The science behind herbal tea

Next to water, tea is the cheapest beverage that humans consume. Many Eastern cultures have considered tea as a healthy elixir for hundreds of years, and now the West is catching on. But does the science stack up?

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

Here are some of the things that science has been able to discover about the various herbal teas and their effect on health and wellbeing.

Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is known for its calming effects and is frequently used as a sleep aid. Two studies have examined the effects of chamomile tea on sleep. In one study of 80 postpartum women experiencing sleep issues, drinking chamomile tea for two weeks led to improved sleep quality and fewer symptoms of depression. The second study of 34 people suffering from insomnia found marginal improvements in waking up during the night, time to fall asleep and daytime functioning after taking chamomile extract twice a day.

Chamomile tea is also believed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting effects.

Peppermint tea
Popularly used to support digestive tract health, peppermint tea also has antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Studies have found that peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, cramping, spasms and stomach pain.

Echinacea tea
Echinacea tea is an extremely popular remedy that is said to prevent and shorten the common cold. Most studies regarding Echinacea have not been well designed. This makes it difficult to tell if positive results are due to Echinacea or random chance. It may help soothe a sore throat or clear up a stuffy nose, but there is little credible scientific evidence that it can help prevent or cure the common cold.

Rosehip tea
Rosehip tea is made from the fruit of the rose plant. It is high in vitamin C and beneficial plant compounds. These plant compounds, in addition to certain fats found in rosehips, result in anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have looked into the ability of rosehip powder to reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Many of these studies found it effective at reducing inflammation and its related symptoms, including pain.


Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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