18 Top Herbal Teas

Let nature's goodness into your body...here are my favourite herbal teas which can improve health by swapping your 'usual' to a range of options depending on what your body needs.

Because the leaves can be poisonous, it is the white elderflower blossoms that are used in tea to fight colds and clear catarrh. Elderflower tea is also thought to reduce fevers as they raise body temperature. Elderflower also boosts the immune system, stimulates circulation, eases constipation and reduces inflammation and rheumatic problems.

Used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, ginger is renowned for soothing the digestive system. The root treats nausea and so can ease travel and morning sickness and reduce dizziness, and is also used to control chronic pain by reducing inflammation.

An ancient remedy for snakebite, asthma, arthritis and urinary infections, nettle is a good source of iron, calcium and silica and therefore a good tea to take when feeling run down. Nettle is also thought to reduce fluid retention and is therefore helpful before and during menstruation and is also useful for constipation sufferers. Don’t worry – the sting in the leaves is dissolved when leaves are heated!

St John’s Wort
A small yellow flower commonly found in Britain and Europe, St John’s Wort has been used for centuries to treat mild depression and more recently Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by raising chemical levels in the brain. The herb is also thought to help with anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns as well as bladder problems, including bed wetting in children.

Well known for its gentle and relaxing effects, chamomile has been used for years to combat stress and insomnia. More recently, its pretty flowers have also been noted for improving irritable bowel syndrome, preventing gum disease and soothing the digestive system.

Milk Thistle
As a potent liver cleanser, milk thistle is useful for maintaining good overall health, so may help prevent cancer, hepatitis, high cholesterol and overall toxic build up.

First used medically in the 10th Century, dandelion leaves and roots are used to treat gall bladder, kidney, liver and joint problems. There is some evidence to suggest it is a blood purifier and in some countries is used to treat eczema and cancer. Dandelion may also aid poor digestion and help the liver metabolise fat. The herb is a rich source of iron, potassium and calcium and the leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots. Dandelion is a diuretic – hence the myth that picking the flowers makes you wet the bed.

Used for centuries to help insomniacs get a good night’s sleep, this herb is becoming increasingly popular as a relaxant. In fact some prisons are ordering valerian by the boxful to help reduce stress levels and insomnia in prisoners. The herb is also thought to ease stomach cramps.

Burdock was used by India’s traditional Ayurvedics and by the early Chinese as a remedy for colds, flu, throat infections and pneumonia. During the 14th Century, its leaves were pounded in wine and used to fight leprosy. The chromium levels in the herb assist in controlling appetite through regulating blood sugar levels. The herb is thought to help acne and urinary infections as well as cleansing the lymphatic system.
Belonging to the same family as the carrot, fennel was highly prized by the Greeks and warded to the original marathon runner who brought news of the Persian invasion to Sparta. Fennel tea is often drunk after a meal to aid digestion but it is also thought to help bronchitis, coughs and colds.

A member of the pea family, liquorice is often added to herbal blends because its sweet taste conceals the bitterness of the other herbs. The roots contain antioxidants, and for many years liquorice tea has been used to treat chronic fatigue as well as eczema, shingles, respiratory diseases, sore throats, stomach ulcers, menopausal and menstrual problems.

Ginseng has been highly prized in traditional Chinese medicine to promote long life, fertility and wisdom. It is said to reduce fatigue, increase stamina and clarify the mind – and best of all, to slow the ageing process!

Chai is the general word for tea in the Indian culture. This wonderful rich and mellow flavoured black tea is infused with Indian spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger and star anise. In India, Chai is often drunk with a little touch of mile and is also often sweetened to bring out the spice flavour.

Earl Grey
This ever popular tea is light, pale gold in colour with the delicate flavour of bergamot. Legend has it that the second Earl Grey was presented with the exquisite recipe by an envoy on his return from China.

Lady Grey
Originating in China, Lady Grey is a lighter alternative to Earl Grey with a gentle, citrus flavour. A light, refreshing tea, pale gold in colour and infused with the flavour of orange, lemon and bergamot.

Lapsang Souchong
This tea originates from South East China. The unique Lapsang Souchong flavour is produced by laying tea leaves out on bamboo trays and allowing smoke from pinewood to permeate through them. It is a golden smoky tea, ideal when relaxing in the afternoon, or in the evening after dinner.

Honey and Ginger
Honey and ginger have always been two of the most enjoyed natural ingredients. These two have been blended together in the Caribbean to create an awesome flavoured herbal tea infusion which reminds you that life is worth living!

Peppermint has been used by many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Chinese and American Indians, no doubt because of its extremely useful health-promoting properties. It is an excellent digestive, it helps the respiratory system and circulation, it is an anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. These qualities make its tea useful in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence, bad breath, flu, catarrh, headaches and migraines, toothache and fatigue.
I hope these tips are of use to you and I look forward to treating you soon! Happy drinking. I sell many herbal teas through the suite and my online Neals Yard Remedies teashop.
Best wishes, Steve x