Herbal tea

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A hibiscus tisane beginning to steep

Tisane (UK /tɪˈzæn/, US /tɪˈzɑːn/), or herbal tea, is any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water.[1] These drinks are distinguished from caffeinated beverages like coffee, mate, kuding, and the true teas (black, green, white, yellow, oolong, etc, which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis), as well as from decaffeinated tea, in which the caffeine has been removed. In addition to serving as a beverage, many tisanes are also consumed for their perceived medicinal benefits.[2]

Like beverages made from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis), tisanes can be served hot or cold. Tisanes have been used for nearly as long as written history extends.[citation needed] Documents have been recovered dating back to Ancient Egypt and Ancient China that discuss the enjoyment and uses of tisanes.[citation needed] Among the Chinese, tisanes are commonly known as liang cha (Chinese: 涼茶; Mandarin Pinyin: liáng chá; Jyutping: loeng4 caa4).

Etymology[edit]

Herbal tea in a glass teapot and cup

The English word "tisane" originates from the Greek word πτισάνη (ptisanē), a drink made from pearl barley, similar to the modern barley water.

Health benefits[edit]

Tisanes are often consumed for their physical or medicinal effects, especially for their stimulant, relaxant or sedative properties. The medicinal effects of certain herbs are discussed under herbalism. The medicinal benefits of specific herbs are often anecdotal or controversial, and in some countries (including the United States) makers of tisanes are not allowed to make unsubstantiated claims about the medicinal effects of their products.

Antioxidant properties[edit]

Available as pure or blended samples, tisanes are popular because of their fragrance, antioxidant properties and therapeutic applications.[3][4] The antioxidant properties (AOP) of tisanes from temperate plants of mainly Lamiaceae have been well-studied while those of tropical tisanes are less well-studied. Recently, a comparative study showed that tropical tisanes were more diverse in types and more variable in AOP values than temperate tisanes.[5] Tisanes generally had lower antioxidant values than true teas. Exceptions were lemon myrtle, guava, and oregano teas with antioxidant properties comparable to black teas.

Health risks[edit]

As tisanes can literally be composed of any plant material, including some plants that are known to be toxic, the specific ingredients must be checked for health and safety individually. Most retail tisanes sold as beverages could be considered safe, but medicinal tisanes could easily contain herbs that cause damage in large amounts.

While most tisanes are safe for regular consumption, some herbs have toxic or allergenic effects. Among the greatest causes of concern are:

Tisanes can also have different effects from person to person, and this is further compounded by the problem of potential misidentification. The deadly foxglove, for example, can be mistaken for the much more benign (but still relatively toxic to the liver) comfrey.

The UK does not require tisanes to have any evidence concerning their efficacy, but does treat them technically as food products and require that they are safe for consumption.

Mint and peppermint tisanes had significantly stronger ferrous ion chelating ability than true teas.[citation needed]

Contamination[edit]

Depending on the source of the herbal ingredients, tisanes, like any crop, may be contaminated with pesticides or heavy metals.[6][7] According to Naithani & Kakkar (2004), "all herbal preparations should be checked for toxic chemical residues to allay consumer fears of exposure to known neuro-toxicant pesticides and to aid in promoting global acceptance of these products".[6]

During pregnancy[edit]

In addition to the issues mentioned above which are toxic to all people, several medicinal herbs are considered abortifacients, and if unknowingly consumed by a pregnant woman could cause miscarriage. These include common ingredients like nutmeg, mace, papaya, bitter melon, verbena, saffron, slippery elm, and possibly pomegranate. It also includes more obscure herbs, like mugwort, rue, pennyroyal, wild carrot, blue cohosh, tansy, and savin.

Additionally, a study found that frequent and regular use of cannabis throughout pregnancy may be associated with a small but statistically detectable decrease in birth weight.[8]

Popularity[edit]

Baskets of dried hibiscus for making karkade, or "hibiscus tea", a popular tisane worldwide

In Egypt, tisanes such as karkade are very popular. They are served in ahwas.

In China, the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach is used in formulating natural tisanes and they are very popular in enhancing health and addressing core issues within the body; e.g. formulated recipes like hawthorn plus oolong / pu-er can address the high fat level in body's bloodstream.[citation needed] The Chinese term liang cha, means "cooling tea", and the Chinese drink it to cool down the body when it was overheated due to weather or sickness.

In Sri Lanka, tisanes have a long history within the local tradition of indigenous medicine. Iramusu (Smilax regelii), Beli (Bael), Ranawara (Senna auriculata), Polpala (Aerva lanata), weniwel (Coscinium fenestratum), and kothala-himbutu (Salacia reticulata) are among the many plant species used to make tisanes, which are used to treat a wide variety of ailments. The widely used "Paspanguwa" (translated as five-portions) is a common local remedy for colds and fever containing the five ingredients Pathpadagam (Mollugo cerviana), Katuwelbatu (Solanum virginianum), Koththamalli (Coriander seed), Thippili (Long pepper), and Inguru (Ginger), often served with a sweetener of sugar or Jaggery.

Composition[edit]

This retail mixture contains rooibos, coconut, ginger, cinnamon, apple, cardamom, black pepper & almond.

Tisanes can be made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots, generally by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. Seeds and roots can also be boiled on a stove. The tisane is then strained, sweetened if so desired, and served. Many companies produce herbal tea bags for such infusions.

Major varieties[edit]

While varieties of tisanes are defined as any plant material for infusion, below is a list of common herbs:

A pre-made, bottled ginsing tisane. Ginseng is a stimulant and can be used as a caffeine substitute.
A close-up of a rooibos blend in a tea bag being steeped.

Ayurvedic tea[edit]

Ayurvedic tea is made of Ayurvedic herbs like Agya Ghas, Yeshtimadhu, Tulasi etc. Various pharmacies have come up with their products using different combinations of Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurvedic tea has also been found to contain nutrients including calcium, potassium, vanadium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herbal tea at Dictionary.com
  2. ^ Tisane - Definition from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  3. ^ Naithani, V; Nair, S; Kakkar, P (2006). "Decline in antioxidant capacity of Indian herbal teas during storage and its relation to phenolic content". Food Research International 39 (2): 176–181. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2005.07.004. 
  4. ^ Aoshima, H; Hirata, S; Ayabe, S (2007). "Antioxidative and anti-hydrogen peroxide activities of various herbal teas". Food Chemistry 103 (2): 617–622. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2006.08.032. 
  5. ^ Chan, E.W.C.; Lim, Y.Y.; Chong, K.L.; Tan, J.B.L.; Wong, S.K. (2010). "Antioxidant properties of tropical and temperate herbal teas". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 23 (2): 185–189. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2009.10.002. 
  6. ^ a b Naithani, V; Kakkar, P (2004). "An evaluation of residual organochlorine pesticides in popular Indian herbal teas". Archives of environmental health 59 (8): 426–30. doi:10.3200/AEOH.59.8.426-430. PMID 16268119. 
  7. ^ Naithani, V; Kakkar, P (2005). "Evaluation of heavy metals in Indian herbal teas". Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology 75 (1): 197–203. doi:10.1007/s00128-005-0738-4. PMID 16228893. 
  8. ^ Fergusson, D. M.; Horwood, L. J.; Northstone, K. (2002). "Maternal use of cannabis and pregnancy outcome". BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 109: 21. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.01020.x.  edit
  9. ^ C.J. van Gelderen; D.M. van Gelderen. 2004. Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas. Timber Press. 280 p.
  10. ^ A. Kumar, A.G.C. Nair, A.V.R. Reddy, A.N. Garg (2005). "Analysis of essential elements in Pragya-peya—a herbal drink and its constituents by neutron activation". Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 37 (4): 631–828. 

External links[edit]