Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, outlines five popular types of tea and their health benefits.
Herbal teas offer a range of therapeutic properties. But with so many types of tea out there, it can be challenging to boil down the list to find the right one for your concern. (See what we did there?)
Follow this guide on tea benefits the next time you want to prepare a home remedy.
5 Types of Tea and Their Benefits to Ease Everyday Ailments
1. Peppermint Tea
- seasonal allergies
Peppermint tea is one of the most widely studied therapeutic teas, and it walks the walk. Middle Eastern and European cultures have used it as a home remedy for centuries. Thankfully, research on the medicinal benefits of peppermint continues to validate these traditions. Peppermint tea provides antiviral, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiallergenic benefits to the body.
The most common therapeutic use of peppermint tea is for digestive-related ailments like indigestion, gas, and bloating. As per a 2002 study, peppermint tea can help reduce digestion-related abdominal pain through muscle relaxation.
This muscle-relaxing mechanism also helps relieve headaches when consumed as tea or applied topically as an essential oil. (Additionally, chewing peppermint leaves is widely recognized for reducing nausea.)
Indulging in a meal that may cause an upset stomach? Complement it with a warm cup of peppermint tea to ease indigestion.
2. Oolong Tea
- brain fog
- skin irritation related to eczema and dermatitis
This Fujian native tea is purportedly named after the man who discovered oolong leaves centuries ago. Since then, oolong tea drinkers have benefited greatly in terms of cognitive function and skin health. Today, researchers continue to study the in-vitro effects of oolong tea.
Like other herbal teas, the polyphenolic makeup of the leaves provides therapeutic benefits. In fact, a 2010 study found that oolong tea drinkers had improved memory and processed information at a much higher rate than their non-tea drinking counterparts.
Next, oolong tea is saturated with beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants. As a result, drinking oolong tea can ease skin irritation caused by eczema and dermatitis. A 2001 study found that participants with atopic dermatitis who drank oolong tea showed moderate skin improvement in as little as two weeks.
Drinking a cup of oolong tea may help you stay sharp before an important exam.
3. Green Tea
- skin irritation
- wound healing
Hailing from China and greater East Asia, green tea is one of the oldest documented (and most beloved) therapeutic teas. The medicinal properties of green tea are attributed to its blend of polyphenols, flavonoids, and caffeine.
In short, green tea may help heal burns and wounds faster. The antiseptic properties of green tea can also help calm the skin from bug bites and other rashes.
Going on a hike or camping trip? Pack a few teabags of your favorite unsweetened green tea. If an insect bites you, soak the teabags in water and apply the compresses to the irritated area.
4. Lemon Balm Tea
- cold sores
Though stress can induce a number of ailments, tea can be a natural antidote.
According to a 2014 study, lemon balm tea is regarded as a “modulator of mood and cognitive function.” Simply put, a warm cup of lemon balm tea may actually help you feel happier. Additionally, it can help you become more resilient to stress and avoid consequential ailments.
Furthermore, lemon balm has an anti-herpetic effect. Cold sores—a strain of the herpes simplex virus (HSV)—may flare up when you’re overwhelmed. By helping to ease your stress response, lemon balm tea may reduce the incidence of stress-induced flareups. Similar to peppermint, lemon balm contains antiviral properties thanks to rosmarinic acid, its superhero phenolic compound.
Lastly, lemon balm tea’s anxiolytic (anti-stress) properties also make it the perfect drink to combat insomnia. Evidence-based findings show that lemon balm tea extract may help with sleep disturbances and overall stress reduction.
Brew lemon balm tea to help prevent stress-related ailments.
5. Ginger Tea
- the common cold
- PMS-related symptoms
Packed with antioxidants, this 5,000-year-old Southeast Asian drink is great to have in your pantry year round. In particular, ginger tea can become your go-to remedy during cold season or when that time of the month rolls around.
Ginger is a safe, natural alternative to medicine. It helps fight the common cold due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger consists of two anti-inflammatory compounds—6-gingerol and gingerdiones—that work together to relieve pain.
Keep ginger tea on hand when the first signs of the common cold and PMS pains kick in.
Remember, you can use different types of tea to naturally ease everyday ailments. However, you should always check with your doctor before starting a new treatment plan, modifying your medication routine, or if symptoms worsen.