Herbal tea

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Herbal tea made from hibiscus beginning to steep

Herbal teas — less commonly[1] called herb teas or tisanes (UK and US /tɪˈzæn/, US also /tɪˈzɑːn/)[2][3][4] — and fruit teas are beverages made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, fruits, or other plant material in hot water. They do not usually contain caffeine.[5]

The tea industry often confusingly uses the term fruit tea to refer to what are in fact fruit-flavored black teas, not fruit teas.

Herbal teas and fruit teas should not be confused with true teas (e.g., black, green, white, yellow, oolong), which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis), as well as from decaffeinated tea, in which the caffeine has been removed.

Like beverages made from true teas, herbal teas can be served hot or cold. Documents have been recovered dating back to ancient Egypt and ancient China that discuss the enjoyment and uses of herbal teas.[citation needed] Among the Chinese, herbal teas are commonly known as liang cha (Chinese: 涼茶; pinyin: liáng chá; Jyutping: loeng4 caa4).

Etymology[edit]

Herbal tea in a glass teapot and cup

Some feel that the term tisane is more correct than herbal tea or that the latter is even misleading, but most dictionaries record that the word tea is also used to refer to other plants beside the tea plant and to beverages made from these other plants.[6][7] In any case, the term herbal tea is very well established and much more common than tisane.[1]

The word tisane was rare in its modern sense before the 20th century, when it was borrowed in the modern sense from French. (This is why some people feel it should be pronounced /tɪˈzɑːn/ as in French, but the original English pronunciation /tɪˈzæn/ continues to be more common in US English and especially in UK English).[2][3][4]

The word had already existed in late Middle English in the sense of "medicinal drink" and had already been borrowed from French (Old French). The Old French word came from the Latin word ptisana, which came from the Ancient Greek word πτισάνη (ptisanē), which meant "peeled" barley, in other words pearl barley, and a drink made from this that is similar to modern barley water.[8]

Health risks[edit]

As herbal teas can be composed of any plant material, including some plants that are known to be toxic, the specific ingredients must be checked individually for health and safety. Most retail herbal teas sold as beverages could be considered safe, but medicinal herbal teas could easily contain herbs that cause damage in large amounts.

While most herbal teas are safe for regular consumption, some herbs have toxic or allergenic effects. Among the greatest causes of concern are:

Herbal teas can also have different effects from person to person, and this is further compounded by the problem of potential misidentification. The deadly foxglove, for example, can be mistaken for the much more benign (but still relatively toxic to the liver) comfrey.

The UK does not require herbal teas to have any evidence concerning their efficacy, but does treat them technically as food products and require that they be safe for consumption.

Contamination[edit]

Depending on the source of the herbal ingredients, herbal teas, like any crop, may be contaminated with pesticides or heavy metals.[9][10] According to Naithani & Kakkar (2004), "all herbal preparations should be checked for toxic chemical residues to allay consumer fears of exposure to known neuro-toxicant pesticides and to aid in promoting global acceptance of these products".[9]

During pregnancy[edit]

In addition to the issues mentioned above which are toxic to all people, several medicinal herbs are considered abortifacients, and if consumed by a pregnant woman could cause miscarriage. These include common ingredients like nutmeg, mace, papaya, bitter melon, verbena, saffron, slippery elm, and possibly pomegranate. It also includes more obscure herbs, like mugwort, rue, pennyroyal, wild carrot, blue cohosh, tansy, and savin.[medical citation needed]

Popularity[edit]

Baskets of dried hibiscus for making karkade, or "hibiscus tea", a popular herbal tea worldwide

In Egypt, herbal teas such as hibiscus tea (karkade) are very popular. They are served in teahouses (ahwas).

In China, the traditional Chinese medicine approach is used in formulating natural herbal teas and they are very popular in enhancing health and addressing core issues within the body; e.g. formulated recipes like hawthorn plus oolong / pu-er are used to address the high fat level in the bloodstream.[citation needed] The Chinese term liang cha, means "cooling tea", and the Chinese drink it to cool down the body when it has become overheated due to weather or sickness.

In Sri Lanka, herbal teas have a long history within the local tradition of indigenous medicine. Iramusu (Smilax regelii), beli (Bael), ranawara (Senna auriculata), polpala (Aerva lanata), weniwel (Coscinium fenestratum), and kothala-himbutu (Salacia reticulata) are among the many plant species used to make herbal teas, which are used to treat a wide variety of ailments. The widely used "paspanguwa" (translated as five-portions) is a common local remedy for colds and fever containing the five ingredients pathpadagam (Mollugo cerviana), katuwelbatu (Solanum virginianum), koththamalli (coriander seed), thippili (long pepper), and inguru (ginger), often served with a sweetener of sugar or jaggery.

Composition[edit]

Herbal teas can be made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots, generally by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. Seeds and roots can also be boiled on a stove. The herbal tea is then strained, sweetened if so desired, and served. Many companies produce herbal tea bags for such infusions.

Major varieties[edit]

While varieties of herbal teas are defined as any plant material for infusion, below is a list of common herbs:

Ayurvedic tea[edit]

Ayurvedic tea is made of Ayurvedic herbs like Agya Ghas, Yeshtimadhu, Tulasi etc. Various pharmacies have come up with their products using different combinations of Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurvedic tea has also been found to contain nutrients including calcium, potassium, vanadium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google Ngram Viewer
  2. ^ a b Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  3. ^ a b Collins Dictionary
  4. ^ a b American Heritage Dictionary
  5. ^ "Herbal tea at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  6. ^ Merriam-Webster.com
  7. ^ Oxford Living Dictionaries
  8. ^ Oxford Living Dictionaries
  9. ^ a b Naithani, V; Kakkar, P (2004). "An evaluation of residual organochlorine pesticides in popular Indian herbal teas". Archives of Environmental Health. 59 (8): 426–30. doi:10.3200/AEOH.59.8.426-430. PMID 16268119. 
  10. ^ Naithani, V; Kakkar, P (2005). "Evaluation of heavy metals in Indian herbal teas". Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology. 75 (1): 197–203. doi:10.1007/s00128-005-0738-4. PMID 16228893. 
  11. ^ "Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita)". herbwisdom.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Bhaskaran N, Shukla S, Srivastava JK, Gupta S (2010). "Chamomile: an anti-inflammatory agent inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by blocking RelA/p65 activity". International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 26 (6): 935–40. PMC 2982259Freely accessible. PMID 21042790. 
  13. ^ Tayel AA, El-Tras WF (2009). "Possibility of fighting food borne bacteria by egyptian folk medicinal herbs and spices extracts". The Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association. 84 (1–2): 21–32. PMID 19712651. 
  14. ^ Jenkins AJ, Llosa T, Montoya I, Cone EJ (1996). "Identification and quantitation of alkaloids in coca tea". Forensic Science International. 77 (3): 179–89. doi:10.1016/0379-0738(95)01860-3. PMC 2705900Freely accessible. PMID 8819993. 
  15. ^ "As ginseng prices soar, diggers take to the backcountry". Fox News. 2012-09-28. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  16. ^ C.J. van Gelderen; D.M. van Gelderen. 2004. Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas. Timber Press. 280 p.
  17. ^ Pittler MH, Ernst E (2000). "Efficacy of kava extract for treating anxiety: systematic review and meta-analysis". Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 20 (1): 84–9. doi:10.1097/00004714-200002000-00014. PMID 10653213. 
  18. ^ Volz HP, Kieser M (1997). "Kava-kava extract WS 1490 versus placebo in anxiety disorders--a randomized placebo-controlled 25-week outpatient trial". Pharmacopsychiatry. 30 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1055/s-2007-979474. PMID 9065962. 
  19. ^ Suwanlert, Sangun (1975). "A Study of Kratom Eaters in Thailand". Bulletin on Narcotics. 27 (3): 21–27. PMID 1041694. 
  20. ^ Jansen KL, Prast CJ (1988). "Ethnopharmacology of kratom and the Mitragyna alkaloids". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 23 (1): 115–9. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(88)90121-3. PMID 3419199. 
  21. ^ Sienkiewicz M, Łysakowska M, Ciećwierz J, Denys P, Kowalczyk E (2011). "Antibacterial activity of thyme and lavender essential oils". Medicinal Chemistry. 7 (6): 674–89. doi:10.2174/157340611797928488. PMID 22313307. 
  22. ^ http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=56f1e582-807c-43bb-b680-98e13852199f[full citation needed]
  23. ^ Boullata JI, Nace AM (2000). "Safety issues with herbal medicine". Pharmacotherapy. 20 (3): 257–69. doi:10.1592/phco.20.4.257.34886. PMID 10730682. 
  24. ^ A. Kumar; A.G.C. Nair; A.V.R. Reddy; A.N. Garg (2005). "Analysis of essential elements in Pragya-peya—a herbal drink and its constituents by neutron activation". Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis. 37 (4): 631–828. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2004.11.051. 

External links[edit]

  • Learning materials related to infusion maker at Wikiversity
  • Media related to tisanes at Wikimedia Commons