Herbal Tea - A CUp of tea really is hot stuff
A CUp of tea really is hot stuff
A CUp of tea really is hot stuff, according to latest research.A new study reveals camomile tea helps combat colds.And rowdy prisoners in jail are being given mugs of herbal teas to keep the peace.
When trouble's brewing at Wandsworth prison, London, staff calm down stir-crazy inmates by serving up drinks with names such as Valerian plus and Tranquillity.
These teas are so effective at keeping the peace that officers are using them instead of prescription sedatives.
Sales of herbal teas in the past year have soared amid claims that a brew can help cure everything from migraines and depression to obesity and cancer.
But how can you separate the facts from the fiction Here Vital gives a run-down of the known health benefits of a cuppa.
LEMON AND HONEY TEA:
This is the nation's favourite cure for colds, according to a recent survey. Lemons are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin Cand honey has antibacterial properties.
Good for upset stomachs. Researchers found it controls morning sickness. It has also been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting.The main active ingredient is thought to be a compound called gingerol, which helps to relax blood vessels and stimulate blood flow.
An effective stress-busting drink.When volunteers drank five cups of camomile tea for two weeks there was a rise in antibacterial activity in the body cells and in the levels of glycine, an amino acid which reduces muscle spasms and acts as a nerve relaxant. Hippurate, found in camomile tea, has also been proven to beat colds.
packed full of flavanoids. Research has shown green tea can lower blood pressure and clotting and protect cells in the body against damage from free radicals.These form in the body after exposure to pollution, UV light and smoking and are thought to cause cancer and heart disease. Green tea also helps with digestion.
This may help reduce the symptoms of asthma. In Japan, it is used in research to help treat cases of chronic Hepatitis C. It is also soothing and healing for the lining of the stomach and intestines.
RASpBERRY LEAF TEA:
A good friend if you are suffering from bad period pains or heavy menstrual bleeding. It is also thought to tone up the uterus so is recommended in the last two weeks of pregnancy to get your body ready for labour. A 1999 study in Sydney revealed that taking raspberry leaf may have reduced the likelihood of pregnancy problems among all 108 mothers who took part. Never take it before then, though, as there is a danger it may actually trigger labour.
A natural pick-me-up. The Chinese, who have one of the longest life expectancies, have used ginseng for more than 5000 years. It is thought to increase energy and release stress. Many ginseng fans claim it is a potent aphrodisiac.
Made from the bud of the tea plant, white tea has even more antioxidants than green tea. It also offers better protection than green tea against colon and rectal cancer.
ST JOHN'S WORT:
Made from hypericum perforatum - a yellow flowering hedgerow plant-studies show it is effective against depression. Also available as tablets.
ORDINARY BLACK TEA:
Even if you don't fancy the herbal variety, a cup of ordinary tea may also give you a health boost. Four cups provide almost a fifth of an adult's daily vitamin B2 requirements and five per cent of their zinc and folic acid needs.
INSOMNIA affects about 15 per cent of us in Scotland struggling to nod off at night try a cup of this.
The herb works by blocking some nerve impulses from reaching the brain, shortening the time it takes to fall asleep. Swedish researchers found that 89 per cent of those who took valerian before bed reported improved sleep, with 44 per cent rating their sleep as perfect.
IT provides a rich source of iron, folic acid and B vitamins.Just a few cups a day helps keep the bowels in good and regular condition. Rich in silica and other minerals important for nail growth, a cup of nettle leaf tea a day may also help to nourish and strengthen nails.
When you have eaten too much go for this. Its cool minty taste is not just refreshing, herbalists believe it helps with digestion and may even combat flatulence. It also contains menthol, a cooling agent, which can trigger gentle sweating and help your body get rid of toxins.