tea
Sage tea is well known for its medicinal properties, and scientific research is beginning to back up several of its health benefits, particularly those related to brain health.
A number of test-tube, animal, and human studies have shown that sage is beneficial for cognitive function and may be effective against the effects of Alzheimer's disease plaques.
In fact, despite the limitations of the studies, two studies on oral sage drops or sage oil found improvements in the cognitive function of those with Alzheimer's disease (40, 41, 42).
Furthermore, sage appears to have cognitive benefits for healthy adults.
A number of studies found that taking one of several different types of sage extract improved mood, mental function, and memory in healthy adults (40, 43, 44, 45).
Furthermore, one small human study discovered that sage tea improved blood lipid levels, while another study in rats discovered that sage tea protected against colon cancer development (46, 47).
Sage tea appears to be a healthy option, with potential benefits for cognitive health as well as heart and colon health. More research is needed to learn more about these effects.
According to several studies, sage improves cognitive function and memory. It may also be beneficial to colon and cardiovascular health.
8. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm tea has a light, lemony flavour and appears to be beneficial to one's health.
A small study of 28 people who drank either barley tea or lemon balm tea for six weeks found that the lemon balm tea group had improved artery elasticity. Arterial stiffness is thought to be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and cognitive decline (48).
In the same study, those who drank lemon balm tea had higher skin elasticity, which usually declines with age. The study, however, was of poor quality.
Another small study in radiology workers discovered that drinking lemon balm tea twice a day for one month increased the body's natural antioxidant enzymes, which help protect cells and DNA from oxidative damage (49).
As a result, participants' markers of lipid and DNA damage improved.
Preliminary evidence suggests that lemon balm may help with high blood lipid levels (50).
A number of studies have also found that lemon balm improves mood and mental performance.
Two studies with a total of 20 participants looked at the effects of different dosages of lemon balm extract. They discovered enhancements in both calmness and memory (51, 52).
Another small study discovered that lemon balm extract reduced stress and improved math processing abilities (53).
Finally, a small study discovered that drinking lemon balm tea reduced the frequency of heart palpitations and anxiety (54).
Lemon balm tea has a variety of potential health benefits and would be an excellent addition to any herbal tea collection.
Preliminary research suggests that lemon balm tea may improve antioxidant levels, heart and skin health, and even aid in anxiety relief.
9. Rose Hip Tea
Rose hip tea is made from the rose plant's fruit.
It contains a lot of vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds. These plant compounds, combined with certain fats found in rose hips, produce anti-inflammatory properties (55).
Several studies have been conducted to investigate the ability of rose hip powder to reduce inflammation in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Many of these studies found it to be effective in reducing inflammation and its associated symptoms, such as pain (56, 57, 58).
Rose hips may also help with weight loss, as one 12-week study of 32 overweight people found that taking rose hip extract resulted in lower BMI and belly fat (59).
Rose hip's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may also aid in the prevention of skin ageing.
According to one preliminary study, taking rose hip powder for eight weeks reduced the depth of wrinkles around the eyes and improved the moisture and elasticity of the face's skin (60).
These properties may have additional health benefits, though more research is needed to confirm these effects and investigate any new ones.
Rose hip tea contains a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce arthritis inflammation and pain. Rose hips have also been shown in studies to be effective in fighting skin ageing and reducing stomach fat.
10. Passionflower Tea
Passionflower tea is made from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the passionflower plant.
Passionflower tea has traditionally been used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep, and research has begun to back up these claims.
One study, for example, discovered that drinking passionflower tea for one week significantly improved sleep quality scores (61, 62).
Furthermore, passionflower was found to be effective at reducing anxiety in two human studies. In fact, one of these studies discovered that passionflower was just as effective as an anti-anxiety medication (63).
Another study discovered that when taken in addition to clonidine, the medication typically used for opioid detoxification treatment, passionflower helped relieve the mental symptoms of opioid withdrawal, such as anxiety, irritability, and agitation (64).
When it comes to reducing anxiety and promoting calmness, passionflower tea appears to be a good choice.
According to research, passionflower tea may help improve sleep and reduce anxiety.
Herbal teas are naturally sugar and calorie free and come in a variety of delicious flavours.
Many herbal teas have health-promoting properties, and modern science is beginning to validate some of their traditional applications.
Whether you're a tea connoisseur or a novice, don't be afraid to try these 10 herbal teas.