With the winters approaching, warm liquids are quite welcome and what better than to have herbal teas at this time. Herbal teas are not really teas but basically infusions of certain spices or herbs in boiled water. To extract the full flavour of a spice, one needs to boil it in water for a few minutes. Then, just strain and sip.
The health benefits of spices and herbs range from anti oxidants, reducing inflammation, pain relief, lowering blood sugar levels to even certain analgesic and antiseptic properties etc. The various types of spices and herbs that can be used are cinnamon, basil, cumin, ginger, cardamom, fennel, fenugreek, turmeric, cloves, etc. A good herbal tea can be made with just one of these or a combination of two or more spices. Combinations like ginger, turmeric go well with lemon. Cinnamon and cloves go great together… various combinations based on one’s palette can be made and enjoyed at any time of the day.There is no fear of an addiction or low mineral absorption from food as is feared from teas or coffees. Have it before or after a meal, it really doesn’t matter. How liberating is that? But having said that, I do want to warn about the effects of certain herbal teas especially mint teas on hormone levels if had very regularly. While nature is good it can also be dangerous. So before starting out on a particular tea on a regular basis its a good idea to get aware of its health effects through a nutritionist or maybe even a book on natural herbal remedies. This is a must especially for pregnant women.
Holy basil tea is one of the most warm tasting lovely tea and every spice has a distinct flavour which can be chosen for its exclusive taste. Pairing up a health condition like cold/flu with ginger and turmeric tea with lemon or high uric acid levels with a cinnamon tea is an intelligent choice ( again with permission from a practising nutritionist/dietician).
Personally, I have been drinking herbal teas on and off, sometimes just cinnamon, sometimes fenugreek or holy basil. But for any health condition -I have found the ginger,turmeric tea with lemon as most effective to fight off these conditions. Its like a homemade power dose remedy concoction for any and every ailment. I make it with half an inch cube of ginger and half a tsp of turmeric boiled thoroughly for 3-5 minutes in water, strain and then add a little lemon juice. It tastes quite good actually and in case someone needs to add some sweetness to it, i would recommend honey.
Depending on tea or coffee everyday is definitely an addiction and that can’t be a good thing. Water is the first beverage of choice for an everyday drink. Intersperse it with herbal teas or have it with lemon or mint ( see post on “How do you drink your water“), and then maybe an occasional tea or coffee. Yes, even more rare can be that glass of red wine( read post ‘Alcohol‘). So my recipe for health is never say never to food and drink and yet maintain an everyday discipline. But if you think that your discipline goes for a toss with this ideal and going cold turkey on unhealthful drinks is the only way for you, then so be it. Meanwhile , enjoy the coming winter and herbal teas!