We all want to look and feel our best, and the New Year is the perfect time to start all those habits that will help us achieve our goals. But an unspoken part of this desire is that we want it to be easy, and we don't want it to feel like work. Fortunately, I have learned a few things over the years about how to incorporate healthy habits without feeling like all the pleasure of life has been sucked out of it. My secret: add healthy things into your daily routine before cutting out the bad stuff. Drink your soda, but drink an equal amount of water at the same time. You will wean yourself off the pop naturally because once you start drinking water, you will realize how nice and clean you feel on the inside; pretty soon you won't be able to tolerate the gunky feeling that comes from drinking soda.
Adding any of these 6 herbal teas to your life will be even more pleasurable than just drinking more water, since all of them taste pretty good, and they also deliver some substantial health benefits. Keep in mind that if your energy has been dragging for a while, you may need to stick with the tea habit for 30 days or longer before you can start seeing results. Sensitive folks might start feeing results rather quickly. Pay attention to your body, and if you’re under a doctor’s care, have a chat with them before starting something that's unfamiliar.
He shou wu – the energy builder
This amazing Chinese tonic herb has a reputation for returning the color to your hair, and restoring an aging body back to its youthful suppleness. While I can’t promise that this will be your experience when you drink he shou wu tea, I can tell you how restorative and energizing this herb is. It helps build the blood, which in turn nourishes and revitalizes your internal organs. Another popular use of he shou wu is to rebuild your energy, especially after prolonged periods of stress to the point of burnout. The herb brews up to a dark rich tea with a mildly sweet and earthy flavor. It blends well with goji berries, dates, or dried apricots, and is especially beneficial for anemia.
Jiao gu lan – the longevity tonic
Less well known than other Chinese tonic herbs, jiao gu lan (aka Gynostemma) contains many of the same compounds that make ginseng root so amazing, but the remarkable thing is that jiao gu lan contains even more of those compounds than ginseng itself. This herb is an adaptogen, and will protect the body from the effects of stress. People drink this tea to build the immune system, support cardiovascular health, and to protect from serious illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. The flavor is naturally sweet, and can be consumed in large amounts.
Enjoy jiao gu lan on its own, or blended with green tea in Ginseng Green Dragon.
Nettle leaf – the kidney tonic
Considered to be a weed throughout much of the world, nettles, aka stinging nettles, is one of the most nutritious herbs you can consume. It makes a rich tea that helps with better hair growth, stronger nails, and more radiant skin. A natural diuretic, nettle tea helps keep the kidneys in top form, which results in your body being able to detoxify itself more efficiently. Nettles is another blood building herb and is ideal for women of all ages, from youth through menopause and beyond. The effects are cumulative; the more you drink it, the better it works, so stick with it.
Hawthorn – the heart tonic
People have been drinking hawthorn tea for over a thousand years. The berries, leaves, and flowers all make a naturally sweet tea that supports the function of your heart, and promotes healthy, normal blood pressure. The berries contain bioflavonoids that help strengthen the blood vessels and connective tissue like your gums and skin. Hawthorn tea is perfect for: anyone over 40, insomniacs with a racing heart, broken hearts, and people with stress-induced high blood pressure. Although it tastes pleasant on its own, you can combine it with chamomile, rosehips, and hibiscus.
Lemon verbena – the stress reducer
Although lemon verbena is native to South America, it has become one of the world’s most beloved beverages. The flavor and aroma is fresh and citrusy (although no relation to actual citrus) and doesn’t become bitter or unpleasant with a long steeping. Lemon verbena tea helps soothe frazzled nerves and promote a feeling of calm and composure. It is used to settle anxiety, and relieve tension and mild headache. This tea may also promote relief of indigestion, especially when caused by stress and emotional upset.
Tulsi – whole body health
Also called holy basil, tulsi is considered to be a sacred herb in India, because of all the health benefits and pleasing flavor. This herb is a cousin to culinary basil, but has unique benefits all its own. Another adaptogen herb, tulsi helps protect both physical and mental health from the negative impact of many types of stress including emotional stress, injury, tissue damage, infection, and illness. Tulsi is high in antioxidants, and is believed to promote relief of inflammation and pain, support the digestive process, and promote clear thinking. It is also commonly used to combat feelings of depression and anxiety.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019!