Herbal tea might not sound particularly exciting. However, it’s all about finding the right one for you and your taste buds. Whether you like savory, sweet, floral, or earthy, the possibilities are endless, and the health benefits are plenty. Below are some of our favorites and the benefits of each.
What Is Herbal Tea?
There are two types of tea you’ll find at the market: traditional and herbal. Traditional tea is what we know as black, green, white, or oolong, and they’re all derived from the camellia sinensis plant. Herbal tea is an infusion of non-tea plants, like herbs, flowers, roots, dried fruits, or spices. It’s what Europeans call ’tisane’ and tend to drink at night before bed given its lack of caffeine.
Herbal teas come in a wide range of flavors and forms, and offer a wide variety of health benefits. They’re a great alternative to coffee, soda, and even water if you’re bored with it. You can enjoy them hot, cold, or (more excitingly) as a base for fun cocktails!
If you’re looking to venture beyond the traditional ginger or peppermint tea, our list of 12 exotic and unusual herbal infusions is just what you need to change things up this year. They’ll also keep you healthy.
Native to South Africa, rooibos tea is the best herbal alternative to black tea. Not only does it pair perfectly with milk and sugar, but it’s also lower in tannins. Additionally, rooibos is rich in antioxidants and doesn’t contain any oxalic acid, a substance known to increase the risk of kidney stones.
If you have a sweet tooth, you might find the rich caramel undertones of this tea to be its best feature.
This delicious floral blend is delicate on both the palate and nose. While it doesn’t contain the actual rose petals, this tisane will undoubtedly remind you of their perfume. It engulfs your taste buds in the sweet, tangy taste of summer.
Rosehip tea is made from the fruit of the rose plant, which boasts large quantities of vitamins C and A—two major components of the immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe an upset stomach, and the high flavonoid concentration is great for healthy digestion.
Rosehip Tea, 50 Count, 4.8 Ounce
A sweet and floral source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
The ginseng root has a long-standing reputation as a cure-all in traditional Chinese medicine. There are different kinds of ginseng, and their properties all differ, as well. For example, Asian ginseng is known to have a stimulating effect on the body, while American ginseng acts as a relaxing agent.
It doesn’t taste particularly delicious, but it’s nothing a bit of honey or agave can’t fix.
The health benefits associated with this root are numerous. It can improve blood sugar regulation and brain functions, as well as boosting immunity and energy. It also protects you against oxidative stress, which contributes to various ailments, including cancer and erectile dysfunction.
American Ginseng Tea, 20 Tea Bags
If you prefer benefits over flavor, this one's for you.
Despite belonging to the daisy family, this herbaceous plant tastes more like peppermint. As such, it’s the perfect candidate for a warm, soothing brew before bed or an ice-cold drink on a summer day.
Echinacea tea has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Some have claimed it can soothe the irritation of certain pulmonary disorders, like bronchitis. Studies have also found it can help shorten the duration of the common cold.
If you love using sage as a spice, you might also enjoy it as a drink. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, sage makes an excellent herbal tonic.
Evidence suggests it supports cognitive function and memory retention, and that it can increase relaxation and improve moods. Some also drink a warm cup of sage tea to ease a sore throat or aid digestion. If it doesn’t sound appealing, just adding a slice of lemon or some mint leaves can make it more enjoyable.
Aboriginal Australians were the first to use the big, thick leaves of the eucalyptus tree for medicinal purposes. The compound responsible for its health properties is eucalyptol, which has been shown to ease symptoms of the common cold, including nasal congestion, cough, and headache.
Eucalyptus tea is also widely known to lower stress and mitigate mental fatigue, which makes it a great way to start your morning. If you’re a fan of licorice, you’ll probably enjoy this brew, given its minty taste and revitalizing smell.
Eucalyptus Leaf Tea (30 Tea Bags) 100% Natural
Soothing in winter, refreshing in summer, and beneficial year-round.
Unlike other floral brews, passionflower tea uses every bit of the plant. Unlike the fruit, it tastes very mild, with an earthy undertone. However, it pairs very well with floral honey.
Passionflower tea is commonly used to relieve stress and anxiety, as it helps promote a sense of calm and reduces irritableness. It’s also known to improve sleep, making it the perfect drink to sip before bed.
Alvita - Organic Passionflower Tea - 24 Tea Bags
Feeling tense or unable to sleep? Sip some of this.
Barley tea is very popular in East Asian countries. It has a nutty taste with a hint of bitterness and can be served hot or cold. The same as black tea, you can add some milk and sugar. This tea does contain gluten, so avoid it if that’s part of your dietary restrictions.
Organic Barley Tea (Mugicha Tea) 30 Bags 100% Made in Japan
A nutritious, caffeine-free alternative to black tea.
Don’t let the name fool you—lemon balm tea doesn’t come from the lemon tree. Native to Europe, lemon balm belongs to the mint family, which explains its minty, citrusy taste.
Although preliminary studies suggest lemon balm tea might be beneficial for heart and skin health, it’s commonly used for its calming, stress-relieving effects. If you’re struggling with insomnia, give a mug of this a try.
Fennel tea was a popular herbal remedy in ancient Greece and Rome. Doctors recommended it to nursing mothers to increase their milk supply. It was also prescribed to those dealing with kidney stones or muscle cramps.
Nowadays, people turn to fennel to improve digestion, soothe stomach cramps, and reduce bloating. It’s also used as a diuretic by those with water retention issues. Although it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, it’s similar to licorice, which many find helpful for relieving bad breath.
Buddha Teas Organic Fennel Seed Tea 18 Tea Bags
Feeling gassy and bloated? Give fennel tea a try!
Another spice, another tea. Unlike other evergreen herbs, thyme is quite savory and aromatic, with little to no bitterness. It pairs well with both honey and lemon.
Thyme tea has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which can help soothe a sore throat or relieve gastrointestinal discomfort. As a natural expectorant, it also aids in mucus expulsion to ease coughing and nasal congestion.
Organic Thyme Leaf Tea Bags | 20 Tea Bags
Tastes as good in a tea as it does in food!
It makes your cat happy, so why wouldn’t it do the same for you? While it makes felines incredibly excited, though, catnip has the opposite effect on humans.
Thanks to a compound called nepetalactone, which is similar to some herbal sedatives, catnip can bring a sense of calm and relaxation to the body, making it a soothing sleep aid. Together with its antispasmodic properties, catnip tea is ideal for easing stomach cramps and gastrointestinal discomfort.
It tastes similar to lemon balm, but a bit grassier. It’s the perfect after-dinner tisane.
Organic Catnip - Dried Nepeta cataria Loose Leaf (4 oz)
Drink it up and sleep tight!
Herbal teas deserve more credit than they’re usually given. They come in loads of flavors, most won’t keep you up at night, and they’re good for you. Don’t believe us? Try each of the teas above this year, and see how much better you feel come December.