Wondering what all the fuss is about herbal tea? Our guide to herbal tea for beginners explains why herbal tea has become so popular and suggests some ways to get started.
Herbal tea has become increasingly popular in the last few decades as more and more people discover the options available. Where your choice of hot drink might once have been limited to coffee, black tea, or (at a pinch) hot chocolate, herbal teas are now widely available from supermarkets, cafes, and health stores.
Delicious though they are, herbal teas have more than just their flavour to contribute to your daily routine. As we rediscover the health benefits of traditional natural remedies, many people find herbal teas an accessible way to incorporate these healing plants into their diet.
Of course, herbal remedies are also offered in other forms, such as pills, tinctures, and syrups. However, we love herbal tea as a gentle and tasty way to get started with plant-based medicine.
You don’t necessarily need to drink herbal teas just for health reasons, of course. With so many different options to choose from, there’s something to suit every set of tastebuds.
Many herbal tea blends are caffeine-free, making them an excellent alternative to caffeinated drinks like coffee or black tea, especially later in the day. Refreshing fruity or minty blends can help to clean your palate after a meal, while comforting floral or spiced blends help you relax and unwind.
There’s so much to explore with herbal tea, we couldn’t possibly fit it all into one blog post. However, we hope this introduction will give you some ideas about how to get started with herbal teas and give you some tips for incorporating them into your daily routine.
What Is Herbal Tea?
If you want to get technical, most herbal teas aren’t actually tea at all. Some, like green tea, do come from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. However, most herbal teas are made from other plants. They could more properly be referred to as tisanes or infusions, but herbal tea is the most widely used and accepted term, so we’ll go for that.
Lots of different plants are used to make herbal teas, depending on the desired health benefits and taste. Which part of the plant you use varies based on the herb – teas can be made from roots, leaves, bark, or even fruit and seeds.
You can make herbal tea with fresh herbs. Mint is a popular choice for this, as is sliced root ginger. But most herbal teas are made from dried plants. This isn’t just because they are easier to store and transport – drying herbs can also increase their potency and intensify their flavour.
Herbal teas have been used for thousands of years to treat illness and promote general health. Herbalists love them because they are a versatile way of using herbs and accessing their healing properties.
Plus, there’s nothing more comforting than a hot mug of tea. You can’t easily curl up in an armchair with a pill or gather with your friends for a few drops of tincture and a chat. But making tea is a soothing everyday ritual that brings us calm and relaxation.
How Do I Start Drinking Herbal Tea?
The great news is that many herbal teas are now available in tea bags, so it is no longer a matter of having special equipment or faffing around with loose-leaf dried herbs.
Just like making a cup of regular black tea, making herbal tea from teabags is simple. Pop the tea bag in your favourite mug and leave it to brew.
We suggest slightly longer brewing times than you’d normally use for black tea, however. Leave the tea bag in the water for at least 4-5 minutes so that the herbs have time to infuse.
Depending on the blend and how much of a sweet tooth you have, you could add a little honey or another natural sweetener to your mug too. Try the tea first though so that you don’t overdo it on the sweetness.
If you want to get into herbal tea for health reasons, the best starting point is to do some research on the herbs that are best for your individual situation. Our blog can help point you in the right direction and you can also filter our tea range by function to find a blend that is right for you.
For more in-depth research, we also like the PubMed website, which can help you find scientific studies on the effects of different herbs.
Don’t forget to talk to your doctor first if you are taking any medications or have health issues. Some herbs can interact with medicines or might not be suitable for certain conditions.
On the other hand, if you want to start drinking herbal tea to support your general health, you might want to explore different blends at different times of day.
First thing in the morning, you might look for energy-boosting herbs like those found in our NutraBoost blend. Green tea, ashwagandha, ginseng, and gotu kola are great herbs for getting your day off on the right foot.
After a meal, you might opt for herbs that support the digestive system and promote gut health. Liquorice, peppermint, chamomile, ginger – there are plenty of options to choose from.
In the evening, soothing herbs that help you relax and unwind can give you a better night’s sleep. Chamomile, lemon balm, and passionflower are some of the best herbs to choose from. We use all of them in NutraRelax.
Some teas lend themselves best to different seasons too. For example, boosting your immune system becomes a priority in the winter months, so you might reach for elderberry, liquorice, ginger, and other herbs found in our NutraDefence tea.
At first, you’ll probably want to experiment with some different options to see what flavours you prefer. Bear in mind that herbal remedies aren’t like conventional medicines. If you are taking them for health reasons, their effect tends to be gentler and builds up over time, so don’t expect dramatic changes straight away.
Best Herbal Tea for Beginners
At NutraTea, we’re big believers in the power of herbal teas to support our health and wellbeing. Our expert team of nutritionists and pharmacists has designed each of our premium blends with a different health condition in mind.
So, if you are looking for a particular health benefit, you’ll probably want to start by exploring our premium blends. Use the functions filter to help you find teas for different purposes or use the ingredients filter to discover blends that contain specific herbs.
On the other hand, those who are just generally interested in herbal teas might want to start by exploring our flagship teas. These are simpler blends, usually containing just two different herbs. They’re a great way to start figuring out which teas suit your individual tastes and needs.