By Jackie Leavitt
Staring at a grocery store's wall of teas can be intimidating. There are so many options to scan before picking the one you will eventually ring through at the register. And every one has a different purpose, from soothing your throat to helping you lose weight to just tasting pretty darn good. Having recently been sick with a combination of allergies (due to the move cross country - there are so many new plants out here!) and what I assume is the common cold, instead of going out to buy a few teas for all my ailments, I concocted my own (ginger, garlic, rosemary, tumeric, oregano, plus a little local honey).
Making your own tea is surprisingly simple - it’s like making a soup, really. You just take a whole bunch of ingredients, chop them up, throw it all into a boiling pot of water for five to ten minutes, then strain the flavored water into your favorite mug.
The only thing you need to figure out is what ingredients you need. So based on my research, here are some of the most helpful tea ingredients (all found in your local health food store) to combat any ailments you might experience.
1. Ginger - Anti-viral. Containing nearly a dozen antiviral compounds, it is also pain-relieving, antiseptic, and antioxidant. Helps prevent and treats colds, sore throats, and inflamation of mucus membranes. It also reduces pain and fever and has a mild sedative effect that encourages rest.
2. Echinacea (leaves and flower petals) - Anti-bacterial. Increases levels of properdin, a chemical that activates part of the immune system responsible for increasing defence mechanisms against viral and bacterial attacks.
3. Garlic - Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal. Contains several helpful immune-boosting compounds, including allicin, a potent, natural antibiotic. Best used raw.
4. Goldenseal - Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal. It is both antiseptic and immune stimulating, increasing blood supply to the spleen. The chemical berberine in goldenseal activates white blood cells that destruct bacteria, fungi, viruses, and tumour cells.
5. Sage - Antiseptic, anti-bacterial. Sooths sore throats, promotes good digestion, and helps ease menstrual cramps.
6. Peppermint - It is not only a painkiller for headaches and reduces fevers by inducing sweating and cooling of the body, but it helps bring up mucus and other material from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea during bronchitis, colds, and the flu.
7. Blackberry (leaves or fruit) - The fruit is very rich in vitamin C, and the leaves can be used in teas.
8. Cinnamon - Anti-bacterial, antiviral, antifungal. Helps stop vomiting and relieve nausea, and increases restricted blood flow.
9. Clove - Antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory. Helps fight infection and ease pain.
10. Lemon - Another rich source of vitamin C, squeeze some into your tea.
11. Chamomile - Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory. Natural sedative.
12. Lemongrass - Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, antifungal. Relieves digestive ailments and fluid retention, improves blood circulation, and dilates blood vessels.
13. Oregano - A general tonic and immune booster.
14. Rosemary - Antibacterial, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antifungal. Good for the nerves and has a stimulating effect.
15. Tumeric - Antioxident, anti-imflammatory, antifungal, and anticancer. It is a blood purifier, and helps lower blood sugar levels.
About Jackie Leavitt
Jackie Leavitt is a traveler with a passion for writing. Or a writer with a passion for travel. She currently lives in San Francisco, pursuing both loves and dabbling in other interests, including yoga, cooking, rock climbing, running, latte art, photography, and painting. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with B.A.s in Journalism and European Culture Studies, and after working behind a desk as an editor for 16 months, she moved to the West Coast to involve herself more in her life passions.