Drinking tea can do wonders for your health, especially as you age. White tea, green tea, matcha and fermented teas can help your health in many ways. Antioxidants and other compounds in true teas made from the camellia senensis plant have been found to improve immunity, skin, health, mood, and the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers. But not everything you may consider tea is true tea. Beverages brewed and consumed like tea that do not originate from the camellia senensis plant are referred to as tisane. Here are five great tisanes, or “not” teas that will help your health.
1. Green Rooibos
Rooibos, or red bush, is made from a leguminous broom-like shrub called aspalathus linearis. It originates from the Western Cape province of South Africa, and the tisane that is made from the plant comes in mild flavored green and more earthy and robust red.
The flavonoid aspalathin in rooibos has been shown to neutralize free radicals more effectively than EGCG found in white and green tea. So even though rooibos doesn’t have the highest antioxidant levels, it can detoxify quite efficiently.
The primary flavonoids in rooibos, aspalathin and nothofagin, have been shown to protect the nervous system and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Aspalathin has also been shown to balance blood sugar levels, improve glucose tolerance, boost insulin production, increase glucose absorption in the muscles, and curb excessive fat production; including blood lipids, liver fat and body fat. All of this helps reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Studies have shown a beneficial cardiovascular effect from drinking green rooibos. It improved heart function significantly, decreasing activity of enzymes that encourage early cell death in heart muscle; even more so than green tea.
The zinc and alpha hydroxy acid in rooibos helps to promote healthy, clearer skin. Skin irritation cause by rashes, sunburns and acne can be soothed by applying cooled rooibos as a rinse, compress or face wash. The alpha hydroxy acid can also help lighten dark marks and blemishes as it is a natural skin brightener.
2. Red Rooibos
All rooibos starts out green. But when the untreated green rooibos leaves are oxidized, or fermented, they turn a reddish-brown color. This reduces the amount of antioxidants significantly but develops a more earthy flavor when brewed.
Along with glutathione and its arsenal of antioxidants, green and red rooibos id packed with essential minerals like potassium, fluoride, iron, calcium and magnesium. This helps promote healthy teeth and bones by helping to strengthen bones and repair damage.
Rooibos does have one more thing over green tea. It’s completely free of caffeine. So if you’re sensitive to caffeine and can’t handle true teas or coffee, this brew’s for you.
3. Dandelion Root
Dandelion root has been brewed and consumed as a tea-like elixir for centuries. Used in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine as a liver detoxifier, dandelion root is a rich source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
When consumed as tisane, dandelion root also helps balance gut bacteria and aids in healthy digestion. It stimulates bile production and assists the gallbladder, so it can remain healthy and unblocked. Dandelion root also helps flush the kidneys of waste, reduces inflammation, and promotes urinary tract health.
Dandelion root’s antimicrobial properties help boost immune function and defense against bacterial and fungal infections. It helps balance blood sugar, regulate insulin, and improve blood pressure and cholesterol. And finally, the overall reduction in bodily inflammation has been shown to slow the growth and prevent the spread of cancer cells under laboratory conditions.
4. Ginger Root
Ginger is one of the most potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial plants in the world. Used as ancient medicine for millennia there is almost no part of the body ginger root and its tisane can’t help make healthier.
The compound 6-gingerol has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties that help fight breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, colon, lung, and skin cancers. It has been shown to destroy active cancer cells and prevent new ones from forming. Ginger also helps shield cancer patients receiving treatment from the toxic effects of the drugs, and reduces chemotherapy-induced nausea. Likewise, it helps with morning sickness during pregnancy and motion sickness (car and sea sickness).
Ginger can help relieve the gas, bloating, pain and indigestion associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), relieves heartburn, and boosts nutrient absorption. It can also aid in weight loss by increasing metabolism and suppressing appetite.
The anti-inflammatory properties in ginger reduce arthritic inflammation, help relieve pain, open airways constricted by asthma and colds, and clears sinuses during illness and allergies. The immune boosting benefits also help prevent and held fight infections and cold.
Blood thinning properties improve circulation and even help heal frostbite. Studies have also shown ginger to slow the deterioration and loss of brain cells, helping protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate, or ilex paraguariensis, is a medicinal tisane hailing from the South American rainforest. It is made from the leaves of the holly tree, native to Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Southern Brazil. Packed with even more active compounds than green tea, the antioxidants amino acids, vitamins and minerals in yerba mate deliver great health and immune boosting properties. Vitamins A, C and E, potassium, manganese and phosphorus can all be found in yerba mate. As well as chlorogenic acid, a health promoting compound not commonly found in green tea.
With all of its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, yerba mate has also been found to promote digestion and gut health, weight loss and fat metabolism, and balance blood glucose levels; aiding in prevention and management of type-2 diabetes. Yerba mate also promotes heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Yerba mate can increase bone density, fighting and protecting against osteoporosis.
Yerba Mate’s robust, full bodied flavor is also energizing. Full of caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, the drink has been found to boost mood, cognition and mental clarity as well.
You have many options when it comes to drinking to your health. Any of these 5 not-teas will help you feel better and keep your mind and body healthier longer.