Magical Tea – Good For What Ails You

Well, ladies and gentlefiends, it’s that time of year when sniffles and snorts and hacking and coughing and lungs filled with mucus become part of our daily routine. Isn’t it lovely? Well, I was contemplating how I was going to get through the winter nastiness this year, and I was reminded of an episode a couple of years back, when I arrived at my parents’ place with such a horrible cold that I may as well have been a zombie. Nothing was helping to relieve it, so my sister went out and picked up some ginger, shaved it, boiled it, added a generous dollop of honey, and made me drink the ginger tisane she’d cooked up. And y’know, it really did help me feel better.

I considered accusing her of being a witch, because everyone knows that women who know lots about herbs have to be witches, but as much as her and I may have fought when we were kids, I’d rather not see her burned at the stake. Of course, now I know that they don’t do that anymore, but now I’m more interested in the medicinal effects of tea than in making wild accusations about my sister.

So what is it about that ginger tea that helped make me feel better? Well, ginger contains a chemical named cineole. which has antibacterial and decongestant properties. So it’s kind of a natural cough medicine. And it gets your mouth watering, which can help relieve dryness. Making it into a tea helps release the cineole. The honey just makes it taste better.

So what else can we use herbal teas for? Well, some scientists at Tufts University decided to review studies of herbal teas, and determine what they could from them.

A very popular herbal tea is chamomile. It’s said to be relaxing (though, really, I find most tea to be relaxing) but there wasn’t any actual research on that. What they did find, however, was research indicating that it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and it can help with cholesterol.

Peppermint tea is another popular tisane (and one of my favorites) could be good for antioxidants and even have anti-tumor applications, as well as having a relaxation effect on animals. Not sure about humans on the relaxation bit, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Here’s a good one for those of you who may have high blood pressure. According to the same study, hibiscus tea is good for lowering blood pressure. And the flowers are pretty. Go ahead, stare at the soothing flowers as you drink your tea.

One final tea I want to point out is nettle tea. Mainly because nettles aren’t something I immediately think of ingesting. They seem a tad pointy. Sting aside, nettle tea is apparently good for treating inflammation (such as arthritis), can be used to treat enlarged prostates, and even works on bladder/urinary issues. Um…. ew. Despite how useful that sounds, I really hope that I never need to drink nettle tea.

Of course, there’s a lot more herbal teas out there, each with their own properties, some verified, some passed down as folk medicine. If you’re wanting to try out some natural remedies, a tisane could be a good place to start.

As for me, I’m going to go think up some nice things to say to my sister. I’d rather not be turned into a newt when I see her next.

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