The Benefits of Tea: 28 Important Teas to Drink for Optimal Health
Tea drinkers, rejoice!
Tea glorious tea, for centuries it has been the drink of choice. From queens and royal dignitaries in England to emperors and warriors in China, and everyday workers in India – tea has seemingly been with us since the beginning of time. It’s popularity shows no slowing in pace as even to this very day, half the US population puts the kettle on and curls up to enjoy a moment drinking tea.
Tea isn’t just a single entity, there are tons of different flavor profiles, types, and herbal tisanes out there. There’s the five traditional teas that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, all processed in different ways to bring out different notes, and then there’s the herbal teas that come from flowers, herbs, and spices and each bring their own tasty healing benefits to the party.
Beyond the preference for sleepy chamomile over the zesty and bright red rooibos, each tea comes with its own glut of health benefits too. Tea can be truly good for you. From black tea with its antioxidant riches to peppermint with its soothing stomach abilities and ginger with its glorious talent for fighting nausea, let’s take a deeper dive into all the beautiful benefits of tea.
Health benefits of tea
More than just an afternoon pick me up or the centerpiece of cultural routines, tea consumption can also bring a whole host of health benefits. Whether your brew of choice is traditional black tea or if you prefer to sip green tea or go for a herbal tisane, just a cup or two per day can deliver so much goodness to your body. Tea comes loaded with antioxidants and compounds like polyphenols and catechins that can fend off free radicals and reduce the risks of chronic diseases. Many tea leaves also come stuffed full of vitamins and minerals along with anti-inflammatory properties and immune system boosters. Here are just some areas where tea can lend a healing hand.
There has been some research into tea and diabetes and the results have shown that certain kinds of tea can help to keep blood sugar under control. As blood sugar can be a contributing factor to type 2 diabetes it stands to reason that drinking tea can do more good than harm.
Keep your ticker healthy by sipping a cup of tea. Thanks to black teas impact on lowering cholesterol levels and helping with weight loss, this means that tea has every chance at keeping cardiovascular disease at bay.
For those looking for small ways to fight unwanted obesity, tea can contribute to the answer. Often low in calories and handy at stimulating metabolism, the mix of caffeine and catechins can also contribute to weight loss.
More research needs to be done when it comes to tea and cancer prevention claims but studies have shown that the certain teas contain antioxidants that are good at fighting free radicals and reducing the risk of certain cancer types.
Made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, there are a handful of teas that come with caffeine content. Tea rarely has the same level of caffeine as you can find in coffee but even with its lighter touch, a couple cups of tea can be an awesome pick me up. Caffeine may get a bad rap but it can also be good for you too (in moderation of course). Caffeine tea can improve brain function, encourage metabolism, reduce the risk of stroke, and grant you higher energy levels too. Let’s take a look at the most popular caffeinated teas out there…
1) Black tea
The OG of all teas, black tea comes with the highest caffeine content but that doesn’t take away from its health benefits thanks to a whole of antioxidants called flavonoids. Black tea is made with the fermented leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant and along with being a drink in its own right, it also forms the base for many other teas like chai.
2) Green tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest teas you can sip thanks to its super high levels of EGCG. Made from the steamed leaves of the tea plant, green tea doesn’t undergo oxidation which brings a delicate taste, gentle color, and glut of goodness. Green tea extract is so awesome for your body it is even considered to be part of the superfood group and is commonly used in health and beauty products too.
3) Oolong tea
Say ooh to oolong tea. This ancient healing tea is partially fermented and said to be the wine of the tea world thanks to its careful harvesting methods and its changing tasting notes. They even have festivals for this tea! Oolong tea has been the center of many animal studies as scientists work out how this tea helps us thanks to its antioxidant qualities and other health benefits.
Benefits: Antioxidants that the immune system, lowers the risk of stroke, improves sleep, helps inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, helps fight cancer, elevates mood, and improves brain performance.
4) White tea
One of the most delicate of the tea varieties, white tea has barely any processing and is left to thrive in its fabulous natural state. Plucked only when the tea plant has fully opened its leaves and the bright young buds still have their fine white hairs, white tea is oxidized a lot less than the green or black tea variety. Because of minimal processing, white tea is rich in antioxidants and can help with chronic inflammation and a whole heap of other health issues too. White tea is considered a delicacy, thanks to its careful processing and its array of aromas and tasting notes too.
5) Earl Grey tea
The delicate citrus and bergamot notes of Earl Grey tea make it a super sophisticated drink to sip. Loved by the aristocrats, Earl Grey is a quintessential English tea made with a black tea base and added hints of bergamot orange from the sunny shores of Italy. Along with being utterly divine it also comes loaded with a heap of health benefits too.
6) Chai tea
A spicy and scented tea that kickstarted life in India, chai is Ayurvedic medicine for the body, mind, and soul. Sold on every street corner in India, this tea comes with a black tea base and a whole host of spices to lift the flavor (and boost your health too). From cardamom to ginger and turmeric, saffron, nutmeg and cloves, chai tea is forever a soothing sip that your body is sure to love.
7) Thai tea
Ceylon tea, milk and sugar come together to create the delicious treat that is Thai tea. Often served over ice to celebrate those tropical roots, one sip is enough to transport you to the beach. There are many ways to put your stamp on this tea – serve it with coconut milk, add some orange blossom water or spiky star anise, or swap out Ceylon for Assam. Thai tea often looks to be a vibrant shade of orange or yellow and despite its loud appearance and sweet side, it does come with a handful of health benefits too.
Benefits: Antioxidants, may reduce cancer risk, contributes to healthy blood vessels, stimulates energy levels.
8) Matcha tea
Vibrant green and always a firm favorite in the Japanese tea ceremony, matcha tea has been around for centuries. It is said to be the brew sipped by samurai warriors and monks, thanks to the stillness it brings to the body and mind. Matcha is made from the same Camellia Sinensis plant as green tea but instead uses the whole of the plant. Even more of the leaf means even more nutrients, antioxidants, and endless health benefits.
9) Pu-erh tea
A unique fermented tea with leaves that are often pressed into ‘cakes’, Pu-erh tea is made from the Chinese ‘wild old tea’. This is a tea that is carefully aged and processed in a way that gives it a truly unique flavor and keeps all those micronutrients as steady as can be. Some Pu-erh tea varieties can even be aged for 15-20 years in an effort to reach that long drawn out and complex flavor. Because the tea leaves are fermented it comes with a wide range of health benefits and studies have shown it is beneficial to lowering LDL cholesterol levels among other things.
Also called Yerba tea, Mate is a popular South American style of tea that is considered to be as stimulating as coffee, as delicious as chocolate, and as beneficial as a cup of tea. This drink is made from the harvested leaves of the llex paraguariensis plant which is similar to the holly species. It’s a tea that gifts you a glorious energy boost and has a smoky sweet taste. While it does deliver a dose of energy it also comes with health benefits and a whole heap of antioxidants too.
11) Yellow tea
Sunshine in a cup! Yellow tea is one of the worlds most expensive teas thanks to its regal roots, rare taste, and truly remarkable aroma. This tea also comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but the difference in yellow tea is the extra step of encasing and steaming that gives it that silky smooth taste. Whereas green tea has a grassy taste and black tea an earthy lilt, yellow tea is as delicate as can be. It also comes loaded with health benefits and is plump with polyphenols.
12) Sencha green tea
Japan’s favorite freshest green tea, Sencha is steamed from green tea leaves and has a delicate reedy and grassy taste and aroma. Its coloring is vibrant green and it comes loaded with antioxidants (especially catechins) thanks to the way it is picked and processed. The leaves are picked, steamed quickly to lock in that color and flavor, and the tea isn’t allowed to oxidize. The leaves are then rolled and shaped and dried. Sencha is sublime and its no wonder it has such strong cultural roots.
13) Jasmine tea
A fantasy floral tea, jasmine is pure joy. This tea became popular back in the days of the Ming Dynasty before making its way to Europe in the 19th century. A botanical blend of jasmine and tea leaves are blended together to make this dreamy brew. As the name suggests, jasmine tea is delicate, subtle, and slightly sweet. It also comes with a fluttering of health benefits for those who want to sip something that will bring them strength.
14) Purple tea/Butterfly tea
As pretty as a picture, this tea that originated from Southeast Asia is every bit as beautiful as the name suggests. Sometimes called purple tea and other times known as butterfly tea, the name pays homage to the bright coloring of this magical seeming brew. Made from the Clitoria ternatea plant, butterfly tea is actually a tisane. At first the tea is blue but add a squeeze of lemon and it turns deep purple. More than just a pretty face, this tea also comes with a bounty of health benefits.
If you are looking for a brew with less caffeine, then these herbal teas and tisanes could be just the brew for you. Nature comes loaded with a whole host of hidden medicines in the form of plants, flowers, spices, roots, and herbs. By turning them into teas, you can heal a wide range of health conditions and fall head over heels for these dreamy and delicious natural teas…
15) Chamomile tea
The daisy like white and yellow flowers of chamomile tea add color and comfort to the delicate and dreamy herbal tea. Made from dried chamomile flowers, the healing nature of this tea goes all the way back to ancient Egypt. Super soothing and commonly used in skincare thanks to its healing properties, chamomile is a beautiful bedtime brew.
16) Rooibos tea
Grown in South Africa and the color of deep red, rooibos tea is all earthly flavors, low tannins, and lush health benefits. Also known as red bush tea, rooibos brings a heady dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant rich polyphenols to the table. Warm in color and in nature, its delicious with a splash of milk, hint of honey, or a cut of lemon.
17) Peppermint tea
A favorite refresher, peppermint tea is sipped around the world – from the mountains of Morocco to the medicine cupboards of Asia. Plucked from the peppermint plant or made from black tea with added peppermint oil to the brew, this tea is well known for its soothing digestive properties and its fresh and minty taste.
18) Ginger tea
Warming in every way, ginger tea is a zesty spiced brew made from the famed ginger root. Ginger has always been a firm fave when it comes to herbal remedies, and by adding it to tea you can sip away and get loaded up on vitamin C and enjoy gingers powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This tea is a known anti-nausea treatment and a favorite for pregnant people suffering from morning sickness.
19) Turmeric tea
Golden and warm, turmeric makes for an amazing latte, a cozy winter curl up brew, and also an incredibly healing cup of tea. Turmeric powder has been used as a healing tonic for over 2500 years thanks to its seemingly endless list of magic properties. Turmeric tea is full of anti-inflammatory properties and also known to help give your immune system a mega boost making this golden milk one of our favorite tisanes for when we want to feel fine.
Benefits: Immune boosting, powerful anti-inflammatory, helps IBS, can help prevent Alzheimer’s, can combat arthritis, protects from liver damage, helps manage lung ailments, can prevent heart disease.
20) Boba tea
The ever-popular Taiwanese tea has made its way across the world thanks to its fun edge and those endlessly pretty tapioca pearls. Also known as bubble tea or pearl milk tea, this colorful concoction usually consists of a creamy milky tea and chewy sweet tapioca pearls. But boba tea is all about breaking boundaries, it can be made with taro, fruit, jelly, and a whole host of different milk bases. When it comes to boba you better be feeling creative. Just because its bright and fun doesn’t mean it has no health benefits, this tea can actually be gorgeously good for you.
21) Hibiscus tea
Call in the healing nature of flower power with bright and zesty hibiscus tea. This deep red tea comes with a tart flavor and is also delicious when served over ice for a summer special. Not only is hibiscus super refreshing and sippable but it also an amazing healing tonic for the body and has been used as a remedy against fever and other ailments since Ancient Egypt. From reducing blood pressure to aiding weight loss, there’s a lot to love about hibiscus tea.
22) Chrysanthemum tea
Bustling and bright, Chrysanthemums can be found across the globe lining pretty flower beds. Their petals can be picked and turned into tea bringing a gentle golden hue and light honey sweet flavor to any brew. Completely edible, you often see this flower adorning salads and gourmet plates too. Not only is Chrysanthemum here to light up your day, but for centuries it has been used as a traditional Chinese medicine for clearing energy channels, reducing fever, and relieving all kinds of aches and pains.
23) Dandelion tea
The darling dandelion root with its bright petals and chunky stalks grow like wildfire across the shores of North America and Europe. So much more than a weed, the dandelion is edible and can also be plucked and turned into delicious tea. Known for its floral flavor and honeyed yellow hue, dandelion tea is delicious, easy to make, and has a surprising number of health benefits.
24) Licorice tea
The word licorice comes from the Greek for sweet root and this is exactly the treat you get when you sit down to sip a cup of licorice tea. From toothpaste to tobacco, licorice root has such a striking flavor that people love to add it to just about anything. Licorice tea may be sweeter than sugar but it is so much better for you. This tea comes loaded with goodness and help with everything from soothing a sore throat to helping settle stomach issues too.
25) Nettle leaf tea
While you may associate nettles with their childhood stings, this plant can pack a punch in a way that doesn’t need to leave you with welts. The nettle leaf is totally misunderstood! This brew can be pure magic for your body. Nettle leaf tea is a great tonic and also said to be awesome when it comes to needing a good detox drink to pick you up from that hangover. Not only is it laced with vitamins and delicate to sip but it also can help with everything from circulation to fertility.
26) Spearmint tea
Slightly sweeter than your usual mint, spearmint is one of those bright and beautifully fresh tastes that cleanses the palate in a single swoop. With a nasal clearing fragrance and a whole glut of health benefits, this spear shaped leaf is lush in tea. From calming upset stomachs to helping with hormone imbalances, spearmint tea is a truly healthy and harmonious sip-worthy trip.
27) Mother's milk tea
As the name suggests, this tea takes its name from a list of ingredients that are blended together to help stimulate lactation. The main ingredient in mothers milk tea is fenugreek, but the tea also comes loaded up with earthy fennel, sweet anise, spiced coriander, and thistle too. While more studies need to be done it is believed that fenugreek encourages the body to produce more milk which can be beneficial to new mothers who may be struggling to meet demand.
Benefits: Rich in minerals, can encourage lactation, may help with postpartum depression.
28) Lavender tea
One of the most romantic and fragrant floral herbs, Lavender is all pretty Provencal days and hints of rosemary and mint. Lavender is used in a whole number of ways – from helping heal skin issues to soothing frayed nerves, Lavender is always a lush choice in cosmetics, essential oils, culinary treats, and of course when brewing tea. Lavender tea is a tonic for the soul and can help heal everything from sleep disorders to period pains.
Side effects of too much tea
For all those tea lovers out there who can’t get enough of the luscious brew, we invite you to take a look at some of the suggested side-effects that could occur for those who may be overindulging in the art of tea. While tea is often safe to drink, having more than the recommended daily amount could lead to the following side-effects…
- Reduced iron absorption
- Lack of sleep
- Caffeine dependance
With all these teas to work through it could be time to put your kettle and cup to good use. Drinking tea can open up a whole world of health benefits, not just in terms of keeping you flushed and hydrated and boosting your immunity, but also when it comes to specific health conditions too. Whatever area of health you want to heal, take a look at what tea can do and raise a cup of this cultural drink that has been connecting continents for centuries.