Around 40% of the nation’s hydration comes in a cup of tea and this great British beverage is an important source of health-enhancing minerals, polyphenols and flavanols. Indeed, tea and herbal infusions deliver a host of healing and health-enhancing properties.
Black tea, the one we drink the most often, provides a brimful of flavonoids and provides around 80% of our overall intake.1 One study concluded that three cups of tea a day has approximately the same antioxidant flavonoid power as eating six apples.2
Another study found that one or two cups of tea has the same “radical scavenging capacity” as five portions of fruit and vegetables and as many of the flavonoids found in tea are several times more potent than Vitamin C or E.3,4
Dr Chris Etheridge, a leading medical herbalist, researcher says: “Tea is such an integral part of British life it is easy to overlook the extraordinary health benefits it brings to the table. Tea is full of antioxidant flavonoids and is a powerful weapon against oxidative stress, which is a factor, many serious health problems.”
And there is now convincing evidence that tea and herbal infusions are tea-rrific as an all-round tonic or a solution to sip for a specific ailment such as nausea, stress or aches and discomfort.
Chris says: “The plant compounds in tea and other herbal infusions have a wide range of proven properties. Many are potent anti-oxidants, some including rosehip, lemon balm, red bush and yerba mate has cholesterol-lowering or vasodilation activity which help protect against heart disease while others, such as ginger and mint are great for nausea and tummy upsets.”
The Tea Advisory Panel has produced a set of factoids on some of the nation’s most popular herbal infusions. Read on to find out more. (For further information on the use of herbal infusions in pregnancy, interactions with medicines and other cautions, check out the full dossiers available from the Tea Advisory Panel).
Here are some health facts about some of these infusions:
1 Lakenbrink C et al. (2000) Flavonoids and other polyphenols in consumer brews of tea and other caffeinated beverages. J Agric Food Chem, 48; 2848-2852
2 Papanga G, et al (1999) The polyphenolic content of fruit and vegetables and their antioxidant activities. What does a serving constitute? Free Rad Res 30(2): 153-162
3 Vinson JA, et al (1995) Plant flavonoids, especially tea flavonols, are powerful antioxidants using an in vitro oxidation model for heart disease. J Agric Food Chem 43 (11):2800-2802
4 Rice- Evans CA, et al (1995) The relative antioxidant activities of plant derived polyphenolic flavonoids. Free Rad Res 2214 (4): 375-383