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Herbal Teas Offer Many Health Benefits

Herbal Teas are more popular today than ever before.

There is nothing better than a soothing cup of tea at the end of the day. The tea most of us recognize uses leaves of the tea bush, Camellia sinensis and comes in little bags to steep in hot water for our pleasure. This tea, however, contains a lot of caffeine. Caffeine keeps you awake at night and may not be the best choice for an evening relaxer.

There are so many more types of tea now available that you don't have to limit your selection. What is old is now new again. The new teas are herbal. Herbal teas originated in early times, frequently as soon as man learned that if you boiled water and poured it on leaves, the water took on a new flavor. Many of the teas were though of as folk remedies for various health concerns. While I make no claims to teas remedy potential, I read that sometimes it was a true remedy, as in the case of white willow bark tea, which was later turned into the aspirin pain reliever we all know today.

A few of my favorite herbal teas are easy to access and make delightful additions to your beverage list whether served hot or cold. The teas have unique and delicious flavors that make them popular today and create variety and alternatives to the plain black teas.

Chamomile tea creates a soothing warm feeling when you drink it right before bedtime. It often is touted as a tea that could help you relax. This sweet apple scented tea contains no caffeine to rev up your system. Early Egyptians felt it was the most healing of all herbs. Greek physicians used it for fevers and female disorders. Early Germans inhaled the aroma of the tea to relieve stuffiness.

Lemon balm tea is delightful both hot and cold. The ancients believed its flavorful infusion might help with headaches, bronchitis, and colds. I know that when I have a cold or flu I usually have some hot lemon tea with honey. If nothing else it sure does soothe a sore throat. In the summer, for a flavor reminiscent of lemonade, I like to mix a little honey with the tea and serve it cold.

Monarda, also known as bergamot or bee balm was the most popular colonial tea substitute after the Boston tea party. It received the name bergamot from Dr Nicholas Monardes because the scent of the leaves resembled the fragrance of the Italian bergamot orange. Native Americans used the tea as a tonic for the cold and it received the name Oswego tea after the tribe. Other conditions Early Americans used bee balm for were menstrual pain, gas, nausea and insomnia.

Catnip tea, another early American favorite, actually got its start in Rome. Early Romans cultivated catnip for its soothing properties. They believed it might help reduce fevers and colds, headaches, upset stomachs, and was a very mild sedative. Catnip is a good source of vitamin C.

Fennel tea is reminiscent of anise or licorice. This herb is one of the oldest plants cultivated by man. The Romans gave it to their gladiators to maintain good health. Ladies of ancient Rome took it to lose weight. Still today many Indian restaurants offer a fennel seed as an after dinner aid to digestion. Some attribute relief of menstrual cramps, gas, heartburn and diarrhea to the tea, made from an infusion of crushed seeds and water.

Feverfew, another daisy-like flower, created a tea that some believed reduced fevers, menstrual problems, headaches, stomachaches and aided childbirth. Recent studies indicate that feverfew infusions aid in the relief of migraine headaches. The possibility exists that feverfew could cause uterine contractions, so pregnant women should not drink it. In fact pregnant or nursing women should avoid all herbs unless their doctors give them the okay.

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