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For thousands of years, master herbalists like our very own Brigitte Mars have infused different leaves, plants, and roots together to create different teas. But why are some healthier than others? In this comprehensive summer guide, we explain the herbal tea benefits, origins, and superpowers behind eight different common herbs that appear in your mug.
A History of Peppermint
Peppermint (M. balsamea Willd) is one of the most popular and powerful herbal plants used in teas. As a naturally occurring hybrid between watermint and spearmint species, peppermint is known for its sweet aroma and versatility as an ingredient in beverages, foods, oils, perfumes, and remedies.
In Greek mythology, peppermint is a herb often associated with hospitality and memory as well as the story of Hades and Persephone. In ancient times, peppermint was sometimes used as a room deodorizer for its fragrant scent.
A common staple in many gardens today, peppermint originated in the regions of eastern Europe and central Asia. It is now cultivated worldwide and is grown mainly in the northeastern part of the United States and southern regions of Canada.
Benefits of Peppermint Tea
High menthol content gives peppermint its unique minty, fresh flavor that has made it a critically important input in many herbal therapies. Medical studies in the past two decades have found peppermint leaves in tea to be a natural remedy for indigestion, menstrual cramps, and nausea.
Even the simple aroma of peppermint tea leaves has well-documented health benefits — aiding muscle relaxation, alleviating headaches, and improving sleep patterns. Peppermint has been known to help mood improvement, with the aroma activating smell receptors in the brain.
Together, peppermint is cooling, relaxing, and stimulating, remaining one of the most effective health-cleansers and natural remedies in human history.
A History of Lemongrass
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a tall, entwined grass known for its citrus flavor and powerful aromatic lemon scent in steeped tea. It is a versatile plant and its stalks are used in herbal tea mixtures, beverage flavoring, deodorants, soaps, cosmetics, and the production of Vitamin A.
Found in subtropical climates in Asia, Australia, and Africa, most lemongrass today is produced in the mountain range of the Western Ghats in India, Bangladesh, and in the hills near the Himalayan mountains. With tall grass and red base stems, lemongrass stalks have several tightly-wrapped layers around the core, which contains a white stalk that is used for cooking and tea.
Benefits of Lemongrass Tea
For generations, lemongrass has been commonly used to help prevent the growth of bacteria and yeast while balancing levels of sugar and cholesterol in blood. Additionally, its antioxidant properties are believed to help reduce pain, swelling, and even rheumatoid arthritis.
When consumed in oil solution or in steeped tea, the naturally-occurring plant compounds in lemongrass have been shown to be indispensable in maintaining day-to-day health. Early research suggests that it can be used as part of a remedy solution to treat ailments ranging from dandruff to stomach aches.
A History of Licorice
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an ancient plant known for its long root, which has been used in herbal tea mixtures for thousands of years while being regarded as one of the best natural remedies. Its distinct flavor has made it both a premier tea choice as well as a popular flavor in cosmopolitan cuisines.
Native to central Asia and northern Africa, licorice has a rich history dating back to ancient Egypt, where it was revered as a tasty beverage and a cure-all remedy in teas. Later imported to China, licorice immediately became an important herb in Chinese medicinal tradition.
Benefits of Licorice Tea
Licorice roots are considered a superfood when it comes to their health benefits. It has been known to alleviate gastrointestinal problems. The root contains glycyrrhizic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. In the cases of food poisoning, stomach ulcers, gastritis, or peptic ulcer disease, licorice expedites the healing and repairment of stomach lining. One medical even study found that the roots eliminate a toxic bacteria that can gradually form in the gut over time
Licorice root health benefits go beyond maintaining a strong gastrointestinal system. Intaking licorice helps produce healthy mucus in the lungs, helping maintain a balanced respiratory system. Recent studies have even found that licorice roots can be part of a breast or prostate cancer treatment regimen.
A History of Fennel
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) are green and white plants with feathery leaves, yellow flowers, and flavorful seeds that have become a staple ingredient in herbal teas. Native to southern Europe and now naturalized to gardens across Europe, North America, and Australia.
The medicinal plant has a long history as bringing safety, health, and good fortune, starting with its use as an omen hung outside of houses in the Middle Ages to ward off evil spirits and later widely cultivated on the estates of the European emperor Charlamagne. In ancient India, fennel seeds were used to improve signs of glaucoma. Today, it’s known as a super herb and a wonderful flavor in teas.
Benefits of Fennel Tea
Consuming fennel seeds in tea is one of the best ways to naturally keep your body healthy. One study recently found that fennel seeds help regulate blood pressure by increasing the nitrate content in saliva. The oils in fennel seeds aid indigestion and stomach sickness, with the plant’s high potency of estragole, fenchone, and anethenole functioning as an anti-inflammatory in stomach lining. With high concentrations of Vitamin A, fennel also contributes to maintaining good eyesight.
Fennel is considered one of the most important natural herbs for maintaining healthy skin. Rich in minerals including zinc, calcium, and selenium, consuming fennel naturally oxidizes and cools skin, helping prevent acne. It is one of the best plants to help deter cancers of the skin, stomach, and breasts with a potent chemo modulatory effect.
What Customers are Saying About Sky & Wyatt
The hemp flower really adds something unique (very “earthy” as others have noted).
The black tea is rich in flavor and the ginger makes this chai unique and perfect with a dash of almond milk.
I also woke up without any anxiety. I later felt anxiety at spurts of time in the mornings the first 8 days.
The anxiety subsided though once I started sipping my "Be Still," tea.
A History of Sage
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is an herb from the mint family that grows as an evergreen shrub with grayish leaves used in teas, essential oils, and food flavoring. Native to the southern and eastern mediterrean coastlines, today sage has been naturalized across North America as well as many other parts of the world.
Since its days as a “holy herb” in ancient Rome, sage has been widely utilized for its medicinal properties. Similarly, traditional Chinese medicine used the plant to cure the common cold and other illnesses.
Benefits of Sage Tea
As an anti-inflammatory agent, sage is a great natural remedy for maintaining healthy blood. Rich in antioxidants, the sage neutralizes toxic compounds that lead to Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers. Compared to other plants, sage is exceptionally high in Vitamin K, which allows it to contribute to good bone health, the best circulation patterns, optimal blood clotting, all while lowering blood sugar levels.
Though research on sage is still a burgeoning field, initial studies show that the wonderplant may also contribute to improving dental health. Sage’s antimicrobial properties neutralize bacteria that produce dental plaque while another medical study found that it reduces cavity-inducing diseases.
A History of Pu'erh Tea
Originating from the mountains of Yunnan, China, pu’erh tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. In a gradual fermentation process that lasts up to 15 years, the leaves are fermented to be finished into a potent tea known for its relaxing effect.
Prized by tea drinkers across the world for its rarity and unique flavor, pu’erh is steeped in ancient Chinese tradition as one of the first true “black teas,” with the first leaves being consumed 700 to 800 years ago.
Benefits of Pu'erh Tea
Pu’erh is known as one of the most versatile natural herbal remedies when it comes to maintaining good health. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, the pu’erh plant’s chemical properties make it one of the best treatments in joint aches and lowering cholesterol. Its antibacterial properties have been known to protect against infections, including E. coli and bacteria contagions in skin like acne.
Like several other herbs we’ve talked about in this guide, pu’erh has been proven to help emotional health. Studies have found that the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in pu’erh leaves functions as a neurotransmitter, reducing anxiety while improving sleep quality.
A History of Sarsaparilla
Sarsaparilla (S. officinalis) is a climbing wooden vine deep in the canopy of the rainforest with a powerful root. In tea, the root is granulated into a healthy, delicious beverage.
Native to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, sarsaparilla was a common herbal remedy for a variety of ailments for thousands of years.
Over the span of several hundred years, it became a staple medicine in indigenous Latin American health practices before being introduced into European medicine and later into journal research in the United States.
Benefits of Sarsaparilla Tea
When it comes to superfoods from the rainforest, the sarsaparilla root makes the top of the list. The potent microorganisms in the root were initially used as a valuable defense against harmful bacterias occurring in syphilis and leprosy. Today, studies have found that they can treat psoriasis by binding the endotoxins responsible for skin lesions in the illness.
As a potent anti-inflammatory agent, it has been proven to be useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, and swelling caused by gout. Research has found that sarsaparilla roots protect against liver damage, since they are rich in flavonoids compounds. In the field of cancer prevention, studies have shown that consuming the root increases antitumor properties.
A History of Nettle
Who knew the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) could make for a soothing afternoon cup of tea?
Originally native to Europe and western North Africa, the plant has heart shaped leaves and a stem covered in tiny hairs that provide an unpleasant sting when touched.
But when leaves or stems are finely crushed, they can provide a delicious tea with unmatched health benefits.
Benefits of Nettle Tea
Nettle tea has a variety of health uses. Studies have found that it can be part of a treatment plan in issues that come up surrounding urinary tract health. With an ability to help flush bacteria, a recent study found that the nettle leaf can help treat people with type 2 diabetes by helping the pancreas produce or release insulin.
The nettle plant’s capacity to treat cancer has caught the attention of many oncologists. High in a plant chemical called polyphenol, the chemical compounds in nettle tea have been found to play a critical role in treating breast cancer and also in treatment programs for prostate cancer.