Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world apart from water, and research shows it may help boost the immune system and ward off chronic diseases.
“Tea may boost the immune system and may help fight various forms of cancer due to antioxidants and phytochemicals,” says Dana Hoeness, a senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at the University of California and a professor at Fielding School of Public Health.
In fact, tea has played a large role in herbal remedies among Asian cultures for centuries. And when tea was first introduced to Western cultures in the 17th century, it was advertised as a medicine. Although research on its health benefits remains inconclusive, drinking tea is generally associated with better health.
Some types of drinks may provide more potential health benefits than others, and it all depends on the different ingredients and plant compounds in the tea you make.
Here are some teas that may help strengthen a weak immune system.
Turmeric: Researchers found that curcumin, the orange and yellow component of turmeric, activates important parts of the immune system, such as T cells and B cells. Curcumin is a phytochemical: a plant compound that helps treat inflammation.
Some research suggests that curcumin may have beneficial effects on arthritis, allergies, asthma, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer. However, it may have negative reactions with some blood thinners, stomach acid reducers, and diabetes medications.
Licorice root: Licorice contains flavonoids, which are a type of plant compound rich in antioxidants and found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer properties. There is evidence that it may fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Houns notes that there are many “licorice” products sold that don’t actually contain licorice, so it’s important to read the ingredients.
Some of the potentially harmful effects, when consumed in large amounts, are increased blood pressure, lower potassium levels, and complications for pregnant women.
Ginger: Ginger, a relative of curcumin, contains chemical compounds that help fight inflammation and cancer. It is often used as a dietary supplement for nausea and various types of arthritis. Ginger might cause problems for people with gallstone disease or people who take blood thinners. It is not clear if it is safe during pregnancy, so always consult your doctor.
Peppermint: Peppermint tea may help fight viruses and bacteria and boost the immune system. It can also act as a sedative for stomach, nausea or indigestion, or other digestive disorders.
Menthol and methyl salicylate, the main ingredients in peppermint, are known to soothe anxiety, reduce pain, and prevent bacterial growth. Drinking tea from mint leaves is generally safe, but the long-term effects of large consumption are unknown.
Black tea: Researchers found that people who drank black tea regularly over the course of six months showed an increase in immune activity. And black tea contains flavonoids, which are natural compounds found in plants that may protect against many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
And black tea is higher in caffeine than many other types of tea, which can lead to increased heart rate, tremors and anxiety in large amounts.
– Green tea: Like black tea, it contains flavonoids that can help fight many deadly diseases. It also contains catechin, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
Chamomile: There is evidence that chamomile tea has antibacterial properties, aids sleep, strengthens bones, menstrual pain, and anxiety. It contains a type of flavonoid, apigenin, which has been shown in cell studies to fight cancer, but more research in humans is needed to see if these results translate into the general population.
Hibiscus: Hibiscus contains powerful antioxidants anthocyanins and vitamin C, which play an important role in immune function. There is evidence that it can help lower blood pressure and liver fats.
And people who are pregnant or who are taking the malaria drug chloroquine, and some blood pressure and diabetes medications, should avoid hibiscus.
Echinacea or echinacea: Although it has been described as shortening the common cold, no evidence has been found that echinacea significantly boosts the immune system.
“It might have a very slight effect in preventing the common cold or speeding up recovery from symptoms, but not enough to call it an immune booster,” Hones says. The plant contains polysaccharides, which are complex carbohydrates that may increase immune activity, although evidence for this is less. The most common negative side effects are nausea and stomach pain.
Source: Business Insider