When you walk into my clinic the first thing you will be offered is a cup of tea. Firstly because that is the way I was brought up (!) and secondly, I know it will help relax and soothe my patient helping them to open up and discuss their symptoms with me. The British are known to love a cup of tea and I think it is fair to say that we Indians love one too! As with most things in life though variety is the key. I can’t resist a decent cup of Assam tea, or my mum’s masala or adarak tea in the morning, I find it so refreshing and revitalising. But it is good to remember that many herbal teas as well as being warming and soothing can also have health benefits.
Herbal teas have long been a part of traditional medicinal systems like Chinese and Ayurveda. Recently researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing at Tufts University in America called for, more human studies on herbal teas on the grounds that the health benefits were compelling. Herbal teas can be a good way to get the medical benefits of plants, choose one or two teas and consume them once or twice in a day. In addition we all should have about eight glasses of water a day.
Ginger or Adarak is a good all round herbal tea, good for stimulating the circulation and a digestive aid, helping the body to absorb nutrients. It can also be used to help with nausea. Have up to twice in a day.
Liquorice can be great for stress as it contains Glycyrrhizin which prevents the breakdown of the body’s stress hormone, making it more available to deal with stress. Have once a day.
Green tea can also help reduce stress levels. It can also prevent high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance caused by a high fat diet. Have up to three times a day.
Known for its calming and soothing properties, it also contains an anti-spasmodic property making it excellent for muscle tension. I always take some on holiday in case anyone gets an upset stomach. It also has anti-bacterial properties. Up to two cups a day.
I start the day with a cup of peppermint and fennel tea as it is refreshing, invigorating and aids digestion. Peppermint also has significant anti-bacterial and anti-viral components. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant and can be used to relieve the discomfort of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Another good tea to take on holiday.
Fennel or sauf, is again excellent for digestion, bloating and wind, and it is good to chew after meals. It is claimed that it can help reduce blood pressure. It is also known to be good for premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms. You can also use the tea to gargle with to help soothe a sore throat.
Making herbal tea is easy, either go to your local health food shop and buy some bags, or if you have the fresh herb to hand, then use about 1 teaspoon of it. Place in a mug, pour over hot water and steep for up to 10 minutes, with the exception of camomile which should be steeped for up to 4 minutes.
If you suffer from longer term complaints then it is advised to consult a qualified registered Homeopath. Homeopathic remedies can be purchased from most Chemists and Health Food shops and from homeopathic pharmacies. Please note any advice should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment in an emergency always contact your GP or Accident and Emergency Department.
Kiran Grover BA, MA, LCHE RSHom is the founder of the Healthy Homeopathy clinic in Northwood, Middx www.healthyhomeopathy.co.uk. North -West London. She is a Director of the Society of Homeopaths (www.homeopathy-soh.org.) and a Lecturer at the Centre for Homeopathic Education, London. For more information you may contact the clinic during office hours on 07983 788762 or by e-mail, [email protected]