7 Herbal Teas to Stay Healthy This Rainy Season
From Tulsi to chamomile: These herbal teas are easy to make and help keep infections at bay.
If you’re an Indian, you are likely to have that favourite snack exclusively reserved for monsoons. And if you’re like most Indians, it’s likely to be something fried accompanied by a cup of steaming hot chai!
The damp, cold weather of the rainy season brings out all our cravings for deep fried food and hot drinks. While they certainly are comforting at the moment, all that oil and sugar isn’t doing your waistline any favours, not to mention your overall health.
But that doesn’t mean you need to give up that comforting cuppa while you sit in the balcony and watch the rain. Just change the contents of the cup, so that it boosts your immunity and heals you from within, while also providing that much needed warmth!
The best option for you during this season is a cup of soothing, aromatic herbal tea. Whatever your monsoon health challenge may be, trust me, there’s a cup of herbal tea out there that’s tailor made for you. Let’s find out which one it is, so you can make it right at home!
If it’s raining, then you have to have ginger – period. This humble everyday spice is secretly a superhero, healing you from within and strengthening you for all seasonal afflictions.
Ginger tackles one of the biggest monsoon problems – sluggish digestion. Another important role ginger has during this season is treating the common cold. It clears up the respiratory tract, soothes the throat and helps with other assorted allergy symptoms.
To make ginger tea: Boil about 250 ml of water and add peeled or grated ginger to it. Cover the cup and let it steep for some minutes. Take out the root and your tea is ready.
When you think of mint or peppermint, the first adjective that comes to mind is ‘refreshing’. It’s no wonder that so many OTC medications use peppermint as one of its ingredients.
Peppermint is perfect to tackle fevers that arise during monsoon. The menthol in peppermint is a natural coolant, and it brings down body temperature by increasing perspiration. It’s also good for digestion and that annoying, itchy sore throat.
To make peppermint tea: Heat some water but don’t let it boil. Crush a few peppermint leaves and put it into an empty cup. Pour the hot water over it. Cover and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove the leaves and drink your tea.
Chamomile has been used for generations, beginning with the ancient Egyptians who considered it the treatment for a variety of ailments.
Chamomile’s main benefit is that it helps to reduce stress and improve sleep, which is the very foundation for good health and immunity. With anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, chamomile also helps fight symptoms of flu and skin infections.
To make chamomile tea: Boil water and turn off the heat. Take an empty cup, put a teaspoon of dried chamomile in it and then pour the slightly cooled boiled water over it. Cover and let it steep for 5-6 minutes. Strain the tea and drink.
Indian basil or Tulsi is regarded as a holy herb, and it has many uses in Ayurveda. Tulsi is something your grandmother is likely to swear by, and it is a one-stop shop for all common monsoon problems.
There is nothing the Tulsi can’t handle. It can treat flu symptoms like fever and headache to digestive issues. It is also good for those with seasonal allergies and respiratory issues. What’s more, tulsi leaves help to build immunity, which is very important during this season.
To make Tulsi tea: Boil a few basil leaves in water for a few seconds. Strain and pour into a cup.
Green tea needs no introduction, considering the immense media attention its getting. There’s even a joke that the only way green tea will help you lose weight is if you go to the mountain and pick it yourself! However, for the health benefits of green tea this season, you don’t need to go anywhere!
The most talked about benefit of green tea is its rich content of antioxidants. These help fight illnesses and also flush out harmful substances from the body. What’s more, it also increases metabolism, which takes a hit during the monsoon.
To make green tea: Put a teaspoon of green tea leaves into a tea strainer. Place the strainer in the cup and pour the hot water over the green tea leaves. Let it sit for a minute. Remove the strainer and your tea is ready to drink.
White tea is the tea that comes in its most original form, with least processing. A very delicately flavoured tea, many people are unaware of its rich benefits which often get overshadowed by those of green tea.
In reality, white tea contains three times as many antioxidants as green tea, which means thrice the benefits! White tea helps to maintain overall health during this season when our general immunity and well being dips. It improves skin, calms the nerves and offers a burst of energy just when needed.
To make white tea: Place a teaspoon of white tea leaves into an empty cup and pour warm water over it. Let it steep for about five minutes. Strain and drink. Soft water of a warm temperature is recommended, to enjoy the delicate flavour of white tea.
Red Oolong Tea
What looks pretty, refreshes you and makes you look good? Both rose and oolong have their own individual benefits for the monsoon season, and combining them together gives you a winner of a recipe.
With its higher caffeine content, oolong is perfect for a burst of energy on gloomy days, increasing alertness and enthusiasm. It also contains loads of antioxidants that keep the body healthy. Roses help clear the skin, flushing out toxins and helping to clear a sore throat.
To make rose oolong tea: Use water that is hot but not boiling. Place a tablespoon of rose petals and 2 tablespoons of oolong tea in an empty cup. Pour water over it and let it steep for 3-5 minutes. You can strain if you like, but the petals in the glass give the tea a pretty look.
You can make minor modifications to these recipes to suit your taste. You can add a dash of lemon and some honey to sweeten up your tea. Sugar and milk are not recommended, as they can interfere with the benefits of the tea. You can also combine ingredients – like ginger and mint, for instance.
While generally safe, some herbal teas may cause trouble for pregnant women, so it’s best to ask your doctor first before consuming the tea. Most herbs are safe for kids too, but if your child has a family history of allergy, it is advisable to ask your paediatrician first.
(Pratibha Pal spent her childhood in idyllic places only fauji kids would have heard of. She grew up reading a variety of books that let her imagination wander and still hopes to come across the Magic Faraway Tree. When she's not rooting for eco-living or whipping up some DIY recipes to share with her readers, Pratibha is creating magic with social media. You can view her blog at www.pratsmusings.com or reach to her on Twitter at @myepica.)
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