While we all know coffee is necessary for surviving motherhood, adding some more tea breaks into your day is a great way to help boost your wellbeing. From traditional tea to herbal infusions, your teacup holds plenty of positive short-term and long-term health and wellness benefits
Tea actually refers to Camellia Sinensis, the plant from which traditional teas such as green, black and oolong tea are made. What we call herbal teas are actually infusions and more accurately called tisanes. Tisanes can be comprised of leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical components.
The benefits of a good cup of organic tea or tisane are plentiful. Look for a well-sourced product that has been made from high quality ingredients. Steer clear of added essential oils and flavours as these are unnecessary and have the potential to interfere with the health benefits.
How to make the perfect brew:
Steep your tea bag, or loose leaf/herb for at least 5-10 minutes in a covered pot or cup. Keeping it covered whilst allowing it to infuse will keep the natural essential oils in and draw out as many beneficial properties as possible.
Choosing the right tea for you:
Tea (camellia sinensis)
Tea includes green tea (non fermented), black tea (fermented), and oolong tea (semi-fermented). Tea may be the most accessible form of herbal medicine available. Most of the studies in relation to tea’s health benefits surround the “hero” green tea but there is increasing evidence to suggest that the other varieties may hold similar benefits.
Tea contains natural antioxidants that reduce inflammation and help to protect cells and molecules from damage. Many studies have shown that those who regularly drink green tea have a lower risk of several types of cancer, have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and are more likely to live longer. This notable little leaf contains substantially less caffeine than coffee, but still enough to improve brain function. The containing compounds have a protective effect on the brain and lower the risk of Alzheimers and Parkinson’s diseases. And if that isn’t enough, there is some evidence to suggest that green tea also has a thermogenic affect on the body, meaning that it increases short term fat burning.
You should be aware that tea contains tannins. Whilst tannins have many positive affects on the body, they do bind to and interfere with the absorption of iron and potentially some medications. If you have any concerns about your iron levels or are taking medications, you should speak to your healthcare professional about drinking tea.
Made from dried chamomile flowers, this infusion is traditionally associated with relaxation. Due to its mild calming and sedative effects, it is often used to relieve anxiety and irritability, as well as aid sleep. Chamomile is also known to play a role in reducing menstrual pain, treating diabetes, preventing osteoporosis and even providing relief from the common cold. This is the perfect infusion to help you unwind before bed. Though it is important to be aware that chamomile is a known allergen for some people, so discontinue if you have any concerns.
Dandelion root is a gentle liver stimulant and cleanser that has many health benefits. If you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake, roasted dandelion root has a full bodied taste, similar to that coffee hit. A ‘dandy latte’ can be a great replacement for coffee, especially in pregnancy as it aids digestion, helps to reduce bloating, and relieve constipation. A cup of dandy can also assist with blood sugar levels and reduce morning sickness.
Peppermint tea offers relief from abdominal bloating and gas. It can also help to alleviate muscle spasms and mild nausea. However, if you suffer from heartburn/ reflux it is best to avoid peppermint altogether. Try making peppermint tea by steeping a small handful of fresh leaves into boiled water for 5-10 minutes.
Native to South Africa, this plant contains more than 50% more antioxidants than green tea. It contains no caffeine, the tannin content is low and it is naturally sweet, making it a wonderful replacement for a traditional brew. The health benefits of rooibos include its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the potential for improving heart health, treating diabetes and cancer prevention. It can also aid digestion, assist in weight loss and support strong bones.
Jessica Hoskins is an Australian Clinical Nutritionist & Herbalist with a passion for nourishing mothers and children. Her latest e-guide, The Nourished Toddler, is available now via her website. You can find more of Jess’ wisdom on her Instagram account @sageandfolk .