Herbal tea steeped in health benefits

Monday, September 5th, 2011 | In Health | Tags: ,

Herbal tea steeped in health benefits
~ Herbal tea steeped in health benefits ~

Herbal teas are a popular means of quick reliefs from a head cold, cough and stomachache but they are more than merely a home remedy. In naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), herbal infusions have long been recognized as effective in treating a wide variety of complaints.

Herbal medicine is also known as phototherapy and it is one of the oldest branches of medicine, the German Naturopathy Association (BDN) reports. It was used to treat illness in antiquity, and herbal medicine is an important element of traditional Chinese medicine.

In China, where it originated, it makes up about 70% of all TCM applications. Medical writings from as early as the fifth century BC describe steeping medicinal herbs in water or wine. After steeping, the entire substance including the plant paste was swallowed. Before Christian era, boiling in water or wine appears to have been customary, after which the decoction was strained and the remaining liquid drunk. Wine was preferred in the middle Ages, probably for hygienic reasons, since clean water was often hard to come by.

It also makes good pharmacological sense because many ingredients dissolve better in alcohol that in water and herbal tea has only been used as a medication and drink in its present from the last 200 years. In modern-day Germany, herbal teas are found in household medicine cabinets, noted Bernhard Uehleke, research coordinator for the Department of Natural Medicine at Charite University Hospital in Berlin.

Herbal teas are much more important in natural medicine. Naturopaths often prescribe Chinese teas as well as preparations of European herbs. Tea’s potential effects should not be underestimated. Many of their water-soluble ingredients can reach dosages as high as those in other medications. The standard herbal teas found in medicine cabinets are perfectly safe, though. People can prepare these medicinal teas themselves.

The ingredients, usually dried flowers or seeds are available in health food shops and pharmacies. There, their quality is guaranteed, in contrast to their counterparts sold in supermarkets.

Information via theSun newspaper.


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