Tea is an excellent beverage that offers various health benefits.
Drinking tea gives you a boost in the energy department, a host of antioxidants that can keep free radicals at bay, and depending on the type, strengthen your immune system.
We all know that a healthy immune system equals less sickness and fewer chances of contracting bacteria, viruses and whatnot.
That said, here are the best teas to help you shield against illnesses.
Related: 5 Nutrition Rules For Healthy Living
7 Teas to Boost Your Immune System
If you are looking for an easy way to boost your immune system these teas would certainly be something to consider.
1. Rosehip Tea
Rosehip tea is unlike any tea you’ve tried before. For one, it’s naturally sweet and floral and colors the water nicely, too. The herbal drink is made using pseudo-fruits of the rose plant, aka hip fruit, hipberry, rose haw and dog rose fruit.
Currently, there are two rosehip seeds used for tea- Rosa canina and Rosa rugosa. Both have an abundance of life-giving compounds such as essential fatty acids, ascorbic acid, lycopene, carotenoids and polyphenols. Moreover, you get a dose of vitamin C which helps the immune system.
Regular intake of rosehip tea staves off common diseases such as the flu as you’ll be getting much-needed vitamin A and vitamin C. Antioxidants fight off damage caused by free radicals in your system. Plus, rosehips have vitamin E which reduces your risk of acquiring degenerative diseases and the effects of premature aging.
Rosehip tea can be made by boiling water and putting in a teabag or a teaspoon of the fruit. Let it steep for about ten to fifteen minutes and add natural sweeteners if you want. Remove the buds and enjoy!
For an extra boost consider Immune Defense. This immune-boosting supplement is a combination of Rosehips, zinc and vitamin C and A packed into lozenges that give a super boost to your immune system.
If you don’t already know, Zinc has been proven to reduce the duration of a cold and Vitamin C has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency of the common cold. these. Immune Defense also uses a generous dose of Vitamin A which enhances immune function and provides an enhanced defense against multiple infectious diseases. This combination along with the power of Rosehips makes Immune Defense an excellent selection for building a strong immune system.
2. Green Tea
Arguably the most popular kind of tea in the whole world, green tea is made from buds and leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It retains its green ‘fresh’ extract as it hasn’t undergone the oxidation process as with black and oolong tea.
Health experts say that green tea is the healthiest beverage, bar none. Aside from being absolutely loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, green tea has polyphenols such as epicatechins, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin gallate, flavanols and flavanoids such as myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.
In studies, it was found that polyphenols help reduce inflammation and may be vital to treating cancer. It’s also a stimulant in that it contains caffeine, which energizes both mind and body. Catechins work in killing and inhibiting viruses and bacteria to lower your risk of infections.
It’s believed that polyphenols are what lends the tea its immune-boosting characteristics.
Here’s how you can prepare green tea- don’t go beyond the boiling point for too long and don’t steep the leaves for more than two or three minutes. A spoonful of honey or a dash of lemon can eliminate the drink’s bitterness. Don’t add milk or otherwise, the polyphenols become less potent.
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3. Elderflower Tea
A kind of tea that’s believed to have been used since prehistoric times, it’s only now that we’re coming to know more about this wondrous yet healthy beverage.
In a 2006 study researchers saw how elderberry plant extracts were effective against the avian flu. Elderflower has many names, including European Elderberry, Black Elderberry, Elderflower or simply Elder. It’s been revered as a unique panacea in that it could be used to treat dozens of illnesses.
Fast forward to modern times, and the tea is used to treat infection, the flu, allergies, damaged joints and lower cholesterol levels. It’s rich in bioflavonoids that act as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents.
The extract of the herb, when made into tea can definitely give your immune system stronger and allow it to ward off viruses. Unlike its bitter cousins, elderflower tea actually tastes good on its own or when combined with natural sweeteners or chopped lemon.
The best way to enjoy elderflower tea is to steep the leaves for five minutes and consuming the beverage while it’s hot. Other benefits include reducing blood sugar levels, relieving cold and hay fever.
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4. Echinacea Tea
Echinacea tea is one of the best teas to take when you want to fire up the ol’ immune system.
This herbal drink mostly comes from the extracts of the Echinacea purpurea plant. It’s worthy to note that some of the echinacea varieties, including the E. pallida and E. angustifolia are used in their own respective teas.
Under the microscope, echinacea has remarkable antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics and is quite popular among tea lovers. It’s available as a tablet, capsule, ointment and liquid tincture, but we mostly recommend it taken as a tea.
So, what is echinacea tea good for? It can fight the flu, control blood sugar, helps your cells grow, manages anxiety and reduces inflammation, which can help with ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, among others. Studies have shown that echinacea is safe for children and pregnant women, but it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor before taking them.
Preparing a cup of echinacea tea is fairly simple. Boil water and steep echinacea leaves for about two to three minutes, then remove the leaves and drink the beverage. For flavor and an added help to your immune system measure a spoonful of honey and stir it in your tea.
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5. Barley Tea
Barley tea is a kind of herbal tea that’s super popular in Eastern Asia, including Taiwan, Japan, China and Korea. Its toasty nature is due to the fact that it’s roasted before steeped in either hot or cold water.
Regularly drinking barley tea can improve your overall health. It can give your immune system a welcome boost and act as a potent weight loss agent, too. What’s more, it’s said to purify the blood of toxins, helps in male infertility and reduces the risk of developing chronic disease.
Did you know that barley tea contains a lot of vitamin C? The antioxidant, which is present in most fruits can stimulate the production of white blood cells and stop the damage of free radicals. Barley is a natural antacid that can prevent acid reflux, and its fiber can help with regular bowel movement.
Barley tea’s taste is warm, pleasant and nutty and similar to coffee. It also has a kind of sweetness which means you can take it as it is without sugar, honey or any additions.
To make barley tea, pour boiling water into a cup and steep barley for about five minutes or ten if you want it extra-strong.
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6. Licorice Tea
The taste of licorice may not be for everyone, but you’ll drink the tea anyway if you want to last longer against everyday flu, colds and diseases.
Licorice tea is mainly made from licorice root that’s ground into coarse chunks. It’s an excellent beverage that reduces stress levels, brings relief from sore throat and colds, and is good for your gut too.
Studies show that licorice root tea reduces your risk of heart disease and gives your immune system something to cheer about. It contains glycyrrhizic acid, which is known to balance out gut bacteria and lower inflammation levels. Good gut health equals a stronger immune system and greater defense against germs, bacteria and more.
To prepare licorice tea, all you need is a cup, water and licorice root. Bring water to a boil and add licorice root and ginger, then let it simmer for about ten minutes. Strain the liquid into a cup and enjoy hot.
Keep in mind that experts warn against excessive consumption of licorice root. It’s advisable to not drink more than 8 ounces per day. It may also interfere with existing medication, so consult with your doctor before preparing a cup.
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7. Ginger Tea
Ginger is a common ingredient in dishes, but it can also be steeped in hot water to make ginger tea. It’s been used since ancient times to help with a variety of ailments, from morning sickness nausea and weight loss to pain relief and more.
Ginger contains a lot of antioxidants, and as such is excellent for reducing stress and boosting one’s immune system. Inhaling its steam can relieve nasal issues such as allergies and even the common cold. In studies, scientists have found that ginger can fight colon cancer and pancreatic cancer cells.
Taking too much ginger tea can produce side effects such as heartburn, bloating and gas, among others but only if you drink huge amounts. The best part about ginger tea is it’s easy to make. Peel off ginger and slice thinly, then add the strips to about two cups of boiling water and leave it there for about ten minutes. Put in honey, agave or lemon juice to taste.
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Drinking tea to boost the immune system is a great idea. They’re easy to make, comforting and healthy as well. Pay attention to the seven teas on our list and you’ll be sure to have a stronger immune system.
The more kinds you can drink, the better. You’ll need all the different kinds of polyphenols, antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins to keep you healthy and strong.
Also, take some time to slow down and enjoy your cup of tea. It works wonders for your stress levels and resets the mind!
Ryan is a former college wrestler and lifelong fitness fanatic. He has run half marathons, done mud runs, placed in body transformation contests, coached wrestling and now coaches girls soccer. Not to mention he has also tried literally hundreds of supplements over the years and has a vast and thorough supplement knowledge. He has written for Muscle & Strength, Testosterone Junkie, The Sport Review and other publications. He is also the editor in chief of this website. Feel free connect with him on his LinkedIn page below.