Let your food (or drink) be your medicine
You have probably heard the saying “let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food,” but did you ever consider using your beverages as part of this concept?
My idea here is a relatively simple one. You have to drink something throughout the day right? Why not make your beverage something that will help address your special health needs? Even those who live a healthy lifestyle and don’t consume sodas and other harmful beverages often overlook the use of teas to support health. Why? I believe it is because most people think of tea as a once-a-day hot beverage only. After all, who wants to drink a hot beverage in the sweltering summer…right?
Tea goes way beyond green, black and oolong
Another mental block many have with tea is that they often think only of black, oolong or green tea. Granted, these types of tea might rule when it comes to the amount consumed worlwide, but tea is not limited to just these types. There are many herbal teas available that provide a host of health benefits beyond what you might have imagined.
What benefits can I get from my tea?
The health benefits of tea can be achieved by using one or all of the following parts of a plant: dried leaves, fruit, flowers, grasses, nuts, seeds, bark, stems, roots, etc. These same parts are also used in teas. In some cases, multiple herbs are used to achieve additional benefits or to help with the palatability of the tea. Oftentimes in traditional Chinese medicine, 15-20 herbs are used to make up a medicinal tea. So, you can see that the sky is the limit as far as what you can achieve from your herbal tea.
Many people think that because a herbal tea looks light in color or contains herbs that are “diluted”
with water, the effectiveness of the tea will be significantly less than that of other natural treatments. This could not be further from the truth. Consuming certain teas throughout your day can be just as effective as other therapies. You can impact just about all of your health issues with teas. Here is a small list of the more popular benefits:
• Eye health
• Blood sugar
• Healthy aging
• Increased energy
• Weight management
• Respiratory (allergies, asthma, etc.)
• Neurologic (stress, anxiety, mood, etc.)
• Immune support (cold, flu, immune weakness)
• Structural (bone, muscle, connective tissue)
• Urinary (infections, bladder control, prostate health, etc.)
• Pregnancy (before, during and after, including breast feeding)
• Digestive (diarrhea, cramping, constipation, IBS, heartburn, acid reflux)
• Hormonal issues (PMS, menopause, andropause, sexual dysfunction, etc.)
• Cardiovascular (blood pressure, cholesterol, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, etc.)
Ok, I had to stop due to the size of my newsletter, but I hope you get the idea. Teas can and will positively impact all of our health concerns.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular single-herb teas and the benefits they can provide:
• Chamomile: calming, anti-inflammatory, anti spasmodic, digestive support, etc.
• Chrysanthemum: sweet taste, reduces fevers, supports liver health and detoxifies the body
• Cinnamon: blood sugar, circulation, digestion and calming
• Fennel: digestive and respiratory
• Ginger: nausea, vomiting, vertigo, motion sickness, colds, indigestion, migraines, etc.
• Hawthorne: heart health, cardiovascular health, etc.
• Hibiscus: blood pressure, menstrual cramps, anxiety, stress, etc.
• Lemongrass: calming, flavoring
• Parsley: diuretic, kidney health, odor issues
• Peppermint: digestion, stress, stomach cramps, bad breath, flavor, circulation
• Raspberry Leaf: pregnancy, colds, sore throats, bladder issues, diarrhea, hair, skin and nails, etc.
• Slippery Elm: stomach cramps and most gastrointestinal issues, sore throats, coughs, respiratory health
Again, remember that the sky is the limit when it comes to your health and consuming tea. You can either mix and match your favorite herbs based on the benefits you are seeking, or purchase a tea that is already blended to address your specific needs, for example: detox, pregnancy, sleep, etc.
Drink hot or cold
Don’t limit your tea consumption to just hot tea. My favorite way to consume tea is cold and over ice. I brew my tea according to the instructions (read your package! Not all teas are brewed the same) and then let it cool in the refrigerator. I then measure out my serving of the tea and pour it over ice. When I make my tea for the day (or sometimes the week), I measure out the amount of water needed for the number of servings I will consume in that time period (example: 4 times daily will equal 4 cups of water boiled). I will use 4 teabags (or the appropriate amount of loose-leaf tea) and make the 4 servings all at once. This saves me time throughout the day and allows me to either drink my tea warm or cold.
Remember, tea is a beverage and can be used all day and night long. I often use my herbal teas as my water consumption for the day. I now weigh 162 pounds, which means I need to consume at least 81 ounces of water a day. I often consume at least half of this amount in some form of herbal tea each day. I will start out my day with a cup or two of green tea, and then switch to some other herbal tea to help me with any of my special needs. I figure I am killing two birds with one stone (not that I am into killing birds).
Gentle enough for your children and for the
I often use teas with children or with people, such as the elderly, who might be more sensitive to herbal extracts. Teas are often gentler on the digestive system, and easier to sip over an extended period of time. You can often use a flavored tea to get liquid supplements into your finicky child: the fact that it is in a beverage form makes it easier to get the “medicine” to go down. My 9-year-old daughter still asks for tea when she isn’t feeling well. My grandfather used tea in his later years as his health began to fail. Give herbal teas a try. You’ll be glad you did!