Herbal infusions, while sometimes referred to as “herbal tea," aren’t actually tea at all. Tea made from herbs, flowers, and spices, rather than with leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, are more properly called herbal infusions or tisanes. While you can still call them herbal teas, these brews are naturally caffeine-free, and can also differ in other ways from their camellia sinensis counterparts.
Herbal teas have been used for centuries to promote health and wellness, and can soothe everything from a scratchy throat to sore muscles. These herbal concoctions are prominent in Chinese medicine, ayurveda, and folk remedies from all over the world.
Herbal Health Benefits
While herbal teas typically don’t contain as many antioxidants as tea made from the camellia sinensis plant, they have a wealth of other beneficial properties. Herbal teas are great for hydration, and can be a great way to ensure that your water intake is up to snuff. Herbal teas also contain many ingredients with beneficial properties in their own right, like ginger, mint, hibiscus, and lavender. Herbal teas can be a great way to reduce stress and develop a bedtime ritual that allows you to relax and unwind.
There are a wide variety of herbal teas readily available, some even made from flowers, herbs, and other plants that you can find in your own backyard. Flowers like lavender, chamomile, and rose compose a variety of different herbal teas. Hibiscus, which brews up a vibrant magenta color and has a wealth of health benefits, is another common ingredient in herbal teas. Mint-based herbal teas are also very popular.
There are also several kinds of herbal tea that are common enough to merit their own category. Rooibos is an herbal tea grown in South Africa’s Western Cape region. Dutch for “red bush,” rooibos is sometimes also called red tea. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, and has a rich, slightly sweet flavor. Rooibos is the base for many of our caffeine-free teas, including Rooibos Chai and Earl Grey Rooibos.
Yerba mate is a type of tea made from the leaves and stems of the holly plant ilex paraguariensis and is native to South America. Sometimes known as “drink of the gods” or “drink of friendship,” mate was first discovered and prepared by the indigenous Guarani people. While mate does contain caffeine, many people experience it differently than they experience caffeine in tea or coffee. It’s extremely popular in countries like Chile and Argentina, where it is celebrated for its warming, stimulating properties. Traditionally, yerba mate is best when shared with friends!