Herbal tea, also known as ‘tisane’ is an infusion of dried flowers, herbs, plant matter or spices in hot water. Its origin is believed to be China and is widely appreciated for its noted medicinal benefits.

A brief history of herbal tea

According to Chinese legend, tea was discovered by the remarkable emperor and herbalist, Shennong in 2737 BCE. One day, whilst resting, he noticed dried leaves falling into the boiling water he was drinking from. Curiously, he decided to drink it and found it to be incredibly refreshing. In his medical publications, he summarises tea being good for tumours and abscesses, thirst and inflammation of the chest; also noting the infusion’s psychological benefits of ‘cheering the heart’. Since then, Japan, the US and Europe have evolved different forms of tea ceremony’s for gathering rituals. The first samples of tea arrived at England between 1652-1654 and became an instant hit amongst royal aristocracy. Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) began inviting friends to a late-afternoon gathering involving the consumption small cakes, sandwiches and tea to beat the ‘sinking feeling’ she often felt towards the end of the day. The practice soon caught on, leading to a great mass of tea gardens, tea shops and tea gardens in the country. The tax on tea became so high at one point, that the black market began selling it cheaper for those that could not afford to buy it legally. 

How to prepare herbal tea

The preparation of herbal tea is a simple practice. It involves mixing dried flowers, plants or roots with hot, boiling water and leaving to infuse for a few minutes. It can be strained and sweetened. It is considered that material plant matter offers a richer quality than a plain, old tea bag. 

Benefits of herbal tea

Most herbal teas offer a stimulant or sedative effect, in some cases and halogenic effect. Such medicinal effects have remained controversial and are often debated, despite numerous of studies spanning over thousands of years. Even countries like the US prevents tea companies from stating possible medicinal benefits to using their products, in advertising. Particular types of plants and flowers offer a variety of different benefits. For example, chamomile is considered a sedative tea, known for relieving back pain, rheumatism and muscle spasms whilst ginger tea reduces nausea and inflammation and improving the digestive system. Rosemary tea is specifically good for boosting circulation and memory and is known for relieving joint pain and headaches. For more information on herbal teas and their benefits click here.Benefits of drinking peppermint tea2/3

To date, the British remain the largest tea consumers in the world and the preferred choice tends to be green, peppermint or chamomile tea. The simple practice of preparing and drinking tea has adapted well to the busy pace of modern day life and enables us to work freely whilst relishing in a relaxing but stimulating activity. Whether its green tea or lemon and ginger you choose, there is a large variety of flavours and benefits to suit just about anyone.

Park Street Clinic have a selection of herbal teas to choose from when you come for your appointment, available upon request.

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