Aside from water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world, and it’s practically medicine in a mug. But tea consumption isn’t quite as popular in the United States compared to other countries. In the States, about 80% of tea is consumed iced, mostly during the summer; the U.S. also ranks low in per capita tea consumption.
Much has been written about the health benefits of green tea and matcha. But herbal teas are also great for hydration and offer protective nutrients.
Technically, herbal tea isn’t tea—meaning it’s not derived from the same Camellia sinensis plant thatproduces green, white, black, and oolong varieties. Instead, herbal teas are infusions of various non-tea plants, which may include flowers, herbs, spices, and other roots. Because most of these plants are caffeine-free, herbal tea is a flavorful, nutritious option that won’t keep you up at night or elicit an unwanted buzz.
In addition to sipping herbal teas hot or chilled, they can also be used in cooking. Try herbal tea as the base for a cocktail mixer, along with fresh ginger and mint. You can also use herbal tea as a liquid in smoothies, oatmeal or overnight oats, soup broth, and marinades; or to steam vegetables and whole grains. And since they’re edible, you can also use loose herbal teas as a garnish on salads or sweet treats.
Here are five of my favorite types of herbal tea, including some information about their benefits. Plus, our picks for ordering them online.