We got a good understanding about teas and tisanes from Part 1 of this story, so here we will be continuing to explore other botanicals and their health benefits as promised from these potions. These aromatic tisanes not only offer hordes of benefits but are palate-pleasing and soothing elixirs.
Fennel has a history leading back to the ancient times where the Greek, Prometheus, stole fire from the gods and brought it to mankind concealed in stalks of fennel. It is one of the nine sacred herbs mentioned in the medical compilation Lacnunga by the Anglo-Saxons in the 10th century. It was believed to ward off evil when enwrapped over doorways during the summer solstice in the middle ages. In some Asian cultures, fennel was consumed to expel poisons from the body. In Indian households, fennel, also called saunf is taken after a meal as a mouth freshener.
Helps in weight loss
Fennel seeds have a long-standing history as an appetite-curbing food when it was used in the 1200s in England as an appetite suppressant taken on fasting days. A Korean study has now shown its ability to do the same. As the seeds of fennel are believed to have mainly fibre component, they help generate a feeling of fullness which can lead to less food intake. This could be thanks to anethole, a compound found in fennel essential oil which has been known to have appetite-suppressing qualities. But more research is needed to understand this amazing benefit of fennel seeds.
Balances hormones and eases female problems
Fennel has a reputation for healing the female reproductive organs in traditional Iranian medicine owing to its phytoestrogen compounds. These estrogen-like properties alleviate menstrual pains and balance female hormones. It not only eases PMS symptoms like anxiety and depression but also helps manage menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sleep patterns according to a review of several studies.
Treats acne and some other skin ailments
A compound called chavicol in fennel is thought to have tremendous antibacterial properties which can prevent skin ailments. An early study showed that fennel oil has equal or greater antibacterial activity than standard antibiotics. Compounds like myrcene, limonene and anethole have been known to curtail inflammation. The phytoestrogens in fennel are also responsible for anti-ageing benefits and to improve overall skin health.
Heart health benefits
According to various studies, a high-fibre diet has a positive impact leading to a reduced risk of heart disease. Knowing that fennel seeds are choke full of fibre, it certainly fits the bill to be a huge aid to overall heart health.
Nutrients like potassium, magnesium and calcium found in fennel in abundance help keep the heart healthy. Potassium which is deemed to be a vasodilator lowers the risk of stroke and heart attacks. It shows much promise in reducing high blood pressure which is much needed to manage heart issues.
Fennel is considered to be a herbal de-wormer. It detoxifies the body while increasing immunity. Its benefit to reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis and gout patients is well known. Fennel is also known for its respiratory benefits to manage cough, bronchitis and asthma in patients. Fennel tea rinse can be used to protect the eyes.
How to make:
This caffeine-free tisane should be brewed. Do not boil fennel seeds as they tend to lose their nutrients during the process.
Add 1 tsp of dried fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water.
Let it steep for about 10 minutes.
The history of rose leads us back 5000 years when it was first cultivated in China. Rose petals since then have found their rightful place in many different cultures and their cuisines. In ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, it was extremely popular to make rose oil that was used as perfume and also exploited for its many medicinal uses. In India, rose petals can be seen on many sweet meals along with its use in the cosmetic industry in the form of essential oil and rose water.
This brilliant Middle eastern tea is a concentration of vitamins A and C along with antioxidants like myrcene and quercetin. It boasts of detoxifying polyphenols that boost immunity.
Relieves menstrual discomfort and regulates hormones
Rose tea has a reputation for alleviating PMS symptoms like mood swings and anxiety while working to reduce uterine cramping. Studies into this are promising for now but more research is needed to look into this benefit at length. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to treat heavy bleeding and to manage menstrual pain.
Soothes the respiratory tract
Rose tea is an excellent alternative treatment for respiratory ailments and helps to loosen phlegm and mucus, thus preventing infections. It is known to ease symptoms of bronchitis and also to help during bouts of cold and flu.
This tisane is a powerful tool to heal digestive issues like constipation as well as diarrhoea. It basically rebalances the microflora of the digestive tract and thus reduces bloating and cramping. Its many antibacterial properties reduce the chances of any digestive tract infections. These very same benefits further lead to effective weight loss as a result of a healthy gut.
Fights infections and inflammation
The presence of vitamin C in rose tisane works on the overall immunity of the body which can further prevent infections and diseases. Its anti-inflammatory properties are increased due to the presence of antioxidants like myrcene and quercetin. Reducing inflammation directly affects in the reduction of weight as per many scientific studies.
How to make:
This caffeine-free tisane can be brewed or boiled.
Add 1 tbs of dried rose petals in a cup of boiling water.
Let it steep for 8 to 10 minutes.
Boiling from fresh petals
Add half a cup of fresh rose petals to one and a half cups of boiling water.
Boil for about 5 minutes and strain.
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, the edible variety has been used in traditional medicine in tropical regions of Asia, Australia and Africa. In India, China and Thailand it is a favoured flavour in beverages, desserts and curries. It has been used as a Brazilian folk remedy for disease management and prevention.
It is also dubbed as “fever grass” to make “fever teas” from its leaves due to its properties that help reduce fever.
Though lemongrass has been a topic for many medical studies throughout the world, its benefits need more intense research owing to its promising potential to heal and manage many health issues.
Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
The tea made from this wonder plant is packed with detoxing agents that are responsible for alleviating fluid retention. The antioxidants that may help in fighting free radicals which can reduce inflammation in our body are chlorogenic acid, swertiajaponin and isoorientin found in abundance in lemongrass.
May work as a diuretic
In alternative medicine, lemongrass is a diuretic of repute. Diuretics extend the benefit of ridding our body of excess electrolytes like sodium and also excess fluid that can cause damage to the kidneys, liver and heart.
May work to reduce anxiety
Studies done on the potency of lemongrass essential oil have shown that even brief periods of its aroma had an anxiolytic effect which could be used as potential anxiety and tension treatment. More studies into this benefit would be prudent.
Could prevent anaemia
Drinking lemongrass tea daily for 30 days could increase haemoglobin and boost the production of red blood cells, suggested a study undertaken in 2015. The researchers believe that the antioxidant property of lemongrass was responsible for this. Thus, lemongrass tisane could benefit people with anaemia.
May reduce the risk of cancer
Research has also shown lemongrass to hold promise as a potent anticancer plant. Various compounds found in lemongrass, especially citral is studied carefully to see its ability to fight against cancer cells, either through boosting the immune system or by causing cell death.
In some cases, under the guidance of an oncologist, lemongrass tea is used alongside chemotherapy and radiation.
A new study also shows that lemongrass has antitumor properties which can help diminish bladder cancer cells.
Of course, more research into these properties would not only be prudent but also extremely beneficial to the future of cancer medicine.
Lemongrass is used to reduce harmful bacteria from our body, helps reduce aches and pain and also relieves some digestive disorders.
How to make:
This caffeine-free tisane can be boiled
Cut lemongrass leaves into 1 -1 ½ inch, wash, place in a bag and refrigerate.
Add about 20-25 small pieces into 2 cups of boiling water.
Continue boiling for about 15 minutes and strain.
Word of caution:
While herbs as a supplement are likely to be safe for most people, you should ask your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you have any chronic medical conditions or are on medications or treatments.
Article by Payal Kurian