Herbal Holidays

Baby, it's cold outside, and as a result, I am noticing lines out the door at every Starbucks I pass. Nothing beats a steamy hot cup of coffee when the cold winter air bites you with your first step outdoors in the morning. But I'm not a coffee drinker. Coffee isn't in my list of recommended daily beverages to clients and detox participants, but a good cup of organic coffee every now and then won't kill you. There are, however, plenty of reasons to choose decaffeinated drinks instead - by which I mean herbal teas.

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Here's a handy guide on the caffeine content of some of the best-loved hot beverages, and further along, my favorite herbal teas and what they're great for!


(per 8 oz serving)

Coffee = 200mg

Black Tea = 60mg

Green Tea = 30mg

Decaf Coffee = 25mg

White Tea = 20mg

If you're a card-carrying coffee addict, decaf coffee is a much better choice, especially if you experience the jitters. Black tea, while less caffeinated than coffee, can still cause some shakes (it does for me), but a good quality black tea also offers some fabulous antioxidant properties when consumed in moderation. That's no more than 2 cups a day (sorry, every Brit I've ever met!). Green tea and white tea are both tops for antioxidant content while providing that little caffeine boost. Again, quality trumps price. And moderation trumps everything!

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Herbal Teas You'll Love

Trying to wean yourself off of caffeine? Keep these 6 on hand for variety!

  1. Peppermint - A natural remedy for IBS, this is wonderful as both a morning drink and as a digestive aid after meals. Peppermint's strong bite gives a gentle, natural energy boost while being very gentle on the digestive tract. It's also been found to have a relaxation effect on the stomach as well as the nervous system. In the summer, nothing beats a fresh mint tea picked straight from the garden (just make sure you wash the leaves first!) after dinner.
  2. Chamomile - Soothing and relaxing, chamomile is a perfect tea to drink before bed. It is though to help with insomnia, anxiety, and muscle twitches, as well as eczema and psoriasis. If you have the opportunity, buy some dried chamomile flowers and brew them for a more intense flavor (and pretty cup of tea!).
  3. Ginger - A good choice for both stomach ailments and the common cold, ginger provides some seriously strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. I prefer to use fresh ginger, either grated or finely sliced, for maximum health benefits! When you've come down with a bad cold, ginger is great for loosening phlegm and soothing sore throats. Try this combination for the BEST cold fighter tea!
  4. Lemon Balm - Also known as Melissa, lemon balm is the perfect tea to drink when you want to relax and de-stress. It's been studied for its calming effects on anxiety, and its mood-boosting effects on depression. Lemon balm is also great for high blood pressure. Truly a herbal tea for the modern world!
  5. Nettle - Not a plant you want to touch, but definitely one you want to drink! If you suffer from seasonal allergies, some nettle tea just may do the trick. Not only that, but nettles are very high in iron and vitamin C, making it great for anyone with anemia or chronic fatigue.
  6. Fennel - One of my favorite teas to recommend during the Renewal Detox, fennel is excellent for digestion, detoxification, and weight loss. It can be brewed using fennel seeds, creating a nice sharp bite - add some orange peel for extra flavor. It's a natural diuretic (most teas are, but this one is particularly potent), so don't drink before bed or you'll be up all night!
With the holidays approaching, a wonderful homemade gift is loose-leaf tea. You can purchase loose herbs and create your own mixture, offer it up in pretty jars, and provide empty tea bags for your recipients to brew your concoction!
And if you're traveling over the next month, be sure to bring a few bags of your favorite herbal teas with you on the plane or train. The flight attendants will always provide you with a cup of hot water and nothing beats a relaxing cup of tea when you're dealing with the stresses of holiday travel!


Sources: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, mayoclinic.com