An early adopter of the medicinal healing movement, my pantry is stocked with teas used for everything from clearing acne to clearing the mind. Last year I suffered my first real bout with acne and after trying every topical oil, cream, and cleanser, I decided I needed to take a very literal inward approach to healing my body. Through this research, I began to realize so much of what is already given to us from sweet Mother Earth has purpose and is waiting to serve us.
My favorite (and most effective) botanicals are easy to add to any drink and have proven themselves trustworthy. Just ask my skin – all clear.
Ashwagandha, Reishi and Rhodiola
Ashwagandha is by far the most buzzworthy of the bunch, but I’m keeping Reishi and Rhodiola in my corner. All three of these are considered adaptogens, which help your body – wait for it – adapt to physical, mental, and emotional stresses of the world around you.
Reishi (Japanese, Ling Zi in Chinese) has been used for thousands of years and is known as the “mushroom of immortality” in China. Due to reishi’s immune boosting benefits, it’s proven to improve quality of life, and aid in immunity and allergy related symptoms. Reishi and Rhodiola are less bitter than ashwagandha, and rhodiola even has some floral notes.
Pro tip: Add them to your morning latte or tea and they will do the rest. I’ve noticed huge improvements in focus, energy, and hormone balance.
Dandelion root is another staple of my tea collection. Found on almost every continent, it has been a crucial element of herbal medicinal practices for years. In Ayurvedic medicine, dandelion root is gathered from the Himalayas and used for tea. A natural detoxifier, dandelion root also has a diuretic effect which allows your liver to eliminate toxins more quickly. In addition, it can help strengthen the immune system, balance blood sugar (hugely important for stress and hormone balance!) and can even soothe digestive issues.
Pro tip: I try to drink two to three cups of this a week, and usually add a little lemon to spice it up a bit.
One of the most miraculous teas I’ve used over this year is Nettle Leaf. Initially I sought it out to cure my acne woes, but soon discovered it had much more to offer. After drinking a few cups daily for one week, the redness that had accompanied my acne was almost completely gone, and it had even helped in reducing inflammation. In addition to aiding in healthy skin, it’s also used to help treat allergies, which plague me in my beloved city of San Francisco. I’ve found it soothes congestion and general allergic symptoms in general.
Pro tip: Brew together one bag of nettle leaf tea with one bag of a berry (dandelion) detox tea! It’s magic, I swear.
Adding all of these at once to your diet may seem overwhelming, and adaptogens can be pricey. My advice is to find a bulk foods store in your area that carries adaptogens and tea available by the ounce. Buy a small amount and see how your body responds. If all goes well, start adding them to smoothies, iced tea lemonades, granola (yes, I’ve done it!) and reap the sweet, sweet benefits nature intended for us.
*The information presented here is provided for educational purposes only. Always be sure to check with your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider before making changes to your diet or supplement regimen.
Feature Image via Alison Marras