I often get asked to explain herbal medicine, the reply is simple. It is the use of plants as medicine. These days we are led to believe that medicine is something we don’t need unless we are ill, and then we must go to the chemist or doctor for drugs. These drugs we are told must be created in a laboratory and scientifically tested. They are not, it seems, anything to do with daily life nor something we can get from the garden or nature. But, is that correct?
The favourite drink of most nations is either tea or coffee. Both are plants. Both have a therapeutic effect upon the body. Everyone knows we get a buzz from coffee, and feel better for a cup of tea. Does that make every cup medicinal? No, not necessarily, but whether or not you view drinking tea as medicine, it’s chemical composition will cause a direct reaction in the body. When you sit down for a ‘nice cup of tea’ you are taking care of yourself. If you drink too much coffee you will be over-stimulated. The more you look after yourself when you feel well, the less likely you are to fall ill and tea and coffee are perfect examples of how this works. However, tea is not just that stuff that comes in tea bags and boxes. It grows naturally. You probably have some in your garden or local park. The process of picking leaves or flowers and leaving them to stand in boiling water is known as making an infusion. The chemical compounds are extracted from the plant into the water. This is what we all know as tea. Camellia sinensis is not something found in most gardens, but it is a good place to start exploring tea.
Green tea has many more health benefits than the common black-tea teabag which, together with coffee has high doses of caffeine. Caffeine can increase stress by stimulating stress hormones, but green tea contains L-theanine which is a stress reducer. There are many scientific studies showing its antioxidant effect and it is known to be anti-inflammatory. It reduces some of the proteins that are involved in Alzheimer’s disease, has anti-carcinogenic properties, is beneficial in bone health, protects the skin against sun damage and ageing and, if you are trying to lose weight, you definitely should drink green tea.
There have been reports by #Greenpeace that found that non-organic teas can contain traces of more than 10 known harmful pesticides which build up in our bodies, so it is important to factor this into your choice of purchase.
Next time you have tea – choose Green tea and stay well. Next we will explore Lemon Balm, so stay tuned.
Plants are powerful. Always speak to a herbalist before you make any of your own tea. If you want to know the actions of herbs or if you want to know what is best for you, call me for an appointment.