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By Crystal Baldwin
Nothing feels better during the cold winter months than a gentle, spicy tea to warm the body and calm the tummy. Add a touch of honey or a wedge of lemon to bring out all of the flavors.
The combination of the caffeine free rooibos tea and strongly anti-microbial herbs create a powerful, stimulating and immune boosting powerhouse - good for the gut and immune health.
Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) comes from a shrub (Aspalathus linearis), a traditional South African brew and isn't a true "tea" at all. Rooibos tea has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is naturally decaffeinated, has no calories and contains no tannins (like true black & green tea) which, means it is not bitter tasting. It has a more smooth, slightly sweet, vanilla flavor (red rooibos) and the green tea has a more gentle, slightly herbaceous flavor (green rooibos). Both blend very well with other herbs & spices.
The more traditional "red" rooibos tea is picked, slightly bruised and then fermented to turn the tea a slight reddish color. The unfermented tea makes a "green" colored rooibos tea which is higher in antioxidants and it is what we are using in this recipe.
What makes Rooibos tea so special is the high levels of antioxidants found in the leaves. These polyphenols are chemical compounds that reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, helping to ward off colds & flu. It also has a high mix of vitamins and minerals.
The green, unfermented rooibos contains aspalathin, a antioxidant that researchers have found may have the ability to lower blood sugar and possible work as a anti-diabetic as well as support weight loss.
The quercetin & luteolin content can actively kill cancer cells and prevent tumor growth, and of course the antioxidants can help bring down blood pressure and support heart health. A 2011 study found that rooibos lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) and increased HDL levels (good cholesterol). What's not to love about this tea?
Add in Ginger- another warming, stimulating herb that, calms the digestive tract, reduces inflammation and joint pain, fights obesity, reduces nausea and helps prevent cancer and now we have a powerful cup of tea!
Licorice Root not only tastes naturally sweet and yummy but it also helps with digestion, reduces inflammation and has antiviral and antimicrobial properties making it another great herb choice for cold & flu season. It helps boosts the immune system and soothes an upset stomach! Often used for sore throats, heartburn and indigestion. Be careful if you have HBP as too much licorice root can increase your blood pressure and avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. In small doses licorice is very health boosting.
Orange & Lemon Peel - not only are they antimicrobial but citrus peels are high in antioxidants as well as vitamin C, which helps produce more white blood cells that can fight off infection and helps to protect against cellular damage. They also help with digestion and assist with bowel movements. The vitamin C content supports healthy skin and promotes collagen production, healing wounds and supporting skin elasticity - Not bad for a little fruit in your tea!
Last, but not least is cinnamon (or cassia chips) - another warming, stimulating herb with amazing antimicrobial benefits. You know what else it is loaded with? You guessed it - antioxidants! Do you see a theme with this fabulous cup of tea?
As mentioned antioxidants reduces inflammation & blood sugar, improves heart health, reduces menstrual cramps, aides in weight loss and helps to boost the immune system! Cassia cinnamon in particular contains high levels of coumarins, a group of compounds that help prevent narrowing of blood vessels and can help protect against blood clots. Less than 1/10th a teaspoon is all you need to get all of these benefits. Of course consult your doctor if you take blood thinners.
Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass jar.
To Use: Place 1-2 teaspoons of the tea mixture in your tea strainer, pour boiling water over top and let it steep for 5-15 minutes. For a stronger, medicinal tea steep for 20-45 minutes. You can strain, reheat and drink.
Note – you can try steeping longer for a more intense flavor. Also, make a double batch and refrigerate one cup for the next day- gently reheat and drink. It's best to not keep herbal teas longer than 1-2 days in the fridge as they can start to grow bacteria.
This tea is warming and grounding, a good digestive, and a strong immune stimulant.
The herbs in this blend are very anti-bacterial and anti-viral and because they are stimulating, they will help increase movement of blood and stimulate the lymphatic system, which improves the over-all immune system. Many of the herbs are also good for the digestive system, alleviating bloating, gas, diarrhea and soothing the intestinal tract.
Print Recipe Here
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