Iced herbal tea is great any time of year but especially during the heat of the summer months. Drinking iced tea is a refreshing and health-filled way to increase your water intake too. Here are five herbal iced teas to help keep you chill in mind, body and spirit.
Mint is high in essential oils, which give mint its characteristic smell and taste as well as its healing properties. Medicinally, mint is calming to both the digestive and nervous systems. It helps ease indigestion after a heavier meal plus it cools you down when the temperature outside is hot.
2. Lemon balm
Lemon balm, another member of the mint family, makes an herbal iced tea that's both calming and citrus flavored. It relaxes the nervous system and has been studied for its use in easing both anxiety and insomnia. Lemon balm also has antiviral properties specific to herpes, so it’s a great iced tea to choose if you get cold sores, especially if they are triggered by stress.
Chrysanthemum is a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine and taken as a tea to help cool down in the summer heat. When brewed, the tea has a pale yellow color and a delicate floral taste. It's commonly served in restaurants in China, both for its flavor and its medicinal qualities.
Known as Ju Hua in Mandarin, chrysanthemum flowers are traditionally used to cool the liver and nourish the eyes. Drink chrysanthemum tea to help soothe dry, red eyes or if you have a tendency toward heat rashes and headaches in the sun.
Hibiscus flowers make a beautiful and delicious ruby-red iced tea that's both cooling and heart-healthy. Various medicinal teas and drinks made out of hibiscus are common in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
Sour in taste, hibiscus has been shown in research studies to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High in vitamin C with loads of antioxidants, hibiscus tea is anti-aging, preserving the health of everything from blood vessels to skin elasticity.
Nettle iced tea is a nutrient powerhouse. High in vitamin C and minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium, nettles are the herbal equivalent to green juice. Nettles also contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine, which is why it's used for treating seasonal allergies.
If you harvest your own nettles, wear gloves to avoid getting stung by nettle’s stinging hairs. It’s also important to avoid picking nettles from roadsides and areas where air, water or soil may be contaminated since nettles are known to accumulate heavy metals and other chemicals.
The stinging hairs are degraded by drying and hot water, so your iced tea won’t hurt your mouth. Make your nettle iced tea extra strong and brew it for at least 30 minutes to get the most of its health benefits.
How to brew it
To make a quick herbal iced tea, brew your tea extra strong and pour it directly over ice. The ice will dilute it a little but this way you don’t have to wait for your tea to cool down in the fridge.
I don’t put any sweeteners in my herbal iced tea but you can add a little if you want. It’s easiest to stir these in when the tea is still hot.
Herbal Iced Tea
Makes 8 ounces
- 1 tbsp dried herbs (or 2 tbsp fresh chopped)
- ½ cup boiled water
- 1 glass of ice cubes
- Squeeze of lemon (optional)
- Honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener to taste (optional)
1. Put herbs in a strainer, tea ball or just loose into a mug or glass. A French press also works well.
2. Bring water to a boil and pour over the herbs. Steep covered for 10 minutes (30 minutes for nettles). Strain.
3. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir in sweetener to taste if desired. Pour over a glass full of ice and enjoy!
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