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Liquid Healing: Herbal Teas to Fight Inflammation

by Julie Daniluk, R.H.N

Let’s face it: chronic pain may be directly affected by the foods you eat on a daily basis.

Take white sugar, which I’ll compare to a debit card. When you “insert” white sugar into your body, you have to cough up the funds in your account, such as B vitamins and chromium, to complete your transaction (that is, to metabolize it). Over time, your repeated consumption of white sugar depletes your account of nutrients. If you fail to continually replenish your vitamin and mineral reserves, you may end up with an overdrawn account. As a result, you will lack the necessary nutrients for keeping inflammation in2 check.

In order to reduce chronic pain and other health problems, we need to steer clear of inflammatory choices such as white sugar, harmful fats and processed foods, replacing them with healthy choices such as natural, unrefined sweeteners, healing fats, and anti-inflammatory vegetables. It may not be easy to start, especially since we’re conditioned from birth to eat in a certain way. But if we retrain our palates and taste buds and return to the diets of our ancestors, great rewards await.

Remember, so much of our healing is in the mind. By eating healthy every day, you’re giving yourself a beautiful affirmation: I love myself enough to eat the things I need to heal.

Drink tea to fight inflammation

I strongly urge you to try a different tea every day. In the end, your taste buds will appreciate the herbs’ healing effects and their natural fruity, woody, and spicy flavors. But before you take your first sip of tea, keep the following in mind:

  1. Try long brews for roots and leaves — this will boost the tea’s potency.
  2. Delicate flowers and leaves should not be boiled, as this can reduce their medicinal properties. A longer steeping time, 10 minutes up to two hours, will yield a stronger tea with more beneficial properties.
  3. Avoid steeping caffeinated tea (black, green, or white) in water that’s too hot or for longer than seven minutes, as this will result in a bitter, unsavory brew and higher caffeine content. Consider steeping for three to seven minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
  4. Serve steeped tea hot or iced. If you wish, add sweetener, lemon or spices to taste.
  5. Consult your health practitioner if pregnant or nursing to establish which teas are safe for you and your baby.

Herbal teas are healing, hydrating and soothing. Making your own fresh tea from whole plant parts can be very rewarding, and fresh teas usually have stronger healing properties and are less expensive than prepackaged tea bags.

Tea recipes:

Cranberry Rose Hip Herbal Tea

Makes 4 cups

This tea has a tangy, tart flavor and a pinkish color. Both rose hips and cranberries are high in vitamin C, which supports the immune system. The acidity of the berries stops bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder, helping prevent bladder infections and UTIs.

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 Tbsp dried rose hips
  • 4 cups filtered water, just off the boil
  • 1/4 cup pure cranberry juice
  • 1/2 tsp stevia whole-leaf powder or 1/4 tsp stevia extract

Place rose hips in a teapot. Pour in water and cranberry juice. Add stevia to taste.

Ginger Tea

Makes 4 cups

It’s no surprise that Japan — where ginger is used liberally — is home to the longest-living people in the world! Enjoy ginger root tea whenever your stomach is upset or you’re experiencing sore joints.

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 inches ginger root
  • 4 cups filtered water

Finely chop the ginger root and steep in boiling filtered water for at least 20 minutes.