Use Caution with Herbal Tea Remedies

Do Your Research Before Consuming Herbal Tea Remedies

Herbal tea, also called a tisane, is an herbal mixture made out of dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots. It is not made out of tea leaves.

Boiling water is poured over the choice of herb leaf, flower or root, and then left to steep for a while. Sometimes seeds and roots are boiled and served after sweetening.

Herbal Tea Remedies Vary by Region

Herbal teas can be made from many ingredients. In Japan, a tea made from roasted barley, known as mugicha, is made and drunk cold in summer. In China, chrysanthemum tea is common, while hibiscus is popular in the Middle East.

Chamomile tea is sometimes used as a sedative. Orange, lemon and other citrus peel are also used. In the Andes, coca tea helps lessen altitude sickness. Spices like fennel and ginger are used to cure a variety of ailments.

In some parts of North America, Labrador tea is consumed. Nettle, sage, thyme and basil have been used from time immemorial to make herbal tea brews.

Herbal teas can be drunk as stimulants or as relaxants. Ginger tea is drunk to settle the stomach or even for congestion in the chest. Some herbal trees are believed to have anti-cancer properties and are especially good for gastric, esophageal and skin cancers. They may even help in lowering cholesterol.

Learn About Health Benefits and Risks

Some herbal tea remedies can be toxic or cause allergies. For example, comfrey could cause permanent liver damage when used in excess. Lobelia is supposed to have the same addictive effects as nicotine. Pineapple weed is sometimes passed off as chamomile and can cause reactions to those who suffer from hay fever.

Strawberry leaf, lemon grass leaf, nettle leaf, alfalfa, fennel seed, rosehips, and lemon verbena are thought to be safe; though, always check with an herbalist and your physician before consumption. Also, it is important to take extra precautions before drinking herbal tea during pregnancy. Talk with your physician and read the labels on the packs carefully before you buy.

Herbal tea is available in ready-to-drink in cartons. Some people even grow their own herbs. However, only experienced herbalists should make their own combinations.

Consumers should be aware that some herbal products in the form of teas, powders, tablets, and capsules are not regulated by federal or state agencies. Therefore safety and medicinal claims may not be substantiated.

If you want to try herbal supplements, do your research and do not rely solely on what is printed on the label or package. Rather, seek independent information sources about what herbs are supposed to do and investigate any potential side-effects. And always consult with your healthcare provider before taking herbs for medicinal purposes. 

This article on herbal tea remedies was written by Richard Romando, a writer for the

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› Herbal and Medicinal Teas

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