13+ Health Benefits of Tea

Natural teas can treat everything from arthritis to an upset stomach, without the unwanted side effects of over-the-counter medications.

Adapted by Taylor Shea from Kitchen Cabinet Cures (Reader's Digest Association Books)
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    Black Tea

    • Full of tannic acids with strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, black tea can calm diarrhea or bloating by helping the body absorb fluids better.
    • Wet tea bags will also reduce swelling on cuts, bee stings, bug bites, toothaches, or eyes suffering from conjunctivitis. • Poison ivy rash? Soak the area with 3 to 5 black tea bags for itch relief.
    • The alkalines in black tea also neutralize acids and can relieve pain in canker and cold sores; apply a damp, cooled tea bag to the area, repeating 3 to 4 times a day.
    • A black-tea foot soak will also kill bacteria and close pores, helping you sweat less and reduce odor.

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    Green Tea

    • Researchers suspect that polyphenols in green tea may play an important role in cancer prevention, believing they help kill or slow cancer cells' growth. In a study of 472 women with breast cancer, those who drank the most green tea experienced the least spread of the disease. • In skin-cancer studies, lab animals given green tea developed one tenth as many tumors as animals who drank water. • Green tea also has been shown to lower your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke; reduce rates of tooth decay; and stop a decline in mental ability. • When it comes to memory, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that drinking just one cup of green tea a day made folks 55 and older 38 percent less likely to experience a decline in their mental abilities; drinking a second cup daily made them 54 percent less likely to show declines. • Studies have also shown that using green tea as a face wash or compress helps reduce acne blemishes.

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    Mint Tea

    • Mint tea is excellent at stimulating digestion and dispelling gas to ease constipation, nausea, and vomiting. • A study in the Journal of Gastroenterology found that IBS patients taking peppermint-oil capsules for symptom relief experienced an approximately 40 percent greater reduction in abdominal pain and a 50 percent greater reduction in bloating and flatulence than those patients receiving a placebo. Researchers believe it may reduce the gag reflex by anesthetizing the stomach lining. • Drink a cup before each meal to calm your stomach muscles and help food move a little faster, especially if you’re indulging in fatty foods. • Mint tea can also be used to relieve throat pain, refresh achy feet (soak in cooled tea), and clear sinus pain.

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    Chamomile Tea: for stress

    • Sipping chamomile tea or taking a chamomile bath are proven methods to reduce stress and anxiety. • The soothing tea is also a known remedy for sleep disorders and insomnia thanks to its sedative properties. • Chamomile also has antispasmodic properties that help with digestive issues. A cup of tea will reduce menstrual cramps, diarrhea, morning sickness, and general nausea and vomiting. • Researchers believe chamomile contains plant compounds that may lessen the gag reflex. • Chamomile inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Honey also helps fight ulcers, so add a little to your tea to help ulcers heal.

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    Chamomile Tea: for inflammation

    • Strong chamomile tea can be applied to achy, arthritic joints for soothing relief, and to acne, blisters, or boils to reduce pain and redness. • A chamomile compress can also ease the swelling and itch of hives. • Used as a mouthwash, chamomile reduces gum pain and helps heal gingivitis. • Sipping or gargling with chamomile will reduce inflammation if you have a sore throat.

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    Lemon Tea

    • If you suffer from allergies, a cup of hot lemon tea will wake up the hairs in your nose that keep pollen and dust out of your nasal passages, helping to reduce sneezing and coughing throughout the day. Add a little sage, fennel, or anise from your spice rack to boost the effect. • Lemon tea is also very effective as a cold remedy, where the astringent lemon shrinks swollen throat tissue. Add a little honey (a powerful natural antioxidant and antibiotic) to soothe and coat your throat.

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    Ginger: for digestion

    • When it comes to digestive issues, ginger has been used for thousands of years to treat indigestion and diarrhea. Researchers believe it reduces intestinal contractions, neutralizes digestive acids, and curbs the brain’s “vomit center.” Two compounds in ginger also work on the inner ear and central nervous system, reducing dizziness and associated nausea. • Ginger also specifically targets the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, H. pylori. Many swear by ginger tea for morning sickness, menstrual cramps, motion sickness, and as a hangover cure.

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    Ginger: for inflammation

    • Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties make it a great remedy for a cold, the flu, or congestion. Herbalists refer to ginger as a diaphoretic; as it helps you sweat it can help break a fever. • Ginger can also provide pain relief if you suffer from arthritis or tendonitis, and it has also been shown to soothe even the most painful migraine. Drink ginger tea with honey for added antioxidant benefits.

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    Black Pepper Tea

    • This unusual remedy, rooted in New England folk medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, works great for wet coughs. Black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow, while honey is a natural cough reliever and antibiotic. Place 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill with boiling water and let steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and sip as needed.

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    Thyme Tea

    • Thyme is a strong antiseptic, and has been shown to lower the inflammation and pain of arthritis and gout patients. • A thyme-mint tea blend is a great solution to nasal or sinusitis pain, where the thyme calms inflamed sinuses and the mint acts as a natural decongestant. Inhale the steam from the hot thyme-mint tea for maximum effectiveness. • Achy feet? Simmer two tablespoons of dried thyme in a quart of boiling water for 20 minutes, then cool slightly and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

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    Sage Tea

    • Sage is known for its ability to soothe a sore throat and restore one's voice, but this herb also has elements that combat bacteria, viruses, and fungi. For a sore throat or laryngitis, gargle with sage tea or sip a cup that's been heavily sweetened with honey, which has mild antiseptic properties and will also help soothe inflamed, irritated throats. • Sage is also known to help ease night sweats that are associated with menopause.

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    Orange Peel Tea

    • To help relieve diarrhea, make orange peel tea. Peel organic oranges (non-organic might have pesticides or dyes that can make your condition worse) and finely chop the peel, then toss in a pot of boiling water. Cover the pot tightly and steep until cool. Strain, sweeten with honey, and drink.

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    Lemon Balm Tea

    • Herbalists call lemon balm “gladdening herb,” and for centuries this member of the mint family has been used to treat depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders naturally. • Lemon balm also contains two substances that fight herpes. Feel an outbreak coming on? Sip a cup of tea; you can also soak a cotton ball in lemon balm tea and apply it directly to cold sores and blisters in order to speed up healing.

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    Dandelion Tea

    • Dandelion is a strong diuretic and stimulates blood circulation through the kidneys, helping to detox your kidneys and liver naturally. It's a good way to stimulate digestion before or after a big meal. When it comes to kidney health, this weed has been shown to reduce fluid retention resulting from kidney disorders, and also may help speed up the passing of a small kidney stone.

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