Not only delicious and calming, herbal teas have been used for centuries as homeopathic treatments for almost every health condition and ailment, and by those simply looking for a natural detox. What many don't know is some varieties can also help you shed extra pounds by reducing water retention, boosting your metabolism or even limiting the storage of fat. If you're looking to get in shape, here are a few of the best herbal brews to help you along the way.
Yerba mate tea
Traditionally drunk through a metal straw from a mug called a gourd, yerba mate tea, or mate çayı in Turkish, is a traditional South American drink prepared with the dried leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant and according to cultural nuances, a sign of friendship and bonding when drunk together. This tea is loaded with seven out of nine essential amino acids plus almost every vitamin and mineral the body needs — albeit in minute amounts. For weight loss, studies have found that mate tea reduces the appetite, boosts the metabolism and diminishes the storage of fat. As a bonus, with 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup, it gives you almost the same jolt as coffee, lending you a nice energy boost for your workout minus the post-expresso jitters.
For an eight-ounce brew, fill a teapot strainer with 1 heaping teaspoon of leaves and allow the yerba to sit in room-temperature water for around a minute. Then add it to your teapot and pour hot but not boiling water, 80 degrees Celsius is perfect, over the strainer. Allow to it steep for four or five minutes, or up to seven for a strong brew.
Cherry stem tea
Did you know cherry stems have been used in traditional medicine for centuries? Cherry stem tea, or kiraz sapı çayı in Turkish, has been attributed with a wide variety of health benefits, including helping with weight loss, promoting kidney function, reducing water retention and the prevention of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Overall, it gives the body an excellent natural detox to help whip your system into shape.
Fresh or dried stems can be used for the tea and as a rule, organic is preferred. To make the tea, add 1 cup of fresh or dried stems to 1 liter of near-boiling water. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy. This tea has a light, pleasant, fruity aroma with a natural hint of cinnamon. If you eat a lot of cherries, be sure to save your stems; spread them out to dry for a few days and store them in an airtight container for the next time you feel like a nice detox tea.
Rose hip tea
Not only beautiful, the fruit of the rose plant, or rose hips, have been renowned for their health benefits for as long as the plant's blooms have been revered. Rose hip tea, or kuşburnu cayi in Turkish, is usually associated with curing colds in the winter thanks to its immune boosting vitamins A and C, but it also contains large doses of antioxidants and flavonoids, natural plant pigments that have a variety of health benefits like reducing your risk of stroke, cancer and heart disease. For those hoping to lose weight, initial studies have shown higher weight loss in patients who drank rose hip tea compared to those who did not.
To brew, add 1 teaspoon of the tea to an infuser and place it in your cup. Pour boiling water over the tea and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Not only a beautiful color, this tea is as fragrant as the blooms it usually neighbors.
Corn silk tea
Corn silk, the shiny, thin threads that grow under the husks of fresh ears of corn, has been used in traditional Native American and Chinese medicine for centuries and is still used in many countries, including Turkey, China and France, today. Few studies have been done on this tea, known as mısır püskülü cayı in Turkey, but preliminary data shows it may have health benefits, especially for treating inflammatory conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It is also naturally rich in proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and flavonoid antioxidants. For dieters, its diuretic properties are especially useful for shedding extra kilograms resulting from fluid retention.
Corn silk tea is easy to make. Simply drop a handful of corn silk, fresh or dried, in one liter of boiling water and boil for 15 or 20 minutes.
Hands down, green tea, or yeşil çayı in Turkish, is one of the most effective teas for weight loss. In fact, studies have shown people who drank the tea or consumed green tea supplements experienced higher rates of body weight, body fat and waist circumference loss than those who did not. This is attributed to the tea's high levels of catechins, natural antioxidants believed to increase fat burning and boost your metabolism. A 2007 study conducted by the Health Care Food Research Laboratories in Japan on weight loss patients found that continuous ingestion of a green tea extract high in catechins led to a reduction in body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol, suggesting that the ingestion contributes to a decrease in obesity and cardiovascular disease risks.
When brewed in boiling water, green tea can be bitter. For the best results, place one rounded teaspoon of green tea or one teabag in a teapot and pour boiling water over it instead of boiling it continuously on the stove. Allow it to steep on the counter for three to five minutes.