Health Benefits of Select Herbal Tisanes
Persimmon leaf tisane is made by steeping the leaves of the persimmon tree. China has grown and cultivated persimmons for thousands of years and the leaf tea has been a well-known health drink throughout Asian history. Persimmon Leaf is particularly abundant in vitamins C and A which makes it an excellent immune system promoter. Studies conducted by the Chinese Academy of the Sciences in the 1980’s found that persimmon leaf tea contains a large variety of Vitamin C, tannins, flavonoids, rutin, choline carotenoids, amino acids. In addition, 10 other elements were identified: Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn), titanium (Ti), calcium (Ca), phosphorous (P), and more. It is believed that persimmon leaf helps prevent colds, strengthens immune function and that consistent intake further helps to lower blood pressure, diabetes, arteriosclerosis. It is also believed to support weight loss due to natural metabolism support and reduction in water retention.
Another treasure of traditional Asian medicine, Mulberry tea leaves (a.k.a. “sang ye”), come from the mulberry tree, a deciduous flowering fruit tree in the family known as Moraceae. Approximately 10-16 mulberry species exist worldwide. The mulberry tree is believed to originate between Northern China and the Korean peninsula, and today grows naturally in the Americas, China, Japan and Central Asia. China’s oldest book of remedies, “Huang Di Ba Shi Yi Nan Jing” or “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of the Difficulties” records its earliest medicinal use as a ‘cooling’ herb to remove heat and excess toxins from the body, particularly the lungs and liver. Mulberry leaf tea (a.k.a. “Sang ye cha”) is known to contain about 10 vital components that help lower blood pressure and control blood sugar. The leaves contain high levels of rutin which strengthen capillary vessels, and GABA (gama-aminobutyric acid), an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter, effective in lowering blood pressure. Mulberry leaf tea is believed to be supportive for colds/sore throat, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and arteriosclerosis.
Lotus leaf comes from an aquatic plant that originated in India and is now cultivated throughout South and Southeast Asia. Lotus leaf tea is said to “clean the blood and calm the soul”. In Chinese Medicine, Lotus leaf tea is used to benefit several organs and conditions inflicted with “dampness accumulation”, and to treat overheating. It is considered beneficial for the stomach, spleen and liver and according to the Institute of Traditional Medicine, it is a calming decoction, effective against high blood pressure, restlessness, heart palpitations and insomnia. Lotus leaf tea is also believed to help eliminate bad breath and remove nicotine from the body, and sooth hangover symptoms. An especially soothing and hydrating infusion, brewed Lotus leaf tea can be added to bath water to produce gorgeous soft skin while soothing rashes and skin irritations. Idea: Use Lotus Leaf in place of chlorophyll for detoxification protocols.
This Hydrangea leaf tea (a.k.a. “Gamro Cha”) comes from a specific species of hydrangea plant found in the high-altitude Mountains of South Korea, and is not the same as the hydrangeas that grow in your flower garden. This medicinal herb steeps a light golden color with a natural sweet flavor that lingers in the mouth. Hydrangea leaf is used to alleviate fever and cough, purify the head and throat and is believed to support heart health. It’s natural sweetness is safe for diabetics and it is even suggested the brew can be used as a natural sweetener. Adding Hydrangea leaf tea to your bath is soothing for the skin. Drinking after meals or working out will quench thirst and sooth the body.
Kyulmyung, or cassia seed, is another tisane common in traditional eastern medicines – particularly in China and Korea. In Chinese characters, “Kyul” means eyes and “Myung” means bright, hence it’s nickname “bright eyes”. Like its name, Kyulmyung tisane is believed to help improve eyesight, especially nearsightedness. It is also used to support kidney and liver health which are related to eye function. Cassia Seed is additionally recommended to reduce swelling and bloating, lowering blood pressure, relieving dizziness and constipation.
Chrysanthemum tisane is one of China’s most popular herbal teas. Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote cooling properties that help to decrease body heat, this botanical is recommended for fever, sore throat, and other heat-related illnesses. Chrysanthemum blossoms are traditionally famous for sharpening the eyes and mind, and are used by herbalists for headaches and dizziness. This is a very beneficial tea for office workers who suffer from eye strain and fatigue due to long hours in front of a computer or students who study for long period of time. Placing a few dried blossoms in your pillow case will allow you to awaken lighter and refreshed.
Rose fruit or Rose hip tisane has been brewed for centuries in the Americas, Scandinavia, Northern Europe, Northern African and Central and Western Asia. The fruit of the rose isn’t actually a fruit at all – it’s the red-orange seed pod on the tip of the stem. They make a wonderful infusion that is refreshingly tart and tangy, similar to unsweetened cranberry juice, and can be enjoyed as a pure decoction or added to other teas/tisanes. The best known benefit of rose fruit is its high level of Vitamin C – even higher than that of citrus fruits. Rose hips also contain vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3, E, K, P, organic antioxidant bioflavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids, lycopene, rutin, potassium, calcium, iron and pectin. Rose fruit tisane is thought to be beneficial in relieving symptoms of cold, flu, stress, nausea, headaches, dizziness, menstrual cramps, kidney and bladder infections, diarrhea and ingestion of fatty foods. It is also known to nourish the skin and enhance circulation due to the antioxidants and bioflavonoids that attack free radicals and support the immune system. Anti-inflammatory properties are supportive in rheumatism, arthritis and gout.
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean and believed to have come to Britain through the Romans. The name “lavender” comes from the Latin word lavare, which means “to wash”, pertaining to the body, mind and spirit. In short, lavender softens the skin, calms the nerves, settles digestion and disinfects – and as such, it is the botanical of choice for teas and sachets, as well as baths. Throughout history, lavender is recorded for many uses throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, Spain and Portugal. The first Queen of England is said to have taken lavender tea for headaches, and surely it is this that carried a tradition of lavender tea throughout British history and eventually to the western world. This particular lavender comes from Provence in France, where some of the most beautiful lavender farms are cultivated. Herbalists recommend lavender to treat migraines, ease digestive spasms, and for certain respiratory problems. Lavender is also used for soothing the nervous system, insomnia and menstrual cramps. As a compress, lavender can be used as a local anesthetic, directly on a cut, bruise, sprain, or to ease bee stings. An infusion of lavender added to the bath is a pure aromatic delight!
Peppermint, or Methna piperita, is part of the vast species and cultivars of mints. Mint is mentioned in the Bible as one of the herbs used for paying taxes. It was a widely used spice in Greece and Rome for flavouring sauces and wines while nobility wore crowns of mint on their heads. The Japanese carried small silver boxes of peppermint that hung from their belts. It wasn’t until 1696 that peppermint was first described by English botanist, John Ray, that the herb became popular in Britain. The plant grows up to 3ft in height and is renowned for its distinct aroma we all know as the smell of peppermint. In Britain, peppermint tea is known as a cure-all. It is taken to ward off or lessen colds, chest congestion, nasal congestion. It is used for headaches, as a tea as well as a compress. As an inhalant, a peppermint infusion eases laryngitis or bronchitis. Other ailments soothed by peppermint tea include nervous tension, stress, seasickness, nausea, toothaches and cavities.
Gynostemma is a herbaceous vine of the same family of plants as cucumbers and melons, indigenous to the southern China, southern Korea and Japan. It is known as jiaogulan by the Chinese and practitioners of TCM regard gynostemma as an “immortality herb”. The plant possesses leaves that most often are divided into 5 leaflets, and consequently, the Chinese regard the gynostemma herb as being a potent balancing agent of the 5 major body systems: cardiovascular, digestive, immune, nervous and reproductive systems. It is for this reason, that gynostemma is said to contribute to optimum well-being and longevity. Gynostemma is widely consumed in Southern China for energy and long life. It is an adaptogen (helps increase the body’s resistance to stress by gently restoring its balance) and an antioxidant. It also contains amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. It is increasingly a popular herb for cardiovascular health.
Linden or Tilia platypylla is from the Tiliacea (Tilia) family. About 30 species of Linden trees exist and they can grow to 130ft in height. The yellowish-white, five petal Linden flowers make one of the most popular herbal tisanes in Europe. Linden flowers contain Vitamin C, manganese, volatile oil (farnesol), flavonoids (hesperidin, quercetin, kaempferol, astralagin), mucilage, phenolic acids (chlorogenic, caffeic), tannins. The infusion has a fragrant, jasmine-like aroma and a sweet, pungent flavor. It promotes warming and drying effects that are said to move stagnant energy, supporting rest and calm. Linden flowers are believed to heal blood vessel walls, while its high mucilage content soothes respiratory passageways. As such, it is often brewed to support the following: anxiety, arteriosclerosis, asthma, respiratory infection, colds, cough, sore throat, fever flu, headache, cholesterol, hypertension, indigestion, insomnia, migraine, pain, stress. As a bath herb it has been used to calm restless children.
Rooibos (pronounced Roo-ih-bus), or Aspalathus linearis, is a member of the pea family. This South African plant grows primarily in the Cedar Mountains of Cape Province. Rooibos has grown quickly in popularity and been revered in recent years as one of the healthiest drink alternatives, as it is high in vitamins and minerals: beta-carotene, vitamin C, E, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc, superoxide dismutase, flavonoids (aspalathin, quercetin, rutin, luteolin, catechin, vitexin), caffeic acid, ferulic acid, polysaccharides, oligosaccharides. Enjoyed in South Africa for centuries, rooibos was first made available to Westerners by a Russian émigré named Benjamin Ginsberg. He recognized that its beneficial properties and wonderful taste made it an excellent caffeine free alternative to traditional caffeinated teas. Naturally caffeine-free, rooibos is often used to benefit an array of conditions, including: allergies (including milk allergy), anemia, asthma, colic, constipation, cramps, depression, diarrhea, eczema, hay fever, headache, hypertension, indigestion, insomnia, memory, nausea, nervousness, skin irritation, ulcers, vomiting. Rooibos has a peasant earthy taste, somewhat similar to black tea, with slight citrus notes, and is considered ‘cooling and drying’ to the body.
Honeybush, similar to Rooibos, is another herb that is unique to the mountain regions of the Cape, in South Africa. This delicious and fragrant infusion has hints of honey (hence its name) and is prepared form the flowers and leaves of the cyclopia species. Indigenous peoples of South Africa have been harvesting Honeybush for hundreds of years in order to drink it’s health benefits. Containing vitamin C, flavonones, and xanthone mangiferin (which have antioxidant properties), honeybush tea also has the essential minerals calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, nitrogen, potassium, and zinc. In addition, Honeybush tea is known to have numerous other health benefits: it is naturally caffeine-free, low in tannin, stimulates milk production in nursing mothers, acts as an expectorant and an antioxidant, possesses antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, and heals minor skin ailments. Honeybush tea is known to soothe the central nervous system and thus highly recommended for those people suffering from insomnia, irritability, nervous tension, minimal to mild depression, and headaches. Drinking honeybush tea has been suggested as beneficial for people with breast, prostate, and uterine cancer, as well as reducing the risk of osteoporosis. The low tannin content in honeybush tea makes it a good choice for people with digestive or cardiac related health issues, where caffeine and tannins should be avoided. Mothers of infants and toddlers give honeybush tea to relieve colic, sore throat, and stomach cramps.
Guayusa (pronounced WHY-YOU-SUH), or Ilex guayusa, is a unique member of the holly family and grows in the mountains of Ecuador where the Andes meet the Amazon. Communities throughout the Amazon have used guayusa for thousands of years as a delicious source of natural energy and nutrition. Guayusa’s unique balance of caffeine, antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids makes it perpetually central to morning rituals throughout the Amazon. Guayusa contains a diverse combination of both energizing and healthful compounds. It contains less caffeine than coffee and possibly more antioxidants and polyphenols than some teas. Plus, guayusa boasts an impressive array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids – including theanine – the powerful amino acid we love in tea that is responsible for calming the nervous system and supporting brain health. This unique balance of elements creates a balanced energy, without the crashes or jitters caused by other brews. Unlike its cousin, yerba mate, guayusa does not contain tannic acid which gives mate its bitter aftertaste. Fun fact: Indigenous elders believed that drinking guayusa during the day would sharpen senses during hunting, and following at night, it’s effect would produce lucid dreaming and increase one’s overall connection with nature. .
NOTE: The statements contained in this document have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the Canadian Food Inspections Agency who enforces all health and safety standards under the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.