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Teas For Your Health Needs

teas-for-your-health-needs_imageIn a previous article I wrote about the health benefits of black and green tea. There are other teas to know about that are used for specific desired health effects. These range from weight loss and increased energy to improved mood and sleep to fighting off a cold virus. In this article I’ll look at herbal teas that are great for certain illness treatments.

Key Teas For Health

You’ll find these teas at health food stores if you cannot find them at common stores such as Wal-Mart. These are my favorite teas and the primary ways in which I use them:

Chamomile tea: Calming and even mildly sedative if you drink enough. (Steep the tea longer for a more soporific effect.) It can be calming even for children suffering from stomach cramps or insomnia. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help with arthritis and intestinal and menstrual cramps. In that sense, it is good to consume this tea throughout the day to calm sore throat pain and the aches and pains of cold or flu.

Valerian root, kava kava, passionflower and lemon balm teas: Very relaxing for sleep if you have mild insomnia or stress. Lemon balm is great to help treat adrenal fatigue.

Lavender tea: Can soothe your mind and body and uplift your mood, inducing sleep. It similarly relaxes the smooth muscles of the gut to treat painful gas or bloating. It reduces fever, too.

Rosemary tea: Can help your muscles relax. It also relaxes the gall bladder. This tea is touted for relieving cough and mild asthma symptoms.

Dandelion leaf/root tea: If you drink two to three cups a day of this diuretic during your liquid cleanse, it helps flush out excess water through the kidneys, one of the main organs of elimination.

Milk thistle tea: Helps the liver regenerate and protects it from chemicals that are detoxified. It is especially useful during a liquid cleanse. It also improves the production of bile (digestion of fats).

Peppermint tea: Most commonly used for calming stomach pain and heartburn. (Be careful if you have acid reflux because it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter). It is also used to calm stomach cramps and allows painful digestive gas to pass. It can calm diarrhea, which is linked to increased peristalsis (contractions of the smooth muscle of the gut). That action makes it effective against irritable bowel syndrome. This tea has a reported numbing effect so that it can help treat headaches and anxiety associated with depression.i (Other teas known to help with stomachaches include rosemary, fennel and stinging nettle.)

Stinging nettle tea: Calms pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Reduces symptoms of asthma, hay fever and allergic dermatitis. Lessens a woman’s PMS symptoms. In nursing mothers, this tea promotes breast milk. It acts like dandelion leaf and dandelion root as a natural diuretic. It may help relieve acid reflux and nausea.

Damiana tea: An aphrodisiac tea for both partners that is mildly euphoric and stimulating. You can make it more potent by blending it with other teas known to be aphrodisiac in nature such as ginkgo, horny goat or yohimbe. Some other aphrodisiac herbs you use as teas include black galangal, blue lotus and blue lily, tribulus terrestris and maca.

Yerba mate: A favorite for weight loss or increasing physical endurance and energy. It can boost mental clarity and focus, too, but without the jittery feeling or stomachache that other caffeinated drinks can cause. Yerba Mate has been shown to lower cholesterol, protect the liver and cause diuresis (increased urinary excretion).ii Yerba mate has a high antioxidant capacity. It has been reported to prevent cancer, but some data indicate a possible link to cancers of the mouth and esophagus in chronic users. That link may be related to its consumption at damagingly high temperatures.

Ginger root tea: A strong stimulant of the immune system for fighting a cold virus or flu. It can also usually calm nausea and lower blood pressure. Use six to eight slices (half dollar size) of fresh ginger root (from the grocery store) and boil them in 2 cups water. Cool and sip for more than one hour.

Rosehips tea: Made from the fruit of the rose plant. It is one of the best plant vitamin C sources. It can be added to your cold and flu treatment and used to boost your immune function under almost all circumstances

Ginkgo biloba tea: Creates improved circulation especially in the lower extremities. A 2000 reportii in the American Journal of Medicine indicates that it significantly increased walking distance in subjects with intermittent claudication.

Echinacea tea: Used to prevent or treat colds because it activates the immune system. It also helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Hawthorne tea: Made from the leaves, flowers and berries of the plant to help offset hypertension.

Teas can easily be part of your daily routine. You can flavor them with liquid stevia without any worry of glycemic effect. Honey is my second favorite sweetener if it is raw. In that form, it still contains beneficial minerals and vitamins.

To feeling good for life,

Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options

ii Heck CI, de Mejia EG. Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): a comprehensive review on chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations. J Food Sci. 2007 Nov;72(9):R138-51.

Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler

is a graduate of Brigham Young University, Tulane Medical School and Natividad Medical Center Family Practice Residency in Salinas, Calif. Dr. Cutler is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder and editor of Easy Health Options™ newsletter — a leading health advisory service on natural healing therapies and nutrients.