AS Brits spend more and more time drinking exotic tea, we find out which brew is best for which ailment.
1 — THE HANGOVER CURE: GINGER
The morning after you’ve had five too many proseccos, it’s tempting to hit the coffee.
But a ginger tea will help you rehydrate and quell nausea (it can even be used to soothe morning sickness).
And if the fear about what really happened last night sets in, try combining ginger with camomile, which is proven to relax nerves.
“Make a camomile brew with a few shavings of fresh ginger and a drop of honey first thing, and it’ll set you on the road to recovery,” says nutritionist Rick Hay.
SPECIAL BREW Twinings Spiced Ginger, £1.50 for 20 bags
2 — THE IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTER: ROOIBOS
Authentic rooibos tea only grows in southern Africa, where it’s been used for centuries to treat allergies, asthma and skin issues.
“Rooibos has immune-boosting properties thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients,” says Rick.
“And it’s a great alternative to black tea as it contains significantly less tannin, which it’s believed could inhibit minerals being absorbed by the body.”
SPECIAL BREW Tick Tock Rooibos Tea, £2.15 for 40 bags
3 — THE TUMMY TAMER: PEPPERMINT
It’s not an old wives’ tale; peppermint tea really can ease irritable bowel syndrome.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide discovered peppermint targets an anti-pain channel in the colon, which can be triggered by spicy foods.
“The menthol relaxes muscles throughout the digestive tract,” says Rick. “IBS sufferers shouldn’t have more than two or three cups a day, though, as too much can irritate the stomach further.”
If you have heartburn or indigestion, herbal liquorice will soothe irritation, too.
SPECIAL BREW Asda Peppermint & Liquorice, 74p for 20 bags
4 — THE POST GYM TONIC: TURMERIC
Not just an Instagrammable foodie fad, the South-East Asian spice can ease muscle soreness after exercise.
“Turmeric gets its yellow colour from curcumin, which works as an anti-inflammatory, helping tissue repair itself,” says nutritional therapist Shona Wilkinson.
SPECIAL BREW Pukka Turmeric Gold, £2.49 for 20 bags
5 — THE METABOLISM JUMP-STARTER: GREEN TEA
“There is evidence green tea can help speed up how quickly we burn fat,” says Shona.
Yep, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, a chemical that prevents the gut from absorbing some sugars and fats.
“But as it’s packed with antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing, it’s also just a great all-round health booster,” Shona adds. “Matcha green tea is a powdered form made from the tips of the tea plant and considered the best quality.”
SPECIAL BREW Bloom Brainboost Matcha green tea powder, £16.99 for 30g
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6 — THE INSOMNIA RELIEVER: VALERIAN
Another Scandi thing to love. Valerian tea has been used in Norway for years, and now doctors in the US are using it to treat insomnia – hoping to help patients avoid sleeping pills.
“It acts like a mild sedative, and most people find it more powerful than camomile tea, with none of the groggy feeling sleeping tablets give the morning after,” says Shona.
As soon as you start experiencing troubled sleep, try drinking the tea. “Unfortunately if you’ve been struggling with poor sleep for years, it won’t be a magic fix, so see your GP,” says Rick.
SPECIAL BREW Dr Stuart’s Valerian Plus, £2.35 for 15 bags
7 — THE PERIOD PAIN SOOTHER: FENNEL
Fennel can reduce period pain, as research shows it has a similar anti-cramping effect to medication such as ibuprofen.
“I’ve seen really good results with my patients,” says Shona. “But drink it throughout the month rather than just when the pain hits, because the effects are cumulative.”
SPECIAL BREW Heath & Heather Organic Fennel Tea, £2.25 for 20 bags