Tea is easy to brew by the pot or by the cup. All you need is some nearly-boiling water and any one of a number of herbal, black or green teas. Both herbal and traditional teas impart a number of positive health benefits. In this article, we will discuss the use of both herbal and traditional teas. We will also explain why use of herbal teas as diuretics can be desirable and provide some smart tips to help you make good use of teas and tisanes in your daily health routine. Read on to learn more.
Why use diuretics?
Prescription diuretics are called into play to counter fluid retention. This is helpful for people suffering from a number of conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver ailments, kidney disease and hypertension. These chronic conditions need professional diagnosis, and treatment should be carefully calibrated and monitored by a medical professional.
If you are suffering serious symptoms, it is never advisable to self-diagnose and self-treat. Always consult your doctor and follow his or her recommendations. Teas and tisanes may work very well as diuretics in these circumstances; however, it is essential that you orchestrate treatments from Western and Alternative medicine traditions very carefully for best results.
Are black & green teas diuretics?
These teas are sourced from a specific type of plant – the Camellia sinesis. Although many people believe that the caffeine found in traditional black and green teas acts as a diuretic, studies do not bear up this notion. Although caffeine isolated in a concentrated form (300 mg dosage) can have diuretic effect according to a 2006 study reported by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, you would have to drink over a dozen cups of tea to get that amount of caffeine. For this reason, traditional green or black teas are not considered to be effective diuretics; however, they do impart a number of other positive benefits in terms of antioxidants.
What are herbal tisanes?
It’s important to understand that herbal brew is not really tea in the strictest sense. Herbal teas have been revered for their medicinal qualities for many centuries and are more appropriately called tisanes (herbal medicinal beverage or infusion). They are derived from the bark, seeds, stems and/or leaves of specific plants that are used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes.
Although the value of herbal teas as diuretics has been known for centuries, solid research into the subject has only been performed in the last few years. Herbs that are most often sourced as diuretics include:
These plants are very powerful in helping cleanse the body and the urinary tract by encouraging urination.
In 2015, an article in the scientific publication, Integrative & Comparative Biology, stated that there are at least eighty-five types of plants that have a diuretic effect on the human body. Here are the results of some studies that have been conducted in the 21st Century.
In herbal and folk medicine, dandelion tea is a common treatment for digestive difficulties and problems with the liver and gallbladder. While folk medicine was dismissed by the scientific and medical community as merely being “old-wives tales” throughout much of the late 20th century, studies such as one cited by the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine in 2009 show that this attitude is far from accurate or earned.
The article describes a small study in which seventeen subjects were followed over the course of two days. Urinary output was measured on the first day and then the subjects were given dandelion tea. Within five hours of drinking the tea, all subjects experienced increased urine volume as compared with the previous day.
A 2014 report in the scientific journal, Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, cited a study conducted on thirty-six male subjects who were divided into three groups:
- 12 subjects received the chemical diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.
- 12 subjects received horsetail extract.
- 12 subjects received a placebo.
Data collected during the study proved that the horsetail extract and the chemical diuretic were equally effective in terms of increased urine production. It is important to note that this study was conducted using an extract, which is more concentrated than tea.
Parsley is an altogether beneficial herb that makes a good addition to any diet as a fresh vegetable, spice or tea. In 2002, the Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology reported on a laboratory study conducted with rats regarding the efficacy of parsley as a diuretic. In this study, rats were treated with parsley seed extract, which proved to have significant and positive diuretic effects. It is important to note that in this study, an extract was used on non-human subjects, so results for humans using the herb as a dietary supplement would vary from those found in this study.
Stinging nettle is a surprisingly beneficial herb that has an very long history of medicinal use in European, Mexican and Native American folk medicine. An article published in the Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology in the year 2000 reports that studies conducted with rats confirm that light doses of this very powerful herb have a desirable diuretic effect. The article does warn that very high does produce negative side effects in rats.
Which is better: loose tea or bags?
The tea in bags is crushed. Loose tea is typically whole leaf. For this reason, the tea in bags may provide a bit more antioxidant and medicinal value by the quick cup; however, if you are brewing pots or pitchers of tea, loose tea may be preferable.
The difference lies in brewing time. If you are just brewing a quick cup of tea, you will probably only steep it for three or four minutes. In this case, using crushed tea in bags will impart more benefits than using loose tea in a tea ball.
If you are brewing a pot of tea, you should leave the tea loose in a warmed pot and pour boiling water over it. Then you should cover the pot with a towel or tea cozy to keep it warm (or use a tea warmer) and let it steep for five to ten minutes. This extra warmth and extended time will extract more benefits from the leaves and provide a richer and more robust taste.
In herbs, the answer is much the same. The crushed herbs in bags will provide more benefits when brewed by the quick cup; however, for medicinal use, you would usually add the loose leaves, stems, seeds and/or roots to simmering water and allow them to mull and simmer for five minutes or so and then steep, covered for another 10 or 15 minutes to extract all the benefits of the herb.
For this reason, if you are enjoying herbal tea as a daily tonic and not for specific medicinal purposes, bags are better because they deliver more benefits quickly and easily. If you are treating a specific condition (with the advice and blessing of your doctor) you are probably better off brewing loose herbs than using bags.
Choosing the right herbs & teas to suit your needs
One thing that the many studies on the efficacy of herbal tisanes and traditional teas in wellness has shown is that adding these tasty remedies to your daily life can have extremely beneficial effects in terms of warding off a great many serious ailments and conditions.
Drinking teas and tisanes can help protect you against such diverse problems as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. It is easy to see that adding teas and tisanes to your daily diet is a smart thing to do, but which ones should you enjoy?
The easy answer to this question is, “Enjoy them all!”
If you are partaking of traditional tea, you can enjoy both black and green tea or simply choose the one you like the best. Most people in Europe and the United States prefer black and orange pekoe teas, but in Asian countries green teas are preferred. Black teas typically deliver more caffeine, so you may wish to enjoy black teas in the morning and green teas in the afternoon.
In herbal teas, stock your shelves with the choices you enjoy. Take the time to learn about the benefits of each one and choose accordingly when you are experiencing a health challenge. Follow packaging directions and consult your doctor before using herbal remedies if you are suffering from any chronic condition such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney or liver failure, etc.
Let your preferences be your guide
If you think you need a diuretic, talk with your doctor and plan accordingly. If you just want to boost your overall good health and add variety and interest to your daily beverage consumption, follow your taste buds and your lifestyle habits to choose a collection of herbs and teas.
Enjoy green tea and/or black tea during the day for the caffeine and antioxidant properties they provide. Enjoy herbal teas of all sorts throughout the afternoon and evening for the many health giving properties they deliver.
Enjoyment is an important health benefit!
If you are generally healthy, you can enjoy the benefits of herbal tisanes and traditional teas as a daily tonic. Don’t ever force yourself to drink a tea or tisane you don’t like for its health giving benefits. Instead, do a little research and talk with your health professional to find an alternative herb or plant that delivers the same benefits. There are hundreds of beneficial herbs to choose from, and all of them can be brewed as tea. There is no reason to force yourself to endure an unpleasant experience for your health, and doing so can have a very negative affect on your well-being.