Types of Herbal Teas
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
There is a saying among the British that there is very little that can’t be fixed by a cup of tea. It’s certainly been the practice in my family, where tea has been a staple since childhood, whether it was for a sore throat, a bad day at school or a broken heart.
But many of us have cut back or stopped drinking caffeine over the years, so the traditional English Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey has been replaced with herbal choices. Although herbal brews are technically not tea (they’re properly called tisanes), the warm comfort of a freshly brewed cup remains. If you’re new to herbal “tea”, or are just looking for a new taste in your cup, here are ten types of herbal teas just perfect for breakfast time, an afternoon break or a relaxing evening.
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10. Mint and mint blends
Mint and mint tea blends are among the favorites for herbal tea drinkers. Although a pure mint tea appears pale in comparison to traditional teas, it’s full of flavor whether served hot or cold. Some say that adding a bit of sugar brings out more of the flavor, although purists prefer it straight. The best mint tea is made with fresh leaves, slightly bruised (crushed), although a nice dried mint blend works very well, too.
Known for its mild, floral scent and gentle healing properties, lavender tea has been a favorite herbal choice since ancient times. Brew a cup of steaming lavender tea to relax when life feels too stressful. It’s also delightful in the afternoon or evening with a plate of lemon cookies.
8. Herbal chai
Traditionally, chai tea is made with strong black tea and a blend of spicy, fragrant herbs and spices. But an equally delicious chai can be made with raspberry leaf tea instead. The blend of 6-8 Chai spices and herbs needed to add that signature spicy flavor can be purchased premixed, or assembled yourself from the bulk food section of a natural food store. A sweetener, usually honey, and a creamer (I use coconut milk) and you have a warm and wonderful herbal brew.
7. Lemon balm
A mixture of lemon balm, lemon verbena and of course, some fresh lemon slices makes a wonderfully refreshing and tangy cup of tea. Pour it over ice for a refreshing summmer beverage, or serve it hot with gingerbread for a warming winter treat.
6. Herbal Earl Grey
Like the Chai mentioned above, tea blends which have typically been made with black tea can be deliciously recreated with herbal infusions instead. Because Earl Grey’s unique flavor comes from Bergemont oil, a rooibos works especially well, without overpower the signature scent and flavor.
Many herbal blends now rely on rooibos as an ingredient. This bush tea from South Africa has become a favorite among American tea drinkers looking for a flavorful, rich yet caffeine free alternative to black or green tea. Rooibos is also an excellent source of healthy anti-oxidants, adding to its growing popularity.
If ever a tea was known for its relaxing properties, Chamomile would be it. For generations, mothers and governesses have served children Chamomile tea to encourage a good night’s sleep. The tea is also an excellent choice for calming upset tummies. Together, the properties have earned this tissane the nickname of “nursery tea.” But don’t let that fool you. Adults love its vanilla-like flavor and soothing effects, too. Grab your favorite tea pot and brew up this tea to enjoy with your bedtime book and you’ll drift off happily into dreamland.
It’s fruity and tropical. It’s delicious on its own, but it’s even better blended with other flavors like lime, mint, mango or berry. Hibiscus tea is one of the most colorful and flavorful of all infusions. Serve it hot, with a slice of lemon, or chilled with a sprig of sugared lime.
2. Rose hips
The little round center that’s left when a rose looses its petal is more than just a bit of foliage. It’s a Vitamin C packed power house of an herbal tea. Sip rose hip tea when winter colds strike, or to stay refreshed in the heat of summer. You can grown your own, if your roses are organic (free from herbicides or pesticides) or buy a ready-to-brew infusion at most health food stores and larger grocery stores.
1. Chrysanthemum tea
A visit to any Asian market is all you need to find this delightful tea. Like Chamomile, this tea is a favorite of children. But this time it’s for its fruity flavor. Serve it cold with plenty of sugar for a wonderful alternative to soda or fruit-flavored drinks.
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Whether you call it a tea, a tisane or an infusion, naturally caffeine-free herbal teas are a wonderful treat any time of day.
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