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The Right Brew for You

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To
put it simply a tea is “only a true tea” if it actually contains tea plant
leaves. This is why oolong, white, green and black are considered “true teas,”
as their leaves come from the actual tea plant named
camellia sinensis. Rooibos and herbal teas do not contain leaves
from the tea plant. The French use the word
tisane,
which is a little more accurate, since herbal tea is really just an infusion of
leaves, seeds, roots or bark, extracted in hot water. In drinking a
well-steeped herbal tea, we get all the plant’s benefits in an easily
digestible form.

 

MANY
CHOICES

There
are so many wonderful herbal teas on the market, so when it comes to choosing one,
it’s important to look for a well-sourced product made from high-quality
natural ingredients and which does not contain any added essential oils or
flavours! Here are a few of the most common herbal teas which can all be found
in your local supermarket, and their benefits:

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Peppermint: Peppermint
tea is recommended to relieve the symptoms of abdominal gas and bloating, and
to relieve muscle spasms. It’s also good for nausea. If indigestion or
heartburn are problems, however, it is recommended to avoid peppermint
altogether. It can be made using fresh herbs from the garden, and it is one of
the easiest herbs to grow. Peppermint is also said to cure bad breath!

 

Rooibos: Probably the
most common herbal tea in South
Africa
is the famous rooibos tea. It is high
in vitamin C as well as other minerals. An easy drinking tea, it’s largely
grown locally and has been touted for its antioxidant properties, which help
ward off disease and signs of ageing. It has also been shown to help with
common skin concerns, such as eczema.

 

Ginger: Another
great digestive aid, ginger can be used to curb nausea, vomiting or motion
sickness. Make fresh ginger tea by simmering a piece of ginger root on the
stove for 10 to 15 minutes. Add fresh lemon juice and honey when you have a
cold for a powerful germ-fighting combination. Ginger tea is also excellent for
improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion,
lung congestion and arthritis.

 

Chamomile: Chamomile has
been used in many cultures for stomach ailments and as a mild sedative.
Chamomile tea has also been shown to ease heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. A mouth rinse with chamomile may relieve mouth sores caused
by cancer treatments, and some research suggests that chamomile could help with
other conditions, like diarrhoea in children, haemorrhoids, anxiety and
insomnia. When used on the skin, chamomile helps with skin irritation and wound
healing.

 

BREW THE PERFECT CUP

When
you are making your herbal tea, use fresh, cold water. Do not use aluminium
cookware, as it can affect the taste – rather use glass, cast iron or stainless
steel, where possible. A tea strainer is very helpful, as it lets you create
your own blends of teas or herbs, and stops the leaves and flowers from
escaping into the drink.

 

Once
the water has boiled, add one heaped teaspoon of herbs for every cup of water. Cover
and let the herbs steep for ten minutes. Do not over-steep the herbs, as the
flavour may become too strong and taste more medicinal rather than pleasant. If
you want to enhance o sweeten the flavour of your tea, add honey or lemon.

Dietician’s
note:
While all
herbal teas passed by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) of South Africa
are considered as safe, always check with your doctor to ensure that what you
are consuming complements your medication and is appropriate for your health.

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