There isn’t just one specific plant used to define herbal tea because it’s a blend of different ones. In this beginner’s guide to herbal tea, you’ll discover what it is, the health benefits of it, and so much more.
Herbal tea is known for its various health benefits, depending on what type you drink. There are so many different varieties, let’s get to know them a little better. Everything you ever wanted to know about herbal tea is in this guide.
*This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I get a small commission. Please see my disclosure policy for details
Get more Beginner’s Tea Guides
- Get the Beginner’s Guide to Black Tea
- Get the Beginner’s Guide to Green Tea
- Get the Beginner’s Guide to Chai Tea
- Get the Guide to Lavender
- Get the Beginner’s Guide to White Tea
What is Herbal Tea?
Unlike black or green tea, herbal tea isn’t a tea that derives from the Camellia sinesis plant. It’s actually a combination of lots of different leaves, roots, or flowers that belong to any edible non-tea plant. In fact, herbal teas are known as tisanes in Europe and other parts of the world.
How Much Caffeine Is In Herbal Tea?
Since herbal tea is usually made with other plants besides tea leaves, they are usually caffeine-free. If you find an herbal tea blend made with tea leaves, it might have some caffeine in it.
Popular Herbal Tea Varieties
Even though there are hundreds of different varieties of herbal teas available, there are a few that are the most popular. These are the ones with the strongest health benefits that people have relied on for centuries.
- Rosehip Tea
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
- Ginger Tea
- Eucalyptus Tea
- Gingko Tea
- Valerian Root Tea
- Elderberry Flower Tea
- Lavender Tea
- Echinacea Tea
- Hibiscus Flower Tea
Herbal Tea For Weight Loss
Have you heard claims that there are herbal teas that can help your body lose more weight? Those claims are not completely true, most of them are just stories people share.
Only one tea has scientific evidence behind it. Rooibos tea from South Africa has been shown to be effective at fat burning.
There are lots of stories from people who claim other herbal teas help them in their weight loss journey. For example, some people claim that mint tea helps calm cravings and ward off hunger.
Other people enjoy drinking fruity herbal teas because they taste sweet without all the sugar from the fruits.
Herbal Tea Pregnancy
Lots of midwives and people who practice holistic medicine use herbal teas for a variety of pregnancy-related health issues.
There are studies that show that red raspberry leaf tea can decrease the length of labor and even the number of interventions used.
Here are some more teas that are safe for use in pregnancy, along with their health benefits.
- Peppermint Tea – Relieves nausea and flatulence
- Dandelion Tea – Rich in calcium and iron, can help relieve mild edema
- Chamomile – Helps with sleeplessness and joint inflammation
- Rose Hips – Boosts the immune system
Herbal Tea For Anxiety
The best herbal teas for anxiety are:
- Chamomile Tea – Studies show chamomile tea can bind to GABA receptors in the brain, which induces relaxation. These are the same nervous system receptors that Xanax targets.
- Passionflower Tea – Flavonoids in passionflower have stimulating effects on GABA receptors, according to recent studies.
- Lemon Balm Tea – This herbal tea helps to reduce stress and these effects can be felt up to 3 hours after drinking. In one study, this tea helped people sleep better by increasing feelings of fatigue without decreasing cognition.
- Rose Tea – Studies show that rose tea actually has neuropharmacological effects. It affects benzodiazepine receptors the same way that anti-anxiety medications do.
- Valerian Root Tea – This is known as one of the best anti-anxiety herbal teas you can buy. It actually has hypnotic and sedative effects and helps people with mild insomnia.
Herbal Tea Health Benefits
Each type of herbal tea has its own amazing health benefits for your mind and body. These are the most popular types of herbal teas and their health benefits.
Chamomile tea is known as a calming tea. It has been linked to a reduction in the severity of menstrual cramps.
Another study of rats found that drinking it regularly could prevent blood sugar from increasing.
This herb also has anti-estrogenic effects which promote bone density, but more research needs to be done to prove this.
One thing it is really known for is reducing inflammation which can help with lots of things from hemorrhoids, to arthritis, and even depression. People use it to help them sleep and reduce anxiety too.
Peppermint tea is very aromatic and has been used for thousands of years due to is minty taste and many health benefits.
One of the most popular health benefits of peppermint tea is that it helps ease digestive problems like gas, bloating, nausea, and indigestion.
It can also help relieve tension headaches and migraines. Some people use peppermint oil, others experience the effects from inhaling the aroma of the peppermint tea and drinking it.
Peppermint tea is also known for increasing energy naturally without caffeine. One study found it reduces daytime sleepiness.
Rose hip tea is really high in antioxidants. These are things that fight free radicals which cause lots of the common signs of aging and even some cancers.
It also has a really high amount of vitamin C which not only protects your body against infection but it also helps maintain your skin’s protective barrier against pathogens.
One study showed that rosehip extract significantly lowered fasting blood sugar in rats, suggesting it can help protect against type 2 diabetes.
It’s also known to reduce inflammation and pain because it is high in compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Even though red raspberry leaf tea is mostly used during pregnancy, it still has lots of other health benefits for other people too.
For one thing, the leaves provide B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium – all of which strengthen your immune system.
It’s often referred to as a “woman’s herb” because it helps relieve PMS symptoms like cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Just like peppermint tea, ginger tea is known to calm upset stomachs, among other things. There is even a study that suggests ginger is just as effective at easing nausea as some medications.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties (to ease the pain) and can help reduce blood pressure.
Tea is just one of the many medicinal ways eucalyptus leaves are used. These leaves are rich in antioxidants. To get the most out of these antioxidants, you must soak the leaves in hot water for tea, do not add eucalyptus oil to water since it is toxic.
The main flavonoids (what gives the tea its flavor) are catechins, luteolin, and quercetin. Diets high in these compounds protect against certain cancers.
This tea is also known to decrease mucus and make it easier for you to breathe if you have a cold. It could even help improve asthma symptoms.
Also known as Ginko biloba or maidenhair, this plant has been used medicinally for centuries.
One of the main benefits of it is that it increases blood flow to various parts of the body because it increases nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels.
Studies also show that is may increase functional capabilities in those with mild Alzheimer’s. These positive results could be attributed to the increased blood flow to the brain.
People also take it as a way of managing their anxiety too.
Valerian Root Tea
Valerian root is known as an herbal sleep aid. It has a substance known as valerenic acid that affects the gamma-aminobutyric acid GABA receptors in the brain. These receptors control fear or anxiety experiences.
In addition to helping with sleep and anxiety, valerian root tea can also help women minimize hot flashes during menopause.
Elderberry Flower Tea
Commonly used during cold and flu season, elderberry tea has a ton of powerful benefits. It’s a diuretic, laxative, antiseptic, antiviral, and has anti-inflammatory properties too.
People have used elderflower tea for centuries to fight the common cold because compounds from it can directly inhibit viruses from entering your body and replicating in your cells.
It also has tannins that help dry up running eyes and noses – another helpful thing during flu season.
More than this, it can also reduce oxidative stress on the body, which can help your skin and joints grow stronger.
One of the most well-known benefits of lavender is how calming it is. It’s used in lots of soaps and fragrances that people commonly use around bedtime to help them relax.
Beyond how well it can help people sleep, lavender tea can also detoxify your body. It’s high in antioxidants, which helps to decrease the oxidative stress on your bones and skin.
It can also help soothe digestive problems like nausea or diarrhea. Even just inhaling the aroma of lavender tea can stimulate your body to break down foods more efficiently.
Lavender tea can help people who suffer from breathing problems, too. The anti-inflammatory properties of lavender tea soothe muscles in the chest and throat which makes it easier for people to breathe.
This tea is also commonly called purple coneflower and is one of the most popular herbs around the world.
One of the most well-known benefits of echinacea is that it boosts your immune system so it can fight infections like colds and flu.
It can also help people naturally lower blood sugar and digest carbohydrates more effectively.
Just like lavender, echinacea is really effective at reducing anxiety and calming your mind. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the intensity of pain and other issues in the body.
Hibiscus Flower Tea
Hibiscus flower tea has a very strong, fruity flavor. It’s an excellent choice for anyone that wants a fruity taste without adding extra sugar to their diet. It has lots of health benefits as well.
This plant is really high in antioxidants. This helps your body stay strong and fight infections.
It can also help your body lower blood pressure. In fact, many studies have confirmed that it really does help.
In addition to blood pressure, this tea can also help lower blood fat levels, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Studies on this link are mixed, and more studies are needed to say conclusively how well they help.
There are studies that discovered it can improve liver health by breaking down fat there. One particular animal study discovered that when rats consumed hibiscus extract, their bodies increased the production of drug-detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
Origins of Herbal Tea
The earliest forms of medicine ever recorded were herbal teas. In fact, the answer to the question, “Where does herbal tea come from” is, everywhere! If there are herbs, plants, or roots that are beneficial then chances are they used them in a tea.
Since they can be found just about everywhere, let’s look at the most popular herbal teas from each country.
Egyptian Herbal Tea
Most of the commercially available chamomile that is used in tea is grown in Egypt. In fact, Egyptian chamomile tea is known as the most high-quality in the entire world.
Egypt is also known for growing hibiscus for herbal teas too.
Chinese Herbal Tea
One of the most popular herbs for tea grown in Southeast Asia is ginger. It was originally discovered in China but currently grows all over Asia, including in India.
Ginkgo Biloba is native to China. It has been planted since ancient times within Chinese and Japanese temple gardens.
European Herbal Teas
There are lots of herbs grown across the various countries in Europe.
Peppermint is indigenous to Europe. So are the rose plants that are used in rosehip tea. Both of these plants have since become cultivated and can be grown all over the world.
The powerful herb valerian root is native throughout many countries in Europe and western Asia.
Lavender is known as a Mediterranean plant. It’s native to countries like France and Greece, which have warm, temperate climates.
South African Herbal Tea
Rooibos tea is also known as red tea or red bush tea. It’s made using leaves from the Aspalathus linearis shrub which is grown on the western coast of South Africa.
North American Herbal Teas
Red raspberry leaf tea is grown all over North America, including in the United States of America. People can even grow it right in their backyard.
The elderberry plant is very hardy and can grow in both wet and dry soils but does best in sunny locations. It’s native to the areas east of the Rocky Mountains like Utah and Wyoming.
Herbs From Australia
Australia has a very sunny and hot climate, so it is known for growing different herbs than other places in the world.
One of the most popular herbs for teas they grow is eucalyptus. Koalas rely on this plant as their main food source and humans rely on it medicinally as well.
How To Make Herbal Tea
Making a hot cup of rejuvenating herbal tea is so simple.
First, heat some filtered water to a rolling boil. You will use one teaspoon of loose herbal tea (or one tea bag) in each 6-8 ounce cup.
Once the water is boiling, pour it into your cup, over the tea. Let the tea steep for about 5-7 minutes. If you want your tea to taste stronger, let it seep for a longer amount of time.
Beyond the basic method of making hot tea, you can experiment and make any number of drinks. Make your own sweet iced teas from them with sugar or honey. Or create a combination of different herbs for a flavorful cup – try lemon chamomile tea or yarrow and elderflower during the cold season.
Herbal Tea Vs Green Tea
The biggest difference between herbal tea and other teas (like green or black tea) is that herbal teas are made from the roots, flowers, or other parts of various herbs. Green and black tea is made from the leaves of a specific plant used to make tea – Camellia sinensis.
Many of the flowers and roots used to make herbal teas don’t contain caffeine. Since these herbal teas are made from such a wide variety of different flowers and fruits, they can each claim different health benefits.
Green, black, and white tea is all made from basically the same plant, so their health benefits are very similar to each other.
If you want to enjoy different flavors of tea without added sugars, then reach for a fruity herbal tea blend like hibiscus and elderflower tea.
If you love growing herbs then learn about How to Grow an Herbal Tea Garden.