Teas have been consumed for ages and many have benefited from its properties. There are true teas, such as green tea, black tea, yellow tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea, which come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. What differs and gives each its unique colour and flavour is the different processing methods after harvesting. There are also herbal teas, made from the infusion of herbs, spices, fruits or other plant material in hot water.

Studies have found that some teas may help with cancer, heart disease and diabetes, encourage weight loss, lower cholesterol and bring about mental alertness. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial qualities.

“There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman, Katherine Tallmadge. “I think it’s a great alternative to coffee drinking. It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea – their flavonoids – are good for the heart and may reduce cancer.”

Here is a look at 9 teas and their health benefits:

1. Green tea

Green tea needs no introduction. Study after study of green tea and its antioxidant benefits show it aids in everything from reducing fibrocystic nodes to weight loss to digestive problems.

“It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants,” says Kris Gunnars, a nutrition researcher. “One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.”

2. Chamomile tea

The flowers from the chamomile plant, when steeped in water, will render soothing chamomile tea that promotes long, peaceful sleep when taken before bedtime. Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage. It may also stunt the growth of cancer cells.

3. Passionflower tea

Passionflower is a plant, whereby the parts that grow above ground are used in different forms, including tea. Its chemicals have calming, sleep inducing and muscle spasm relieving effects, which are good for curing insomnia, relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

4. Ginger tea

This sharp-tasting tea is made from steeping slices of ginger. In addition to boosting the immune system, ginger tea helps to digest food and to control problems like nausea and motion sickness. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial for arthritic patients.

5. Tulsi (holy basil) tea

Tulsi is the Sanskrit name for the holy basil plant and is a member of the mint family. Tulsi is an adaptogen, a natural stress reliever and promoter of mental balance. It has been used to traditionally treat fever, blocked nose, stomach complaints and boost wound-healing speed and strength.

Dr Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist says, “tulsi tea boosts metabolism and helps with weight loss; it’s rich in antioxidants and helps prevent aging effects as well as cancer. Tulsi tea also… balances our system and improves immunity; it increases your resistance to stress and chronic fatigue syndrome; plus works as a natural remedy for anxiety.”

6. Lemongrass tea

Lemongrass tea is prepared from the lemongrass plant, which has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Due to a component present in lemongrass called citral, food is easily digested, therefore promoting healthy digestion and detoxifying effects.

7. Lavender tea

Lavender flowers are healing flowers and when enjoyed as tea, will relax the body and induce sleep. As such, it is also a reliever of mild depression symptoms. Additionally, lavender tea helps to reduce respiratory issues, cough, asthma, bronchitis as well as regulate body temperature and is used for treating fever.

8. Rooibos tea

Originating from the African continent, the needle-like plant gives off the distinct red colour in rooibos tea. This caffeine-free tea is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that is known to reduce stress, combats symptoms of asthma and lowers the problems of insomnia.

Dr Mary Jane Brown, a registered dietician reports, “unlike black tea and to a lesser extent green tea, red rooibos contains no oxalic acid. Consuming high amounts of oxalic acid can increase your risk of kidney stones. This means the tea is a good option for anyone with kidney problems.”

9. Moroccan mint tea

This traditional refreshing tea is a form of green tea prepared with spearmint leaves and sugar. Therefore, it offers the benefits of green tea and more, including clearing up skin disorders, soothing upset stomachs and relieving nasal congestions and allergies. MIMS

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