I grew up with the cursed yellow teabags. Lipton sun tea, Celestial Seasonings Orange Spice, super mainstream grocery store findings. I thought I hated tea and didn’t really consider it until I was 25 when I decided I would make better choices for my health. Fortunately, at the time I was working at a health food/supplement shop and had access to a broader variety of choices.
Since I’ve come to love and lose a variety of teas, mostly specialty or imported, and my collection is ever-evolving. 52teas ultimately shifted my trajectory and helped me move past some of my preexisting biases, particularly with regards to herbal and oolong teas. Now I hardly ever go for the “flavored” varieties, but it was an important step for me to realize the difference between quality and stuff that’s mass-produced and sitting in a box past the expiration date (as in actually gone bad, not aged).
Some of the herbal teas I like for wellness include:
According to HealthNotes, Sage may have benefits for Alzheimer’s Disease, Gingivitis, indigestion, menopause (phytoestrogens), cold/sore throat, halitosis, and infections.
Lemon Balm may help with cold sores, Alzheimer’s Disease, Herpes, hyperthyroidism, indigestion, infection, insomnia and nerve pain. Per WebMD, “Early research shows that taking a single dose of lemon balm increases calmness and alertness in adults under mental stress. Other early research shows that adding lemon balm to a food or drink reduces anxiety and improves memory and alertness during mental testing.”
May be used for anxiety, eczema, gingivitis, wound healing, canker sores, conjunctivitis, Crohn’s Disease, diarrhea, gastritis, gingivitis, indigestion/heartburn, insomnia, IBS, peptic ulcers, and Ulcerative Colitis.
Can be useful for IBS, gingivitis, indigestion/heartburn, IBS, postherpetic neuralgia, tension headache (this one!), and possibly candidiasis, colic, cold and sore throat, gallstones, halitosis, lower back pain and poison oak/ivy.
Tulsi shows some possible benefits for asthma, type 2 diabetes, and treating poison oak/ivy. Per WebMD, it’s also potentially beneficial for stress and anxiety regulation, “Known as an adaptogen herb, holy basil has several components that may help reduce mental stress that comes from physical, environmental, and emotional triggers. Holy basil may have a direct influence on cortisol hormones that circulate in the blood, helping to balance the adrenal glands and reduce excess cortisol.”
Per HealthNotes, Ashwagandha can be beneficial for Osteroarthritis, immune function (!), and stress. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who requires immunomodulation, though in the past I had used it for stress/anxiety and felt there were benefits. WebMD lists several other benefits though to date those have lower correlation.
* For either the Ashwagandha or Tulsi, I strongly suggest checking with your physician to see if it’s appropriate for your particular situation.
HealthNotes suggests there are benefits with Valerian for insomnia, anxiety and pain. This was one of the first supplements recommended to me by my neurologist after I was diagnosed.
Rhodiola was also suggested to me by my care team for management of stress and anxiety, though HealthNotes also shows there might be benefit for athletic performance and endurance, mental performance and fatigue as well. Per WebMD, ” Early research suggests that rhodiola might decrease fatigue in stressful situations. A specific rhodiola extract seems to decrease fatigue and increase a sense of well-being in students taking exams, night-shift workers, and sleep-deprived military cadets.”
This article also shows “Early evidence suggests that specific rhodiola extract might lower anxiety and depression in people with a condition called generalized anxiety disorder.”
I believe all of the above are available as herbal supplements separate from tea, though generally the teas are really pleasant and for some people who prefer not swallow pills (or those who cannot), these provide some alternative options.
For those not looking at herbal teas for medicinal benefits, Camellia Sinensis (standard tea leaf) has a lot of benefits independently. Green tea, black, white, oolong and pu-erh tea all contain flavonoids (antioxidants), including ECGC, that can “help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries“, and all contain varying levels of caffeine, which yay, caffeine.
Some tea vendors I particularly like include:
I live for Den’s green teas, of those, particularly their sencha, and very specifically Genmaicha Extra Green with Matcha, and I’m super excited to try their Honyama Oolong next go.
My favorite accessible budget option. I’m currently feeling their Milky Oolong and traditional Ti Quan Yin (although I’m sure I can find a more authentic source).
For something really different 52Teas has a lock. My all-time favorites (including the one that turned me onto oolong) are Maple Cheesecake Oolong, Strawberry Zabaglione, and their Pancake Breakfast Black Tea.
I don’t drink ROT anymore, it’s not that I dislike them I just haven’t really enjoyed them nearly as much as anything else in my stash in a long while. Their Almond Vanilla and Wild Blueberry black teas turned me onto “real” tea, well before I found 52Teas. I think for the quantity and quality they’re a good starting point for a tea-newbie.
My go-to shop for herbal teas. They offer both affordable medicinal blends and straight-forward single-herb infusions.
This is where I’ve gone for my Tulsi/Holy Basil tea. Pretty much only them. I love the original Tulsi formula as well as the Tulsi Green tea for my typical use (though I do recall really enjoying their Jasmine as well). With their green tea, I follow the package directions, then add another ounce or so of cold water once finished steeping, it takes some of the tannic bitterness out of the tea.
Planning to try:
I’ve heard lovely things about their Milk Oolong.
Presumably fancy, The O dor is a french tea house in Paris, someday I fully intend to drop a ton of cash on some assortment of Acte II, Thé du Loup, J’Aime Vert, Je T’Aime and Oolong Milky (if you haven’t noticed a theme).