Herbal teas are an easy, flavorful way to stay hydrated – from relaxing chamomile before bed to fruit-infused infusions to start your day – providing an aromatic alternative to caffeinated beverages which may have dehydrating effects.
But is drinking herbal tea like drinking water? ARS-funded scientists conducted scientific analysis of three popular herbal infusions.
It’s a good way to stay hydrated
Herbal teas generally do not contain caffeine and therefore tend to be less dehydrating than caffeinated beverages, though certain herbal varieties could still have diuretic effects – for instance guayusa, yaupon and yerba mate are all types of tea that do contain some amount of caffeine that could potentially alter hydration levels.
Herbal teas such as chamomile, lavender or hibiscus are an excellent way to stay hydrated while helping to calm the mind and soothe stomach discomfort. Other hydrating herbal options include nettle, rosehip and elderflower.
Be mindful that non-caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee count toward your daily fluid intake; however, water should still be the focus for maintaining optimal hydration levels. You could add lemon or cucumber slices for more flavourful water drinks that make drinking them much more pleasurable!
It’s a good source of caffeine
While herbal tea can provide many health advantages, its caffeine levels may differ depending on factors like its plant source, brewing time and leaf size – making it important to purchase them from trusted sources.
Peppermint, ginger and chamomile are key components in herbal tea blends due to their medicinal benefits, helping treat various conditions including nausea and the common cold.
Note that many herbal teas sold as “herbal” contain caffeine, making it unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. As caffeine crosses the placenta and reaches your baby who cannot metabolize it like adults can, obtaining expert advice regarding proper usage is highly advised during gestation and lactation. Speak with your midwife or doctor on how best to consume herbal tea during these times of life.
It’s a good source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that work to neutralise free radicals – unstable atoms which damage our cells and contribute to disease – by neutralising free radicals. Antioxidants can be found in various foods, including fruits, vegetables, spices and tea polyphenols that have been shown to significantly boost plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) during human intervention studies.
Herbal teas are an excellent source of antioxidants. Many contain gingerol, an effective bioactive disease-fighting compound. Plus, these drinks offer ample Vitamin C content – plus some herbal teas may even promote weight management and lower stress levels!
Herbal teas can provide a healthy alternative to coffee and fizzy beverages, providing a calming, sleep-inducing beverage. Consult with both your dietician and doctor before adding herbal tea into your diet as it could have side effects such as dizziness, nausea and heartburn depending on its ingredients; additionally it could interfere with certain medications.
It’s a good source of vitamins
Herbal teas are caffeine-free and therefore safe for pregnant women to consume, though certain herbs may trigger allergies in certain individuals; always read labels carefully when purchasing any herbal infusion, like Chamomile, Peppermint or Ginger Teas which also offer beneficial vitamins and minerals that can support overall body wellness.
Herbs in herbal tea can have many health-promoting properties, from echinacea for cold prevention to dandelion root strengthening throat and lung function to chamomile helping ease stress and facilitate sleep. Plus, these infusions contain plenty of antioxidants!
Herbal teas contain small amounts of folate and pyridoxine as well as minerals like iron, potassium, manganese and copper. The exact composition depends on which ingredients were used – for instance rooibos contains large quantities of calcium while many herbs possess anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.