We live very stressful lives. The never-ending schedules force us to skip meals, multi-task and include more than we can conclude in a single day. Some of us burn out, others turn to retail therapy or escapism to make them feel better. They unwind with the activities of hanging out with friends, having drinks at a bar, gym workouts and really just following through with casual things and it brings them joy.
Finding a healthy habit that boosts your wellness and brings some meditative routine order into your life really helps to slow things down and reduce our stress. If we may, allow us to recommend tisanes.
Tisanes are otherwise known as herbal teas. In the whole world of teas, they aren’t “true teas”. True teas are the ones made from the Camellia Sinensis plant (black, green, white, yellow, dark, or oolong teas). While tisanes have been in the world for centuries and are treasured in the cultures where they are consumed for their medicinal properties, they haven’t received the kind of positive PR that traditional teas have (thanks British colonialism). We are here to correct that and put you on.
What are some popular tisanes?
Tisanes are herbal infusions categorized into leaf, flower, bark, root, seed, spice, fruit/berry tisanes. For this article, the focus is on leaf tisanes. Here are five leaf tisanes you can begin with:
- Moringa leaf tea
- Scent leaf tea
- Mango leaf tea
- Curry leaf tea
- Lemongrass tea
Where can I find these?
You can find these leaves in any food market or supermarket. Just ask for the name and make your purchase. You can also make your own by collecting the roots, leaves, stems and barks of the various plants that these teas are made from, drying and then boiling them yourself (we’d recommend you find a tutorial instead of experimenting yourself). If the plant doesn’t belong to anyone, you can take proper care in harvesting it to make your tea.
How much do they cost?
If you’re like me, they’ll cost you zero because I have a small patch where I nurture these plants at home. You can too. These plants tend to thrive with little to no effort.
At the supermarket, they’re often prepped and bagged so they can cost anything from N1,000 – N5,000 depending on the grams/kilograms. In the food market, they’ll cost significantly less, and you can get more. You can find them for anything between N200 – N1500. This still depends on the quantity you want to buy.
What are the benefits of tisanes
For starters, they’re caffeine free. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can cause insomnia, increased heart rate, nausea, restlessness, anxiety and other side effects when consumed frequently.
Tisanes on the other hand have had a large impact in traditional healing methods and overall self-care. These leaf teas share similar properties and results. They are rich in essential nutrients like iron, vitamins, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, fiber, carbohydrates and magnesium. They naturally boost energy, immunity, circulation, reduce bloating and generally improve bodily functions.
However, each kind of tisane has specific properties that offer peculiar nutritional or medicinal value.
Moringa leaf tea:
This tea is popular for its detoxifying properties. It contains high levels of antioxidants which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and support the liver’s natural detoxification processes. It’s a good option to start your day.
Scent leaf tea: All my girlies need to step in here. While menstrual cramps vary from woman to woman, scent leaf tea contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can make cramps more bearable (or take them away, if you experience mild cramps). It’s also known to regulate menstrual flow and balance hormonal levels.
Mango leaf tea: This is a surprise member of the group. For many years, people have eaten mangoes but ignored the leaves. Research has shown that mango leaves are indeed one to take note of. This tea is a natural remedy for regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining weight.
Curry leaf tea: This tea is the star remedy for constipation and diarrh0ea. In some cases, nausea. It stimulates digestive enzymes, supports bowel movement and promotes overall digestive health. It’s the feel good tea for when your body just feels stuffed for whatever reason.
Lemongrass tea: This tea is the sleeping remedy. It has sedative and calming effects that soothe the mind and promote relaxation and aid sleep. Drinking before bedtime may put you at ease, calm your heart and improve the quality of your sleep.
How can I prepare this tea?
Your leaf tea can be used either fresh or dried. That’ll depend on your preference.
The first step is to wash your leaves. Washing helps you rid the leaves of dirt or dust that may have gathered from the place of collection. To wash, gently rinse your leaves under cool water and pat them dry with a towel. If you purchased from a supermarket, chances are, it has been cleaned. However, it is still recommended to give them a quick rinse to remove any residue. Note: using salt and vinegar to wash isn’t needed.
Leaf teas should be prepared either by infusion aka steeping (which involves pouring hot water onto the leaves in a cup) or decoction (which involves boiling the plants in water directly). The former is preferred, but it can work either way especially when it concerns mango leaf tea or lemongrass tea as those leaves are tougher in nature.
Overall, it’s a simple two to three step process of prepping, steeping/boiling and pouring to drink. Remember to strain before drinking. Or if you’re extra like my mother, drink with the leaves settled at the bottom of the cup. They’re also safe for chewing. But that’s a whole other level.
Top tip: You can add to your lead tea experience by adding honey or other tissues like ginger to the mix for extra flavour and added effects.
When are leaf teas best taken?
Anytime of the day! As very healthy options, they can be taken anytime of the day. Some health experts will advise you to take these before eating anything first thing in the morning and others will say they’re best taken at night before bed. The one thing to note is that: any time of the day clearly is the answer.
How frequently do I take leaf teas?
Every day, if you choose. Herbal teas bring both energy and calmness. You can try a lot of supplements and none of them will work for you because somehow, you need to go back to nature. These teas can brighten your day and bring you the deepest level of nourishment. The best part about it is that they’re light (compared to other drinks) and can introduce you into a simple healthy ritual.
Top tip: Individual response to herbal teas vary. If you have specific concerns or underlying health conditions, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance. Herbal teas aren’t to be relied on as self-medication. Yes, they provide a great level of relief, but professional consultation and recommendations is top tier with issues of concern.