Tea Break #3: Herbal Teas

“Although many devoted tea-drinkers find great pleasure in sipping these aromatic brews, “herbal teas” are not officially teas.  In the purest sense, only the leaves and buds of Camellia sinensis, the plant that gives us black, oolong tea, green and 100% White Tea should be called tea.  Rather, “herbal teas” are naturally caffeine-free, single or blended infusions of leaves, fruits, bark roots or flowers of almost any edible, non-tea plant.  Most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free. However, certain herbs such as Yerba Maté contain caffeine. In Europe, herb teas or blends are commonly known as tisanes.

Whenever available, The Republic of Tea uses organically grown herbs and blossoms to create our herbal teas. We conjure up intricate blends, perhaps spicy cardamom and cinnamon, or orange and mint, or a well-balanced infusion of rooibos with fruits and flowers to create a pleasing mélange of flavor notes. Often we blend these infusions to achieve superb and uncommon tastes combined with the underlying health attributes and properties of the herbs.

Known to lift our spirits with each sip, herbal teas are equally alluring served hot or iced.”
Republic of Tea: Herbal Teas

Herbal teas add not only a variety of tastes to life, but many health benefits as well.  Here are some of my favorite herbal teas:

Chamomile: Perfect for an upset stomach.  I’m not crazy about the flavor, as it’s very flowery, but it’s great for indigestion, cramps, and acid reflux.

Ginger:  Also good for stomach problems.  I don’t like the taste of ginger either, but Tazo makes a great Ginger Green tea that makes it palatable for me.  But when I have a cold, I turn to Prince of Peace ginger crystals.  It has some honey in it to take the edge of the ginger tang, but it’s spicy enough to burn the cold out fast.

Yerba Mate:  This is a great alternative to caffeine.  You can drink it straight – there is actually a pretty cool ritual performed with this stuff involving a gourd and a drinking straw – or in a blend.  My favorite tea is Republic of Tea’s Yerba Mate Latte.  The intense blend of cocoa, almonds, and mate makes this the perfect pick me up.

Matcha: Tea from the tencha leaf, it’s ground into a powder which you mix into your water.  This is the traditional tea used in Japanese tea ceremony.  Good hibachi restaurants will serve this.  I always guzzle it when we go out.

Dong Quai: The best menstrual cramp remedy ever.  The warmth of the tea combined with the balancing effect of this herb makes womanhood’s curse a bit more bearable.  I couldn’t live without Yogi’s Women’s Energy blend, which mixes dong quai with chamomile to soothe the stomach, dandelion to help with bloating, nettle to reduce fatigue and protect the urinary tract.  Several of the herbs in this tea are high in magnesium, which helps muscles to relax.  Definitely a crucial part of your monthly routine.

Sage:  Great for headaches.  Its flavor is hard to describe, a bit minty, a bit dry, a teeny bit bitter…  But RoT has a fabulous Blackberry Sage blend.  For intense headaches, I like to keep an extra stash of dried sage leaves to add to the blend.

Rooibos:  Everyone should drink this for its antioxidant properties alone.  (It took me a while to understand just what antioxidants do, so I’ll share an easy explanation: Antioxidants inhibit the molecular process that creates free radicals, molecules that start chain reactions which can lead to cell injury or death.)  It’s an interesting flavor, and reminds me of the desert.

Jasmine:  To my knowledge, jasmine doesn’t have any health benefits.  But it’s the perfect spring tea, a jazzy blend of sweet and spicy, with the underlying robustness of the green or oolong base.  RoT’s Jasmine Jazz is bumping.  I love it in the winter too, on those nights I need to have dreams of springtime.

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