Herbal Teas for Men – Man Versus Oils Investigates
Hello there my followers of all things manly. In this post I will be steering away from my usual journey into the world of essential oils and men to investigate some herbal teas for men. Why you may ask? Well because in all of my research and testing to date I have noticed that whenever I read about Peppermint, Lemon, Lavender etc. that not only do I find a lot of information in regards to essential oils, but there always seems to be some information about herbal teas sprinkled in there as well. The relationship? Well, some of the same benefits I try and find information about in regards to the oils is also apparently the same when the foundation elements are obtained in their natural form and then thrown into boiling water.
Now before we dive in, it is time for another Man versus Oils confession… I HATE tea…. and oh, have I tried to like it. You see back in my old Government worker days I was working in a desk pod with four other guys who were real tea heads. And to try and fit in I tried to be the same. I tried all different types, with milk, with sugar, black, lemon, cherry, dragon flower (don’t get me started), herbal, rosemary (you think the oil smells bad) and the list goes on… tried them all, hated them all. So I went back to my delicious, amazing, mind-blowing coffee and we got on with life. However, that doesn’t mean that herbal tea doesn’t have some real benefits – especially to us man-folk who, let’s face it, are not always the best at looking after ourselves. So let’s have a look…
What am I looking at?
Whether something is a “tea” or not was always a major point of debate amongst my pod-mates as there appears to be two ways that we can make/describe a tea. In this case, let’s say lemon tea. There are a number of ways to describe and make lemon tea…
- The first is just lemon in hot water – not really a tea rather just lemon in hot water which doesn’t really sound like tea, but tea it can be! This is how I drink it to get around my hatred of actual ‘tea’.
- The second is to make a normal plain tea and add lemon… you get all of the tea goodness (see below) and the added benefit and taste of the fresh lemon included.
- And lastly, there is tea with lemon ‘infused’ – this is tea that is purchased off the shelf with the lemon already in it. Some with natural lemon rind – others with the tea soaked in lemon juice.
The same really goes for all of the types of tea listed in this post. Now, I don’t know, and would never presume to know enough about it all to discuss the different types – you know – English Breakfast, Darjeeling (My Mum’s favourite) or Earl Gray and so on. But I can talk quickly about the basic benefits of tea….
Black Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Its ‘blackness’ comes from oxidisation and it contains more caffeine than other teas. It is rich is anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories and is believed good for:
- Heart and gut health
- Lowering cholesterol
- Skin and hair health
Green Tea comes from the same plant as black tea only is less oxidised and dried. It contains all of the same compounds and benefits of black tea with slightly weaker flavour and less caffeine. There is much scientific research into the health benefits of green tea which mirror those in black tea.
For the purpose of this post, I am going to talk about the types of ‘herbal’ teas that can be of benefit to us males of the species. In terms of how you choose to consume them is totally up to you. You can assume that if you drink it with only hot water then the benefits of the addition are the only ones to be reaped. The addition of tea leaves may add extra benefit or even a bit of taste. I will leave that all in your most capable man hands.
I have also kept the list small as during my searches I found that you can make ‘Tea’ out of just about anything so I wanted to keep it to elements that are simple, available in the house and within the same sort of compounds that we have already discussed within our essential oil posts. But, in reality, you can pretty much add anything to boiling water and call it herbal tea.
Oh, and as usual, I have tried to find some actual scientific proof to my ramblings…
Lemon tea is all about the detox. It contains powerful antibacterial properties and detoxifying agents, is rich in Vitamin C – which helps the immune system as well as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium . Scientific studies have also found lemons to be extremely effective when dealing with all things to do with the dreaded man-cold. The benefits of lemon herbal tea to us include
- Fighting the common cold and sore throats.
- Aiding in digestion – this is a common benefit where lemon and hot water is consumed first thing in the morning to prepare the gut for a big day of manly feasting.
- Helps to release the toxins from the body.
- Good for weight loss – due to their diuretic effect.
Lemon Tea Recipe
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves (or 2 black tea bags)
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 6 cups boiling water
- Lemon slices, optional, to serve
Place ingredients in a large teapot or coffee plunger. Pour over boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes to steep.
Serve hot or cold
Adapted from Taste.com.au
This one really doesn’t sound manly but if you are a coffee drinker who suffers from high stress levels then you could do a lot worse than swapping your daily grind for a chamomile tea. This is the Lavender Essential Oil of teas in that it could be just the ticket to aid rest and sleep – two things that us manly stress heads often struggle with. This is due to the high levels of apigenin, an antioxidant that has been linked to working within the brain to promote sleep. It also has extensive anti – inflammatory properties making it another good one for sore throats etc.
Initial clinical studies are also starting to include within the benefits of chamomile herbal tea as a good natural way to lower blood sugar levels leading to weight loss and internal organ health.
Chamomile Tea Recipe
- 2 tsp dried chamomile flowers
- 2 cups hot water (with tea bag if preferred)
- 2 tsp honey (optional)
- 1 teabag or tbs of good quality tea
Mix chamomile flowers in hot water and let it infuse for 2 to 3 minutes, then strain and serve. Add honey for flavour if preferred.
Adapted from food.ndtv.com
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is member of the mint family and is a cross between watermint and spearmint. It is commonly used for its flavour in everything from curries to chocolate and other sweets as well as in some areas of alternative medicine. Essentially, peppermint tea should be considered as beneficial for all things to do with minor stomach complaints. Its oil has been scientifically proven (although in early stages) to assist with the management of nausea, upset stomachs and Irritable Bowel Syndrome – which is often referred to as a benefit of peppermint tea. It is also a common (if not yet studied) home remedy for flatulence – no more blaming the dog boys!
Peppermint tea is also often referred to as being able to reduce overall body temperature making it good for relieving headaches, fever and stress- although only proven in mice to date. It is caffeine free, and, at the very least, the mentholly, pepperminty goodness will help freshen the breath – not that you need it as you had salad for lunch right?
Other claimed manly benefits of peppermint herbal tea include:
- Wash your hair in peppermint tea to rid yourself of dandruff
- Increased clarity and alertness – I do use the oil to keep me awake at times
- Drink it as an appetite suppressant to assist with weight loss
Note: I did read about not only Peppermint tea, but all others on this post that they are proven to be appetite suppressants and lead directly to weight loss. I could not find any proof to this myself however I think if you are having any of the teas – which are packed with anti-oxidants – and other benefits instead of milky, sugary coffee, juices or soft drinks as part of a healthy diet, then absolutely I believe that they can assist with weight loss.
Peppermint Tea Recipe
- 2 cups water (filtered)
- 15 peppermint leaves
- 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
- Lemon – slices or juice (optional)
Bring water to boil then remove from heat and add mint leaves. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes and enjoy. Add honey or lemon to taste if preferred. Strain if required. Can be serves hot or cold.
Adapted from thespruceeats.com
Ginger is another one of those herbs that has been used in medicine since ancient times without any real modern scientific proof to back it up. It has however gained some traction for its ‘anti’ abilities including that it is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant which gives it similar properties and benefits to the other three teas listed here above. However, the main reason for you to reach for the old ginger tea is for nausea… Feeling a bit crook in the old bread basket… get some ginger tea into ya!
I will say that out of all of the herbs I looked into for this post that Ginger appears to have the most outlandish benefits listed for it in terms of what it can do for us humans medically. Some of these are referred to in the study I have linked to in the previous paragraph however I am going to take the same approach that I do for essential oils and leave them out until undeniable proof if offered. In the meantime, some of the other less controversial benefits of Ginger herbal tea include:
- Gut and intestine health, via its strong anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties it is able to remove toxic and undigested matter from your intestinal walls
- Nausea – as with gut health, Ginger reduces stomach nausea by calming stomach muscles and lining
- Stomach ulcers – The same (and some proven) qualities that assist in the reduction of nausea have also been used since ancient times to proved relief for those suffering stomach ulcers. Drinking ginger tea is an often referred remedy for ulcers (not a cure, just a remedy).
- Relief of muscle pain – Some studies have shown that the ongoing use of ginger – most commonly via tea – can assist in the reduction of ongoing muscle pain. If you are one that works on your feet all day, or in a strenuous job, then some ginger tea each day may just help with those ongoing aches and pains.
Ginger Tea Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 Tbsp. raw honey (optional)
- ½ lemon, juiced (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- Pinch of Cayenne chilli (optional)
Grate the ginger with a grater/zester, then add to water that has just been boiled and removed from the heat (add cinnamon stick or cayenne pepper at this point also if preferred). Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Add honey and/or lemon if preferred and strain if necessary. Can be served hot or cold.
Adapted from mindbodygreen.com
So, there are four herbal teas that I believe can be of use to us manly creatures as a remedy to many of the things that we suffer from without really ever looking after them. They are chemical free and provide at least enough benefit to make them part of a healthy diet. Even I have started with the old lemon in boiling water start to the day rather than a coffee and have to admit that I am feeling much better as the morning progresses.
As usual, have a look through and pick one that you feel might be of benefit to you and let me know below how you go.
In the meantime and until next time.
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