Many of my Toronto patients have noticed in my office the big Starbucks mug overflowing with mint from my garden (see pic!). Mint is one of many types of teas that I use both personally and professionally as a Naturopathic Doctor. Tea can be such a nice gentle way to help your body function a bit better, and it also helps get your daily fluids in! I'm far from perfect, but I do try to think about what I put in my body and I try to make things both nutrient dense and worthwhile for my body. I wanted to share some teas that I drink and what medicinally they may be doing for me! All of the teas I will be discussing are caffeine free.
Rooibos - This tea is made out of a South African bush. It is delicious and mild flavoured. It can be combined with many things, such as chai spices, and used as a substitute for black tea for people who don't consume caffeine. Rooibos contains a good dose of antioxidants and is great cold or hot.
Ginger - Ginger is a favourite of mine because it has a wide array of uses. Ginger is a great addition to teas to use when you're home sick with a cold (combined with garlic & honey & lemon of course). It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to be effective in preventing and relieving menstrual cramps. It is also great (in moderation) for the digestive system and can be used to treat nausea. I either buy ginger tea bags or I simply cut a few slices of ginger and add boiling water - simple & delicious!
Mint - Not surprisingly since I grow it in my garden, mint is one of my favourite kinds of tea. Mint tea is delicious and refreshing. In the summer I just cut a couple of stalks from my mint patch and throw them in my mug or tea pot, and in the winter unfortunately I go back to buying mint tea bags. Mint has anti-spasmodic properties and can be good for soothing the digestive system.
Fennel tea - If you like the flavour of black licorice, then you'll love fennel tea. Fennel tea can be made by adding boiling water to 1 tsp of fennel seeds in a mug, or you can just buy fennel tea at your local grocery or health food store. Fennel is lovely for decreasing gas and bloating and can have a relaxing effect on the overall gastrointestinal system. NB: President's Choice actually makes a tea that is a combination of fennel, mint, and ginger, called Feeling Soothed!
Chamomile - This is probably one of the most well known herbs that is used in tea format. Chamomile can be used to calm the body and help induce sleep (it's found in sleepy time tea!). Please don't forget to make a small concentrated cup if you're having it before bed because I don't want you to have to wake in the night to pee after having a big mug of chamomile tea!
With the cold weather beginning in Toronto, I hope you experiment with some hot teas and enjoy the winter!