Despite the heat of what is one of the hottest Middle Eastern summers in years, it is still easy to get sick when moving in and out of air-conditioning. As a child, getting sick always amounted to one thing for me: a visit to Grandma’s house. While other kids went to the doctor, Grandma always had an herbal remedy. Over the years I came to appreciate her herbal wisdom.
Reading tea leaves
Although visits to the doctor are often necessary, tea can reduce those visits with their variety of health benefits from lowered anxiety to enhanced energy. We have listed a few kinds of tea and their potential benefits, though we do encourage that you take your serious symptoms to a specialist:
Chamomile – This is great for calming nerves and lowering anxiety. It is also a blood thinner and so reduces blood pressure, but be careful about using this if you are already on any heart medication. If you have any cardiovascular issues, check with a doctor before using chamomile regularly.
Chamomile also has external uses. It is very soothing for eyes: just take a cotton ball, soak it in warm chamomile tea and put it over your eyes. It can reduce sties as well as redness in tired, overworked eyes.
Ginger – If you have ever suffered from travel sickness, ginger is one of the teas you want to remember. Dating back centuries, ginger has been used to relieve indigestion as well as being a great natural relief for migraines.
Lavender – Not only is this an aphrodisiac, but it is also a muscle relaxant, which makes it an ideal way for reducing stress levels. In fact this is an ideal drink just before going to sleep since it not only relaxes, but also helps fight insomnia.
Lavender is also very soothing in case of a headache. If you are not a fan of drinking tea when you have a headache, there are other options. You can find small bags filled with dried lavender that you place over your closed eyes when you have a headache to relieve the pain.
Nettle leaf – Sometimes what you really need is an immunity boost. Nettle leaf tea can provide just that. Nettles are packed with various vitamins and minerals, including iron, which makes it a great overall tonic.
Rosemary – Not only is this a great spice to add to cooking, but at the end of the day when you know you shouldn’t have another cup of coffee try some rosemary tea. It is a great energy booster as well as being an antioxidant. It was traditionally used as a disinfectant in sick rooms to clean the air, so it is a fantastic method of cleansing your body.
Peppermint – Instead of suffering with endless nausea, which leaves you unable to function throughout the day and unable to sleep at night, keep some peppermint tea handy. It calms the stomach, eases digestion and relieves nausea. As an alternative to tea you can always add a drop of peppermint oil to a glass of water and this will do the trick as well.
Of course it isn’t only when you are unwell that herbal teas are beneficial. There are many teas with various other benefits. So have a wonder around your nearest health food store and see what you can find, but remember to check with your doctor if you are on any other kind of medication.
First image via stevendepolo, Second image via izik
Read more about the uses of herbs:
Cloves In and Out of the Kitchen
PART I: The ABCs of Traditional Middle-Eastern Spice Medicines (A through C)
RECIPE: Soothing, Sensual Rosewater