OK. Before you think I’ve gone crazy, I just want to say for the record: Coffee is amazing. But it gets a bad rap sometimes and with good reason. The spike in caffeine, excess calories if it’s a Starbucks, and the inevitable crash that follows.
It’s a new year, and I’ve started wondering if I really should scale back my coffee drinking and replace my morning joe with a cuppa herbal. Off I went to discover what herbs could give me a healthier wake-up call and a side of health benefits. The herbals listed below also caffeine-free!
A disclaimer: you can drink these teas all day long, but if you’re not drinking enough water, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly, a cup of tea isn’t going to offset the chronic fatigue. Be honest with yourself and with expectations you may have of these herbals!
peppermint: The menthol found in peppermint not only will lift your spirits up in the morning, but it will kickstart your internal organs including your digestive system. An added bonus is that your metabolism gets a jolt!
ginger: The spicy kick of ginger is perfect especially when it’s chillier outside because of the warming sensation it gives. Ginger also promotes circulation so your body can really get going in the morning. It pairs well with mint so experiment with different combinations!
stinging nettle: This rather unusual herb has the keen ability to pack in more energy than a caffeinated cup can, according to Susun Weed. To get the full benefits of the Nettle leaf, steep it overnight.
Rhodiola: this powerful little root is also known as “goldenroot”. It has an energetically bitter taste to it but it definitely wakes you up and keeps you focused. According to the AARGO, Rhodiola was taken by Russian Olympic athletes and even cosmonauts to increase physical and mental performance. I can personally recommend The Viking Moxie Tea by MoxTea. For a full review, check out what I had to say about the Viking Moxie.
Did I miss any that should’ve been on the list? Which teas do you drink for a pick-me-up?
Who doesn’t love a comforting cup of PSL in the months of October and November? Who am I kidding…we drink it earlier and earlier in the year in hopes of coaxing Autumn to arrive earlier.
But what if you don’t like coffee, or don’t want to drink the calories of a standard PSL, AND YOU LOVE TEA WAY MORE?! Try Harney’s & Sons Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Tea. Lucky for us, the H&S website says it’s available annually!
The New York-based company was started 35 years ago and is still run by the Harney family today. John Harney founded the tea company and created the coveted official line of teas requested by the Historic Royal Palaces of England.
The Pumpkin Spice HRP was an impulse buy on my part as I was literally in line at a Starbucks for a PSL. I’ve tried this tea now both hot and iced and it did well tempting some Fall weather to grace our presence here in Florida!
Aroma: 7/10 cloves and cinnamon are the first thing to hit the nose when opening the tea can. When steeping, an earthy and almost vegetal aroma from the Rooibos dominates the nose, followed by the cinnamon
Appearance: 7/10 If someone took pumpkin pie filling and liquified it, that’s exactly what the tea looks! It doesn’t brew cloudy so you can see the bottom of your teacup.
Flavor: 4/10 Very earthy taste, hits the lateral edges of the tongue. The notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg don’t shine as much as the Rooibos. Although it’s a much milder tea and not very spicy. May taste better with a splash of milk and a touch of sugar to make your own PST!
Color: 7/10 deep reddish brown with an orange-y edge, almost copper-like.
Benefits: 6/10 Aside from the beneficial Autumnal hug you get from sipping this tea during this time of year, there are some health benefits to consider: Cinnamon has stimulating benefits for circulation and energy. It also fights chills and warms the body. Rooibos may help with lowering blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Overall Experience: 6/10 A little underwhelmed with the taste of the tea on its own. This may be a better experience if you turn it into your own PST by adding milk of your choice and a sweetener to taste.
I hope that wherever you are, you can enjoy the comforts of Autumn with this tea and experiment whipping up a PST or pairing it with a wonderful scone or savory meal with squash and sage.
Fennel tea doesn’t seem like the common kind of teas we get at a tea room, or Starbucks. But if you get your hands on this puppy, you’ll be in for a surprise!
I grew up on Fennel tea in Brazil (it’s called Erva Doce in Portuguese…literally, sweet herb) and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s very calming like chamomile, has a lot of digestive benefits like peppermint and it’s so naturally sweet, you don’t need to add anything to it.
Fennel is a bulb vegetable that belongs to the carrot family. It grow feathery dill-like leaves and yellowish umbrella-shaped little flowers. the seeds look like teeny tiny, thin, ribbed pistachios. That’s the best I can think of!
Warning: If you’re allergic to carrots or celery, don’t drink this tea. Proceed at your own discretion.
We’re about the get a little technical here, so if you’re looking for an overview, skip down below. But if I’ve intrigued your inner chemistry nerd, then let’s go:
Anethole is a compound essential oil found in Anise and Fennel (it’s also one of the main ingredients in Absinthe and found in ouzo. Opa!).
I actually had a hard time figuring out if Erva Doce was Fennel or Anise. Even Google Translate couldn’t figure it out. I had to look up the Latin. Oy.
(Left is Fennel Seed, Right is Aniseed)
Believe or not, Fennel and Aniseed are keenly similar in both taste and the look of the seed. Fennel is not as strong as Anise, however. You could see why one would get easily confused!
Found primarily in the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian regions, the Fennel has been naturalized in many parts of the world. It thrives in drier soil in sub-tropical climates.
Fun Fact: the name “Marathon” comes from the greek word for fennel!
sweet, chamomile-like but more grassy than earthy. Extremely similar in both look and taste to Anise.
rich in manganese, calcium and iron
cleanses the digestive system, blood, kidneys, urinary system
relieves fluid retention, bloating
Fennel tea is most popularly made from the seed. That’s the only one I’ve tried, although I’ve seen recipes for fennel tea that use the leaves and the bulb itself.
Drink Fennel seed tea for its healing benefits but also can be used for topical treatments and a cotton ball compress for the eyes and a gargle for gum health and bad breath.
ready-made tea: pour freshly boiled water into your mug of choice and pop in your tea bag. Steep for a couple of minutes depending on your taste. Enjoy!
fennel seeds: crush a teaspoon of Fennel Seeds in a mortar and pestle for each cup of tea, depending on how strong you like your tea. Pop your fennel seeds into a tea infuser or strainer and pour freshly boiled water over the fennel seeds. Steep for a couple of minutes and remove seeds. Enjoy!
Fennel Seed tea may not be the most popular tea at a local grocery store, but if you haven’t tried it yet, I urge to find some! whether you buy ready made teas in-store or online…or even make it yourself with the seeds!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tea feature on one of my favorite simple teas!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
…and indeed it was!
I wasn’t really sure where to begin my new blog. where does one start?!
I thought about pulling a Frauline Maria and “start at the very beginning” and go through the Do-Re-Mi’s of teas, but that sounded a bit too predictable.
In the meantime, I had been battling a suffocating cold since New Year’s Day that hindered both my breathing and my thinking. Two days and nearly a whole bottle of Theraflu later, it was getting worse.
I’ve GOT to do something else…
I’m not even sure (#1) what triggered the thought, and (#2) why I didn’t think of it before, but I was a the grocery store picking up dog food and stopped by the tea and coffee aisle like I religiously do EVERY time I’m there. I rummage through a couple of boxes of tea and finally decide on the Echinacea Plus tea from Traditional Medicinals. It was worth a shot! If it doesn’t work, at least I’ve got more delicious tea to steep and sip!
I’m not kidding you when I tell you this. I drank 1 cup and a half that afternoon and my coworkers were already commenting that I sounded better! By the next day, the cold was 90% gone.
(Just to clear the air, I bought my teas with my own money, this is not sponsored or a colab. It’s my personal experience and research I did! OK? OK!)
Here’s the scoop on Echinacea, tea lovers:
Echinacea, or purple coneflower, is a plant native to North America and found mostly in rocky prairie-like areas. the above-ground plant is mostly used for medicinal purposes, although the roots also have health benefits as well. Echinacea has immune-boosting properties and commonly used in pill form, extracts, syrups and you’ve guessed it, TEA!
Now, let’s get really nerdy:
Out of the several species of echinacea, Echinacea Purpurea is the one that is commonly used and found in teas, supplements, and tinctures. There are certain polysaccharides within the echinacea plant that boosts our immune systems, and is a short-term treatment for upper respiratory infections.
According to the university of Maryland Medical Center, “a review of 14 clinical trials found that echinacea reduced the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1 to 4 days.” Essentially, the polysaccharides in Echinacea increase white cell production to fight off viruses!
Let’s replace the lab coat for an apron and go into the ways that we can use Echinacea at home:
TEA: I used the Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus (I’m not endorsed by them. I just picked them because they are US-based, organic, and non-GMO verified.)
Tinctures, syrups, extracts or drops: I have not personally tried these before but in my research, I read a lot of positive reviews about the health benefits to using drops and tinctures. If anyone is interested, I’m planning on creating a DIY Echinacea tincture!
Pills: You can also buy over-the-counter Echinacea pills, but I also haven’t personally tried these. Just word to the wise: Most standard supplements will claim to have echinacea, in reality have less than 10% echinacea and the rest is filler. So, do your research before purchasing!
Keep in mind that when you’re buying anything that you’re going to ingest, please make sure that you’re buying good quality ingredients. PLEASE check with a doctor before taking anything, as I’m not a medical expert or doctor.
BUUUUUT…..since I’m primarily focusing on herbal teas and have personally tried the Echinacea tea, that is what I’d recommend next time you’re feeling a little under the weather and need to kick that cold to the curb! Go for high quality loose leaf echinacea tea (fresh from our garden is ideal!) and natural/ organic topical products.
I’m actually thinking of planting some Echinacea plants as part of my herbal tea journey!
Thank you for stopping by my humble herbal tea blog! It means the world to me that you stopped by, enjoyed a cuppa and accompanied me through my Echinacea journey….although, something tells me that this won’t be the last time Echinacea makes an appearance!
Hello tea lovers! Welcome to the little place I’m calling the STEAP! Out of my love for all things tea, especially herbal teas, I’m embarking on a journey where I explore the world of herbal teas…from benefits to recipes, tea comparisons to my favorite accessories…everything in between!
So, grab your favorite mug or teapot and steep your favorite tea with me! Thank you for visiting the STEAP!