Today, tea is increasingly becoming a beverage of the health conscious. Although, consumed for centuries in China, it was introduced into the world only in the late twentieth century as well as its ingestion spread quickly as people were drunk by its exotic aromas and subtle, mellow flavors. Today, a new breed of tea drinkers are increasing, that are consuming it for its medicinal properties. Though its medicinal benefits were recorded in Chinese history for centuries, only recently have research confirmed a number of them. Green green, green tea and herbal tea are being marketed as the best health drinks. Yet, the herbal tea isn’t really a tea in any way!
That’s right! Herbal tea, also called tisane, is an herbal extract made from anything but the leaves of the Camellia sinensis (or the tea bush)! Herbal tea is made of flowers (fresh or dried), roots, leaves or seeds by pouring boiling water over them and letting it steep for sometime. Alternatively, they may also be boiled together over a fire in a pot. The herbal tea is then strained and served. It possibly sweetened if required.
Various kinds of herbal tea are observed in the current market, some because of its medicinal benefits and some because of its intoxicating smells. Some firms even promote herbal tea in tea bags. The term herbal tea is used mainly in the Americas to refer to linden, or lime leaf tea. Yet, there are many hundreds of varieties of herbal tea that have been quite common in the regions where they’re found. It would do us no harm to get to know about some of them.
Tea Around The World
There are lots of herbal tea that are unique to a region and a few which are found throughout the world. Herbal tea has been very common in Asia over the centuries, particularly in China and Japan. Some of the favorite Asian herbal tea are the Yuen Kut Lam Kam Wo Tea (made in Hong Kong and made up of thirty Chinese herbs), the Mugicha (which can be drunk cold in summer and very similar in taste to coffee), Cannabis (used in the preparation of Bhang in India), the Sugnyung (or toasted rice from Korea), the Tan Ngan Lo Medicated Tea (ready in the twentieth century with a Chinese), and the Ho Yan Hor Herbal Tea (made from twenty four natural herbs in Korea).
Herbal tea is, and was, very common in the Americas as well, particularly amongst the native tribes. Some popular ones are the Mate (shrubs grown in Brazil and Argentina), Lapacho (which is the inner lining of the bark of the Lapacho tree found in Amazonian forests and has many health benefits), Essiac (a native American herbal tea), Cerasse (a bitter herb found in Jamaica), and the Uncaria tomentosa (a woody vine found in the Amazonian forests and used to treat many ailments).
Besides these, the Rooibos (a red plant indigenous to South Africa), the Honeybush (closely associated with the Rooibos, but sweeter), the Bissap (consumed in the Saharas), the Hibiskus (in the Middle East), the Greek Mountain Tea (located in the Mediterranean and used to treat colds), the Rumianek (grown in Germany and used as a sedative), and the Horehound (famous for its effectiveness in lung troubles and increased in Britain) are very popular kinds of herbal tea.
The above collection of herbal tea though lengthy, isn’t exhaustive. In actuality, if one started of with even all of the popular herbal tea, it might encounter pages. Though, the varieties of herbal tea mentioned above clearly show something, that herbal tea is anything but tea.