Love your cuppa? Then let your cuppa love you right back! Discover the amazing health properties of herbal teas and how they can help you look, feel and function better, especially when life gets hectic and healthy habits fly out the window.
If you want your skin to look its best, a few cups of green tea each day will help. It’s the tea preferred by supermodels because of its many beauty benefits, including aiding weight loss and skin-cell rejuvenation.
This toxin-flushing drink is loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help protect your body from cell-damaging free radicals, associated with accelerated ageing. Studies also show green tea speeds up the metabolism, helping your body burn fat. In fact, author and model Sophie Dahl says her size 16 to size 12 weight loss is thanks – at least in part – to this wonder cuppa.
If you want to lose weight, be prepared to drink quite a bit. You’ll need seven cups a day to keep the weight off.
Shopping, parties, late nights and visitors can make for a full-on festive season, and a few cups of calming chamomile can see you through the more stressful moments. Most people turn to chamomile as a sleep aid but it can also be used to ease anxiety. It’s non-caffeinated (one of the reasons why it’s so calming), and contains an amino acid called glycine that works as a mild nerve relaxant and antispasmodic. Four or five cups a day will help get your zen on.
Chamomile’s antispasmodic properties also make it great for menstrual cramps and PMS. Drink the tea a few days before your period is due and enjoy at least two cups daily during your cycle.
The silly season often means lots of rich food and overindulging, which can lead to indigestion, bloating and gas. Peppermint tea contains menthol-rich peppermint oil that calms the stomach and stimulates the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach faster, relieving that uncomfortably full feeling. The herb also relaxes the muscles that allow digestive gas to pass, making you feel less bloated. Drink a cup after each meal.
If you suffer from car sickness, try a spot of ginger tea. Ginger has long been used as a remedy for motion sickness and troubled tummies. When sipped, this warming spice starts to stimulate the production of saliva and digestive enzymes, which helps neutralise stomach acid. It also relaxes the stomach muscles to ease nausea and pain. It’s best to drink ginger tea about 30 minutes before the beginning of your trip and every four hours after, or as needed.
If you can’t find ginger tea in the shops, it’s easy to make yourself. Peel a few slices of fresh ginger root and simmer in boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain out the ginger and allow to cool. Adding your favourite sweetener will help mask the bitter taste of the ginger root without altering its benefits.
Feeling a little run-down or sluggish? Luckily, a few cups of rosehip tea a day will help keep your immune system in check. This sweet-tasting brew is made from the berry-like fruit of the wild rose plant.
Rosehips are considered a superfood because they contain more vitamin C than oranges and grapefruit. They are also a rich source of the antioxidant lycopene, which supports the body’s immune system by protecting the body from free radicals.
With all the photo ops during summer, you won’t want your skin playing up with pimples, so adding an anti-acne ingredient to your herbal tea arsenal may help. Rooibos, also known as redbush tea, is a relative newcomer to the tea scene and is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s a rich source of zinc and vitamin D (to promote healthy skin) and flavonoids, which treat skin complaints such as acne and eczema. Here’s a tip – the longer you steep tea, the more flavonoids you’ll get in your brew. Sipping six cups a day will give you the best results.
Life can be stressful, so try to do one thing that lowers your blood pressure each day. Luckily, this can be as easy as brewing yourself a few cups of hibiscus tea. It’s made from dried hibiscus flower petals and prepared by steeping a few teaspoons, or a tea bag, of the dried flower in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes.
This tart tea is great if you suffer from mild to moderate hypertension, or high blood pressure. According to studies, three cups each day for six weeks may lower your systolic blood pressure by an average of seven points. It also has a mild diuretic effect, which will help rid your body of excess water, making you look and feel less bloated.
Rehydrating with water is standard after a big night out, but herbal tea can help, too. Dandelion is a wonderful liver tonic and the perfect tea after you’ve had a wine or two more than usual. There are two types – dandelion root detoxes the body by improving the flow of bile, boosting liver function and acting as a mild laxative; dandelion leaf supports the kidneys through its natural diuretic action and reduces bloating and swelling. Drink a combination of both three times a day to gain optimal health benefits.