Health Benefits of Drinking Tea and Herbals
Many of you are interested in using plants to bolster health and combat disease. Therefore, I am excited to share that I recently completed a Medicinal Plants Certificate Program from Cornell University to increase my own knowledge, but also to share some of the powerful information I gained through the course with you. The course was rigorous and based on scientific evidence that was carefully facilitated by PHD experts in the fields of biology, chemistry, and ethnobotany. These passionate and committed scientists work every day to study and preserve plants from around the world that have benefitted humans for as long as we have existed. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that roughly 80 percent of the world’s population relies upon plants as their primary form of healthcare. Importantly, many modern pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants that have been augmented by traditional knowledge from the indigenous people from where they originate.
The course was divided into six different learning modules: Historical Applications of Plant-Based Medicine; Plants for Muscles, Bones, and the Reproductive System; Plants for Mental Health and Pain Relief; Plants to Improve Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health; Plants for Promoting Digestive Health and Skin Health; and Boosting Immunity with Medicinal Plants. My plan is to cover many of these subjects in subsequent blogs.
Immunity Boosting & Wellness Teas
Let’s begin with one of the most important aspects of good health – the immune system. The immune system defends against a wide variety of pathogens and helps to keep us healthy. Certain plants contain chemical compounds that interact with our bodies to bolster our immunity and prevent disease. All the below plants have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda or by indigenous people around the world including Native Americans. While these are natural remedies, they may interfere with other medicines you are taking so please consult with your medical professional before trying any of them.
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda and has been used for thousands of years to bolster immunity and treat a wide variety of health issues. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that contains a compound called withaferin which is responsible for many of its beneficial effects. Ashwagandha may help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and inflammation. And it may help lower blood sugar levels and bolster brain function. The research on cancer prevention is promising as well.
Astragalus or Huáng Qí has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. It contains compounds that may boost immunity, as well as providing anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects.
Echinacea which is native to North America may help your immune system fight infections and assist in a quicker recovery when unwell.
Ginger is a powerful plant with many beneficial actions such as immunity boosting, anti-inflammatory, lowering blood sugar and easing upset stomach. Gingerol is the main compound found in ginger that is responsible for its action.
Ginseng is a highly regarded herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. Although, there are many varieties of this potent plant, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) are most often used and loaded with antioxidants. The most active compounds of ginseng are ginsenosides and gintonin which are responsible for boosting energy, reducing stress, lowering blood sugar, and reducing inflammation.
Gotu kola is widely used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. It contains properties that may boost memory, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety.
Holy basil is a revered plant native to India which has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. Holy basil or tulsi is a mighty adaptogen touted for its ability to stimulate the immune system, reduce anxiety and depression, lower blood sugar and aid in digestion.
Turmeric has been used in Ayurveda and Indian cooking for thousands of years. It contains curcumin which is primarily responsible for its action of boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory and improving memory. An important note about curcumin…it needs to be combined with black pepper which contains piperine to aid in the proper absorption of curcumin.
Tea, last but certainly not least! Tea contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in all teas. Antioxidants help fight free radicals that damage the human body and lead to health issues. Drinking tea may aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol, and increase mental clarity. Scientific studies have found that drinking wellness teas, especially green tea, may boost your immune system, decrease inflammation, and help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and neurological degeneration. These powerful antioxidants have been widely researched and show amazing promise to help protect the body against disease, aging and many other harmful issues that adversely impact our health.
Several key learnings from the course were to verify scientific evidence, third party product validation, potential adverse reactions, and to understand the mode of action for the plant. Below are some helpful resources provided by Cornell to learn more about medicinal plants.
Independent American Botanical Council
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Government Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD)
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
I hope this has been helpful and will encourage you to learn more about some of these remarkable gifts of nature that may improve your health and the quality of your life. There are many others, but the list was getting too long. I would highly recommend reading some of vast amount of scientific research about these and other plants to deepen your understanding. Please feel free to send us a note about how medicinal plants have positively impacted you. We are pleased to offer many of these powerful plants which are all organically sourced. They are hyper linked above or you may poke around our website to learn more. Wishing you good health and peace always.