Sometimes a steaming cup of tea is more than a beverage, it's a full healing experience. I have read and heard about the so-called healing power of various teas, so I did a little research and found the following article that explains some of the different effects that various teas can have on our bodies.
Tea isn't a casual drink; it requires the careful choice of the best leaves, the patience to wait for water to come to the right temperature, the knowledge of how long to steep, and the time to let the wisps of steam warm your face as you savor every sip. In places from Buddhist monasteries to English parlors, tea has also long been recognized for its healing properties, from the antioxidants in green and white tea to the restorative properties of various herbal blends.
Black tea is what most people envision when they think generally about "tea." Its most popular incarnations come from India (Assam, Darjeeling), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and China (Lapsang souchong), and some of the world's favorite teas, including Earl Grey and English Breakfast, are blends of black teas. Black tea has the highest caffeine content of the major types of tea, though it still only has half the caffeine of coffee. It is best enjoyed with a hint of sugar or honey, and a bit of lemon or milk.
Black tea is fermented, meaning that freshly-picked tea leaves are allowed to oxidize and develop deep flavors. This fermentation process alters the antioxidants that are naturally found in tea leaves, which are called flavonoids. The flavonoids found in black tea are more complex than those found in less processed teas, but in any kind of tea, antioxidants are believed to have health benefits including cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, and protection against stroke and heart attack. Black tea also is rich in manganese and potassium, and it contains some B-vitamins.
Green tea is considered a "pure" tea, meaning it doesn't undergo an oxidation process. Most green teas are grown in Japan or China. Its health benefits are manifold. Although green tea naturally contains caffeine, one mug's worth contains less than a fourth as much as the average cup of coffee. For people trying to cut their caffeine consumption, switching from coffee to green tea is a very healthy alternative. Scientists have shown a correlation between green tea consumption and reduced cancer risk, weight loss, and improved heart health. Green tea also possesses a small amount of natural fluoride, an element which strengthens bones. And anyone who has ever had a sore throat can definitely attest to the soothing power of green tea with honey in it.
Unlike other kinds of tea, dried white tea will contain buds or 'young' tea leaves, making for a distinct flavor. Because of its light and delicate flavor, white tea tastes best without any sugar, honey, or other extras added to it. Studies have shown that white tea contains antiviral and antibacterial qualities, which make it helpful in fighting against disease--so if you think you're coming down with a cold, white tea is a great way to feel better. In addition, people who consume white tea tend to have lower blood pressure, higher amounts of 'good' cholesterol, and even better skin (the antioxidants in white tea are able to 'attack' free radicals, which harm your skin and cause it to age faster).
Rooibos tea, which is also known as "red bush," is not technically tea, but an herbal brew made from fermented leaves of a native South African plant. Rooibos and its cousin Honeybush are gaining popularity in the United States because of their plentiful health benefits, high levels of antioxidants, low tanin content, and no caffeine--not to mention its slight natural sweetness and refreshing flavor (adding honey enhances this characteristic).
The healing properties of rooibos include using it as a treatment for skin ailments, as an immune system booster, a way to slow the aging process, and a remedy for conditions from insomnia to headaches to anxiety. Also, rooibos does not contain oxalic acid, the compound found in some other types of tea that can cause kidney stones.
Like red tea, herbal tea is not actually tea; it is composed of the dried leaves of a wide variety of herbs that are prized for their unique flavors as well as their healthful benefits. Entirely caffeine-free, and often requiring no sweetener or flavor enhancer, herbal tea is a gentle and soothing way to take tea according to what one's body and soul needs at any given moment.
The health benefits of herbal tea depend on the herb being steeped. Camomile, linden flower, and lavender teas are all highly calming and can help with sleep issues, peppermint and ginger teas aid digestion and can stave off nausea, lemon balm tea can help soothe a headache, and raspberry leaf tea is thought to bring on labor in late pregnancy, to offer just a few examples of this versatile and beneficial type of tea.