By Corina Tan
The benefits of tea have been touted for centuries and known since ancient times to have a lasting impact on health and wellness. Numerous studies have shown that a variety of natural teas are able to treat many ailments without the unwanted side effects of over-the-counter medications. We list them down here.
Perhaps the most common type of tea that people drink, be it for breakfast or a lovely afternoon tea-time treat, is black tea. Black tea blends such as the popular English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Darjeeling and Ceylon, are full of tannic acids that have strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They can calm diarrhoea and help reduce bloating by helping the body absorb fluids better. Wet tea bags can reduce swelling from cuts, bee stings, bug bites, toothaches and even eyes suffering from conjunctivitis. The alkaline in black tea also neutralises acids that can relieve pain in cold sores by applying a cooled tea bag to the area several times a day. According to a new study, researchers report that black tea could produce healthy gut bacteria and even boost metabolism, plus it also contains polyphenols that may have fat-blocking benefits. This contribution to weight loss may just be the motivating factor that helps you squeeze in a cup or two into your breakfast lineup.
Green tea has been traditionally used especially in Chinese and Indian medicine for aiding digestion, healing wounds, controlling bleeding, improving heart health and regulating body temperature. Research on cancer prevention is also promising as polyphenols in green tea may help kill cancer cells and stop their progression. While results have been inconclusive, there seems to be an associated link of reduced cancers in certain parts of the body such as colon, bladder, breast, prostate, ovary, lung, oesophageal, stomach and skin. In countries where green tea consumption is high, cancer rates also tend to be lower. On top of this, green tea has also been associated with reduced mortality due to cardiovascular diseases. Separate reviews have found evidence of benefits such as lowering blood pressure, decreasing inflammation, and reducing heart disease risk in people with excess weight and obesity. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help with skin conditions and soothe arthritis.
Chamomile is a herb that produces small white flowers used throughout history to make tea. Perhaps one of its more famous known benefits is easing stress and calming anxiety. There is a natural bioactive chemical in chamomile known as apigenin that can activate brain receptors to help reduce anxiety and induce a sense of calm. Its sedative properties are a known remedy for sleep disorders and insomnia. Chamomile also has antispasmodic properties of spiroether that help with digestive issues like upset stomach, gas, cramps, nausea, morning sickness, whilst also inhibiting the growth of bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Besides this, it also eases menstrual cramps and reduces the severity of PMS symptoms. Antioxidants like flavonoids found in chamomile may also help protect vascular cells lining blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Ginger tea’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great remedy for a cold, bout of the flu, or sinus congestion. It is also used to aid in digestive issues, treating indigestion, reducing intestinal contractions, diarrhoea, neutralising stomach acid, reducing dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, menstrual cramps and is a great hangover cure. Ginger also specifically targets bacteria that causes stomach ulcers like H-pylori. If you suffer pain from tendonitis, arthritis or migraine, drinking ginger tea has been shown to soothe and bring relief.
Dandelion tea is made with its leaves or roots and is able to stimulate blood circulation through the kidneys. This helps detox your kidneys and liver naturally while also acting as a strong diuretic that reduces fluid retention and increases urine output. It may also help speed up the passing of small kidney stones. Preliminary studies show that dandelion has the ability to improve liver function, increase the flow of bile, detoxify the liver and relieve symptoms of liver disease. Recently, dandelion root extract has been shown to induce cell death in melanoma cells and pancreatic cancer cells without impacting non-cancerous cells.
While we have only scratched the surface on the benefits of tea to mankind and have so many more beneficial tea types to cover, these ones have given us a lot to think about and consider when selecting beverages in future. While we may have our favourite thirst-quenchers and tend to reach for those out of habit, hopefully, the benefits of tea will alter our choices a little as we stock up some selections for our pantry cupboard next time.