Chamomile is an old and effective natural sleep aid used in many countries around the world. It has the ability to act as a mild sedative because it has apigenin, which is a type of flavanoid. It is a great for treating upset stomachs in both kids and adults and is excellent for calming your mind down when you’re stressed. Its ability to relax muscles makes it a good alternative for calming menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, inflammation in the intestinal tract and general inflammation around the body1,2.
It is an anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti spasm food/herb and a potentially strong cancer fighter. It comes in teabags or you can buy the dried flowers and steep your own tea.
- Sánchez-Ortuño M, Bélanger L, Ivers H, LeBlanc M, Morin C. The use of natural products for sleep: A common practice?. Sleep Medicine [serial online]. October 2009;10(9):982-987.
- Ross S. Chamomile: a spoonful of medicine. Holistic Nursing Practice [serial online]. January 2008;22(1):56-57.
It has the potential to ward off colds perhaps more effectively in athletes1.
There is some suggestion according to one study, that Echinacea may have the ability to kill avian flu (H1N1 virus) as well as the swine version of this virus 2. What dose and how frequently to use Echinacea is not clear for use against the H1N1 virus and it should be noted that the study was not done using live subjects. However, it is promising that Echinacea may have the potential to do this.
One study notes that pregnant women may want to refrain from using pharmaceuticals containing Echinacea because it may interfere with the growth and development of the fetus3. Any allergies you may have to plants in the daisy family should be taken into account if you plan to use Echinacea4.
- Ross S. A standardized Echinacea extract demonstrates efficacy in the prevention and treatment of colds in athletes. Holistic Nursing Practice [serial online]. March 2010;24(2):107-109.
- Pleschka S, Stein M, Schoop R, Hudson J. Anti-viral properties and mode of action of standardized Echinacea purpurea extract against highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1, H7N7) and swine-origin H1N1 (S-OIV). Virology Journal [serial online]. 2009;6:197.
- Barcz E, Sommer E, Nartowska J, Balan B, Chorostowska-Wynimko J, Skopińska-Rózewska E. Influence of Echinacea purpurea intake during pregnancy on fetal growth and tissue angiogenic activity. Folia Histochemica Et Cytobiologica / Polish Academy Of Sciences, Polish Histochemical And Cytochemical Society [serial online]. 2007;45 Suppl 1:S35-S39.
Greek Mountain Tea (Sideritis spp.)
Greek Mountain Tea has traditionally been used to help treat and prevent upper respiratory infections like colds and the flu. The compounds it contains are great at protecting your cells from damage from free radicals as well.
1. Danesi F, Saha S, Bordoni A, et al. Bioactive-rich Sideritis scardica tea (mountain tea) is as potent as Camellia sinensis tea at inducing cellular antioxidant defences and preventing oxidative stress.Journal Of The Science Of Food And Agriculture [serial online]. May 3, 2013
Hibiscus tea has a deep red color to it, which is a good sign that it contains plenty of antioxidants. This tea can help lower your blood pressure and it can help your kidneys function more efficiently1,2. This tea can also be an effective tool against obesity and diabetes. Drinking 3 cups per day can bring out great results.2
- McKay DL , Chen C-Y, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. Tea (Tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J. Nutr. February 2010 vol. 140 no. 2 298-303.
- Dr. Oz Show
Holy Basil/Tulsi tea ★★★
Holy Basil (Tulsi Tea) may be one of the healthiest herbal teas in the world. Holy Basil is a species of Basil called Ocimum tenuiflorum. The health benefits are virtually endless. It is used in India, Thailand and all over Asia as an ingredient in foods. It is also one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs that is used to treat ailments like skin diseases and all kinds of gastric problems and it can be used to help prevent relapses of a wide range of sicknesses1. Holy Basil is an Adaptogen and its primary function is to reduce stress. Adaptogens causes your body to adapt to stress by keeping it from releasing stress hormones1,2.
Holy Basil is an excellent anti inflammatory herb and tea. It is also an excellent cancer fighter, an anti microbial, and in a few studies an it killed off HIV and Staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus) because of its’ oils1,3,5,6. (Note: I’m not claiming that Holy Basil will cure HIV, AIDS, or Staph infections. Modern medicine should not be pushed aside concerning these types of infections).
Holy Basil can help reduce fasting blood sugar levels and may lower your cholesterol levels 6.
Indian families may keep a Holy Basil plant in the home and eat one leaf per day or drink the tea daily. It tastes much like regular Basil.
- Gupta P, Yadav D, Siripurapu K, Palit G, Maurya R. Constituents of Ocimum sanctum with antistress activity. Journal Of Natural Products [serial online]. September 2007;70(9):1410-1416.
- Singh S, Taneja M, Majumdar D. Biological activities of Ocimum sanctum L. fixed oil–an overview. Indian Journal Of Experimental Biology [serial online]. May 2007;45(5):403-412.
- Quere, L., Wenger, T., Schramm, H. Triterpenes as potential dimerization inhibitors of HIV-1 protease. J. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 1996; 227: 484-488
- Jayasinghe C, Gotoh N,Aoki T, Wada S. Phenolics Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2003 51 (15), 4442-4449.
Honeybush is an herbal tea that has a wide variety of antioxidants that help prevent cancer and genetic mutations that can lead to cancer1. It’s a very potent anti inflammatory tea. Rooibos tea and Honeybush tea tend to share similar health benefits. They are also both from South Africa.
In studies done on mice, Honeybush was able to protect them from sunburn2. Although done on mice, it shows that humans may benefit from Honeybush extract on the skin. In one study the Honeybush extract completely stopped the formation of skin tumors in the mice3. There are no studies done on humans to support this result however.
In more studies done on mice, Honeybush was able to almost eradicate the presence of esophageal tumors4. Rooibos (Another kind of tea similar to Honey bush) also drastically reduced the size of the tumors in these mice showing the great potential for Honeybush and Rooibos teas to fight off this type of cancer. Concerning humans, Honeybush tea (and Rooibos) is safe to drink and more studies need to be done on humans to see what other things Honeybush tea is capable of doing for the health of our bodies 5.
- Kokotkiewicz A, Luczkiewicz M. Honeybush (Cyclopia sp.) – a rich source of compounds with high antimutagenic properties. Fitoterapia [serial online]. January 2009;80(1):3-11.
- Petrova A, Davids L, Rautenbach F, Marnewick J. Photoprotection by honeybush extracts, hesperidin and mangiferin against UVB-induced skin damage in SKH-1 mice. Journal Of Photochemistry And Photobiology. B, Biology [serial online]. May 3, 2011;103(2):126-139.
- Marnewick J, Joubert E, Joseph S, Swanevelder S, Swart P, Gelderblom W. Inhibition of tumour promotion in mouse skin by extracts of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), unique South African herbal teas. Cancer Letters [serial online]. June 28, 2005;224(2):193-202.
- Sissing L, Marnewick J, de Kock M, Swanevelder S, Joubert E, Gelderblom W. Modulating effects of rooibos and honeybush herbal teas on the development of esophageal papillomas in rats. Nutrition And Cancer [serial online]. 2011;63(4):600-610.
- McKay D, Blumberg J. A review of the bioactivity of South African herbal teas: rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia). Phytotherapy Research: PTR [serial online]. January 2007;21(1):1-16.
There isn’t much to support the heath benefits of Kombucha tea. However, there isn’t much evidence from studies to refute it either.
The tea is an antimicrobial, probably because it’s a fermented drink and it may also help with sleep and pain.
Do not drink the cultures that settle on the bottom of the bottle.
- Greenwalt C, Steinkraus K, Ledford R. Kombucha, the fermented tea: microbiology, composition, and claimed health effects. Journal Of Food Protection [serial online]. July 2000;63(7):976-981.
Tilia spp. (linden flower) tea is commonly given to infants and some physicians recommend this tea as a natural sedative. The FDA has put linden flowers on the generally-recognized-as-safe (GRAS) list. This makes it a great anxiety reducer. It’s good for relaxing at night, lowering blood pressure and calming muscle spasms. It also helps to reduce the amount of mucus your body produces and helps expel mucus through coughing.
The tea leaves also contain kaempferol, which is a very powerful antioxidant. Although its in relatively low amounts in the tea, kaempferol has very strong anti cancer and anti microbial and anti inflammatory abilities.
- Bianco M, Lúquez C, De Jong L, Fernández R. Linden flower (Tilia spp.) as potential vehicle of Clostridium botulinum spores in the transmission of infant botulism. Revista Argentina De Microbiología [serial online]. October 2009;41(4):232-236.
Mate (Yerba Mate)
Yerba mate tea can help you lose weight. It contains a compound called mateine, which can boost your energy and metabolism. It can also help you control your appetite by reducing your hunger cravings.
Yerba mate does not have the caffeine crash that comes with coffee. It can give you about 3-4 hours of stable energy.
1. Dr. Oz Show
Moringa Oleifera ★★★
Moringa leaves come from a tree that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. It is a very nutritious leaf that ounce for ounce contains more Vitamin A than Carrots, more Calcium than Milk, more iron than Spinach, more Vitamin C than Oranges, and more potassium than Bananas. More specifically, it contains about 7 times more vitamin C than Oranges, 4 times more vitamin A than Carrots, 3 times more potassium than Bananas, 4 times more calcium than Milk and 3 times more iron than Spinach. It’s protein content rivals that of Milk and Eggs and it contains all 8 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own.
This is a food that ranks among the healthiest foods in the world. It may be the most nutritionally dense and nutritionally diverse sources of food in the world.
Moringa oleifera leaves come from a tree that grows in tropical and sub tropical regions of the world but native to Africa and Asia. It has been used extensively as a medical treatment for all sorts of ailments and diseases ranging from cuts and bruises to malnutrition to cancer.
It is a plant that has gained much recognition around the world for it health benefits and is currently gaining more attention since all parts of the plant are edible and there are several species of Moringa trees that carry most if not all of the same health benefits.
Nutritionally and medicinally this tree has a huge amount of potential to cure diseases around the world. Each part of the tree (leaves, bark, seeds, roots…) has health benefits that have been observed and noted in studies since at least the 1980’s. The leaves are the most commercially available part of the tree and, according to some, can retain much of its nutritional content for months even when the leaves are dried and shipped around the world.
Below is a list of ailments that have been compiled by one study on the traditional uses of Moringa leaves around the world. For a complete list of the health benefits from all parts of the tree as well as references, click on the link for the study below.
List of Traditional Uses of Moringa oleifera Leaves
- General antimicrobial
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
- Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1)
- HIV-AIDS (* Note: It is not intended to be a cure for HIV or AIDS. Do not use or treat it as such.)
Other / Not Attributed to a Specific Pathogen:
- External Sores/Ulcers
Cancer Therapy / Protection:
- Ulcer / Gastritis
- Iron deficiency
- Vitamin/Mineral deficiency
- Essential amino acids
- Lactation Enhancer
Moringa leaves are best taken in tea form. It is better to steep the tea without a tea bag or filter so you can get the best health benefits from the leaves. You can also use the leaf powder as a spice or topping on food. In India the leaves are dry roasted and eaten. It has a slight nutty taste to it when it’s roasted. As a tea it has somewhat of a gentle grassy or leafy taste to it.
- Fuglie LJ (1999) The Miracle Tree: Moringa oleifera: Natural Nutrition for the Tropics. Church World Service, Dakar. 68 pp.; revised in 2001 and published as The Miracle Tree: The Multiple Attributes of Moringa, 172 pp.
- Fuglie LJ (2000) New Uses of Moringa Studied in Nicaragua. ECHO Development Notes #68, June, 2000.
Nettle Tea ★
Nettle tea is great for dealing with hayfever and allergies because it blocks the production of histamine in the body. It’s a dense tea so making a large pot and saving it is best and you can use it whenever your allergies begin to act up. If you’re making your own be carful of the needles they are all over the plant especially the leaves.
This is a great powder to use to help you sleep. The powder form is likely the most potent. You can mix ½ to 1 teaspoon in milk or puddings when you eat dessert or you can add it to a cup of hot water. Take it 1 hour before bedtime.
Studies are also finding that Passionflower may be an effective treatment for general anxiety disorder and perhaps attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well because it has a mild sedative effect on the body and helps your brain release a neurotransmitter called Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which calms down your brain’s neuron activity.
- Dr. Oz Show
- Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytotherapy Research: PTR [serial online]. August 2011;25(8):1153-1159.
Pau d’arco ★
This is a tea that has flown under the radar for most people. It’s a tea that comes from wood shavings of the Tabebuia avellanedae tree. It been used in South America for hundreds of years as antifungal, antiviral, anti microbial and anti parasite treatment. It has been used traditionally to fight off the flu (influenza), syphilis, malaria, fevers, and for yeast infections when applied on the body.1,3
Studies are showing that this may be an effective cancer fighter since in lab studies it has prolonged life in mice with cancer. It has fought off breast, prostate, leukemia, and other types of cancer in studies. However, many of these studies have also had mixed results since they tend to use doses that are high for humans.2 However, the duration of these studies is relatively short, meaning, we can still get similar benefits of Pau d’arco tea if we drink it daily, especially if cancer runs in your family.
The tea is quite safe to drink in normal everyday amounts. 1-3 cups per day is quite safe and healthy for adults to drink, however, what amounts are safe for children is not clear yet.
Note: There are many species in the Tabebuia family of trees of which Pau d’arco comes from. Make sure the source of the shavings come from the Tabebuia avellanedae or Tabebuia impetiginosa tree since these seem to be the ones with higher amounts of the healthy compounds.
- Cragg G, Newman D. Plants as a source of anti-cancer agents. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology [serial online]. August 22, 2005;100(1-2):72-79.
- Queiroz M, Valadares M, Accorci W, et al. Comparative studies of the effects of Tabebuia avellanedae bark extract and beta-lapachone on the hematopoietic response of tumour-bearing mice. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology [serial online]. May 8, 2008;117(2):228-235.
- Pereira E, Machado T, Santos K, et al. Tabebuia avellanedae naphthoquinones: activity against methicillin-resistant staphylococcal strains, cytotoxic activity and in vivo dermal irritability analysis. Annals Of Clinical Microbiology And Antimicrobials [serial online]. March 22, 2006;5:5.
Peppermint tea is an excellent anti inflammatory, antioxidant, and is effective at fighting off cancerous tumors 1. There is some evidence that it also may help fight off allergies, which ones though are not clear yet.
Primarily this tea is used to help with bloating, gas and gas related pains. There is evidence that it can help ease out the problems associated with Irritable bowel syndrome 1,2. Those with GI problems like acid reflux or GERD should probably use Chamomile instead because the oils inside peppermint can relax the stomach’s sphincters allowing acid from the stomach to irritate the esophagus and cause more problems.
One other use of peppermint is to help heal the itching and irritation of bug bites. See how to here.
Peppermint can also be a treatment for bad breath (halitosis).
- McKay D, Blumberg J. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytotherapy Research: PTR [serial online]. August 2006;20(8):619-633.
- Dr. Oz Show
Rooibos tea is a South African tea that is very high in antioxidants. It is great for treating skin irritation, itching and some kinds of eczemas like contact dermatitis1.
The tea has some potential to act as an ACE inhibitor (it can help lower your blood pressure). Because of this, Rooibos tea helps protect your heart from cardiovascular disease. It can also give your immune system a boost to help fight off colds and diseases1-3. It’s also a great tea to help you lose weight.
Rooibos is a naturally sweet tea and can come with or without its’ bluish colored flowers. Brew it for 5-7 minutes and drink. You can also use the leftover leaves from your tea to make a facemask that can help get rid of dryness, oiliness or other skin problems on your face. The benefits of this tea tend to overlap with another South African tea called Honey bush.
- Persson I, Persson K, Hägg S, Andersson R. Effects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteers. Public Health Nutrition [serial online]. May 2010;13(5):730-737.
- Persson I, Josefsson M, Persson K, Andersson R. Tea flavanols inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme activity and increase nitric oxide production in human endothelial cells. The Journal Of Pharmacy And Pharmacology [serial online]. August 2006;58(8):1139-1144.
- Dr. Oz Show
Sage tea can help lower your blood sugar levels so it may be a good tea for diabetics, or those at risk for diabetes, to start drinking1.
This tea is also excellent at helping to boost your mood and alertness. It’s great for anxiety and a great anti inflammatory and also is effective at treating depression. Brew it for 5-7 minutes as a loose leaf. Adding some Black tea leaves and Honey can help cover over the bitter taste. The tea is also good at soothing sore throats 2.
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- Sá C, Ramos A, Azevedo M, Lima C, Fernandes-Ferreira M, Pereira-Wilson C. Sage tea drinking improves lipid profile and antioxidant defences in humans. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences [serial online]. September 9, 2009;10(9):3937-3950.
Sarsaparilla tea has the potential to be an excellent cancer fighter. More studies need to be done to make the claims solid. One study showed how it was able to fight off cervical cancer cells (HELA cells) 1. It may also help to ease diarrhea 2.
- Wang J, Li Q, Ivanochko G, Huang Y. Anticancer effect of extracts from a North American medicinal plant–wild sarsaparilla. Anticancer Research [serial online]. May 2006;26(3A):2157-2164.
- Das S, Prakash R, Devaraj S. Antidiarrhoeal effects of methanolic root extract of Hemidesmus indicus (Indian sarsaparilla)–an in vitro and in vivo study. Indian Journal Of Experimental Biology [serial online]. April 2003;41(4):363-366.
Just like Rooibos tea, this tea can help relieve itching and irritation from a form of eczema called contact dermatitis. Despite the name of the tea it tastes great and the flavor is enhanced the longer it brews. You can also place the leftover leaves on your face for about 10 minutes to refresh and cleanse your skin. It also contains vitamin B6 and magnesium, which can help calm you down so if you’re felling anxious or have been dealing with anxiety, this is a good tea to try.
Wu Wei Zi Tea/ 5-Flavor Tea
A very good tea for anxiety, fatigue and depletedness. It is an adaptogen, which means it can help your body resist the effects of stress on your body. The tea is made from Schisandra berries. You can buy the tea at a health food store or you can make your own by adding 1 teaspoon of dried Schisandra berries into 1 cup of boiling water. Let the berries sit in the water on low heat and you can add some lemon or honey if you like. The tea tastes pretty good on its own.
1. Dr. Oz Show