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Steeped in the History of Herbal Teas

published on April 28th, 2008 . by admin

hrough history, herbs have played an important part in all developing civilizations of the world. Ancient writings tell us of the use of herbs as food, medicine and even dye for fabrics, but one of the most enduring and well known uses for herbs is that of tea. No one really knows the beginnings of herbal teas. Their existence goes back before the time of written history.

Long before the Dutch arrived in Europe with the first black tea in 1610, herbal teas, known there as tisanes, were widely used, not only for their medicinal properties, but as a daily beverage as well. And today in Hong Kong teas are gaining in popularity, surpassing that of beer for spectators of the ever popular Worlds Cup soccer games. It is believed that herbal tea cools the body and leaves one feeling less tired during the day. The drink is so popular in fact that herbal tea was named part of China’s ‘National Intangible Cultural Heritage’ in May 2006.

When Tea is Not a Tea

But when it comes to defining herbal tea, it would seem that it is not actually tea as we know it but an infusion made from any plant other than the Camelia Sinensis or tea bush. Herbal teas are made from leaves, roots, seeds or flowers with boiling water poured over them and steeping for a given length of time just as you would when making any tea. The liquid is then strained and served often with natural sweeteners. Popular examples of herbs used in making an infusion or tea are mint and chamomile.

A number of these teas have medical or other health benefits associated with them. There are teas or herbal infusions for weight loss, digestion aids, the common cold, headaches, as well as a number of other symptoms and because the various herbs can be combined there are an endless number of herbal teas to meet every health and dietary issue.

The Benefits of Herbal Brews

Many of these teas have very familiar names, one of the most well known being chamomile. It is a plant with tiny daisy like flowers and these blossoms, along with the plant are used to make an herbal tea that has been used for centuries to relieve ailments such as rheumatism, back pain and insomnia.

Another very simple herbal tea is rosehip. Rosehips are the round seed pods that form at the base of the rose and once the rose is gone these will ripen into bright red orbs chock full of vitamin C. They are used alone or in blends with other herbs to make an herbal tea rich in antioxidants.

One of the nice benefits with teas is that if you are trying to cut down on caffeine, herbal teas are not actually made using the tea leaf so these brews are caffeine free. So next time you

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