Tea time is a good time to get extra health benefits

Enjoying a soothing cup of tea is a popular pastime around the world and indulging in a warm cuppa is a great way to derive extra health benefits.

Tea is the second most widely consumed beverage globally, after water1. This popularity stems from its relative cost – it is the cheapest beverage humans consume besides water1.

Brewing a cup of your favourite tea from the over 3,000 varieties available today can deliver numerous research-backed health benefits1.

READ MORE | Consider Green Tea Extract To Unlock Potential Health And Weight Loss Benefits

Ancient traditions

Drinking tea for its health-promoting benefits is a habit steeped in ancient traditions, with modern research providing a growing body of scientific evidence that backs this belief.

Humans have cultivated the tea plant Camellia sinensis for thousands of years, using the leaves from this evergreen native of China mainly for medicinal purposes.

Today, people use tea to relax, in social settings, and for its various potential health benefits as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

The teas we consume today often include herbal teas, which are not made from the Camellia plant but from dried herbs, spices, flowers, fruit, seeds, roots, or leaves of other plants. These teas do not typically contain caffeine like traditional teas.

READ MORE | 5 Ways Rooibos Can Support Gut Health

Antioxidant powerhouses

Various studies suggest that the it is the polyphenolic compounds (catechins and theaflavins) found in herbal teas like chamomile, hibiscus and ginger teas (also known as tisanes), and green (non-fermented), oolong (semi-fermented) and black (fermented) teas are associated with numerous beneficial health effects.

The antioxidant effects of these compounds help to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk or help treat various conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, particularly atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, and various cancers1.

Other potential health benefits associated with tea consumption include their anti-ageing, anti-diabetic, digestive function and calming effects1.

Rooibos at a glance

  • Rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce inflammation and improving cardiovascular health and function.
  • Studies2 suggest rooibos may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels, potentially benefiting people with type 2 diabetes.

Chamomile at a glance

  • Known for its calming properties, studies suggest it might promote sleep quality3.
  • Chamomile might aid digestion by reducing inflammation in the gut to possibly reduce cramps caused by smooth muscle spasms4.

Oolong tea at a glance

  • Rich in polyphenols, particularly theaflavins and thearubigins, which may help to reduce cell damage and inflammation.
  • Studies5 affirm various health-promoting functions, including anticancer, anti-cardiovascular, antimicrobial, hypoglycaemic, and hepatoprotective effects.
  • Some studies6 suggest that oolong tea may aid in weight management by modestly boosting metabolism and promoting fat burning due to its caffeine and theacrine content.
  • Contains fluoride, manganese, and other minerals beneficial for bone and teeth health.
  • L-theanine, an amino acid found in oolong tea, is known for its calming and focus-enhancing effects.

Ginger tea at a glance

  • Often used for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
  • May help ease nausea and promote healthy digestion.

Hibiscus tea at a glance

  • Rich in antioxidants, which may help lower blood pressure. However, those with underlying health conditions should consult with their medical practitioner as this tea can potential interact with medications.
  • Some research7 suggests that hibiscus extract can help reduce body weight and body fat.

Choose your brew

The quality and strength of herbal teas can vary, so choose reputable brands and follow the brewing instructions outlined on the box.

Incorporating these herbal teas into a healthy and balanced lifestyle will ensure you can enjoy the potential health benefits while savouring the flavours and enjoying this popular pastime. Remember, life is often more brew-tea-ful with a cup of tea, so get steeping!


  1. Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea and health: studies in humans. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(34):6141-7. doi: 10.2174/1381612811319340008. PMID: 23448443; PMCID: PMC4055352.
  2. Mazibuko-Mbeje SE, Mthembu SX, Muller CJ, Ziqubu K, Muvhulawa N, Modibedi RV, Tiano L, Dludla PV. Aspalathin alleviates skeletal muscle insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction. Physiol Res. 2022 Nov 28;71(5):643-656. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.934844. Epub 2022 Aug 31. PMID: 36047722; PMCID: PMC9841809.
  3. Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010 Nov 1;3(6):895-901. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2010.377. PMID: 21132119; PMCID: PMC2995283.
  4. Hieu TH, Dibas M, Surya Dila KA, Sherif NA, Hashmi MU, Mahmoud M, Trang NTT, Abdullah L, Nghia TLB, Y MN, Hirayama K, Huy NT. Therapeutic efficacy and safety of chamomile for state anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials and quasi-randomized trials. Phytother Res. 2019 Jun;33(6):1604-1615. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6349. Epub 2019 Apr 21. PMID: 31006899.
  5. Shuzhen Wang, Ting Zeng, Shuang Zhao, Yu Zhu, Changchun Feng, Jianfeng Zhan, Shiming Li, Chi-Tang Ho, Alexander Gosslau, Multifunctional health-promoting effects of oolong tea and its products, Food Science and Human Wellness, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2022, Pages 512-523, ISSN 2213-4530, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fshw.2021.12.009.
  6. He RR, Chen L, Lin BH, Matsui Y, Yao XS, Kurihara H. Beneficial effects of oolong tea consumption on diet-induced overweight and obese subjects. Chin J Integr Med. 2009 Feb;15(1):34-41. doi: 10.1007/s11655-009-0034-8. Epub 2009 Mar 7. PMID: 19271168.
  7. Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Jalali-Khanabadi, B. A., & Afkhami-Ardekani, M. (2009). The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes. Journal of Human Hypertension, 23(1), 48-54.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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