Acute inflammation is a natural body process designed to help the body heal. However, chronic cases of inflammation have been linked to a host of health problems ranging from heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer's and irritable bowel syndrome.
Fortunately, there's research to indicate a healthy diet and lifestyle may help prevent chronic inflammation and many of the ailment sit has been linked to. Drinking tea is one way to reduce inflammation.
The beverage has long been used as an herbal remedy in traditional medicine from across the globe. It boasts extensive health benefits from boosting the immune system to lowering blood pressure.
Read on to find out more about the best teas for inflammation. Want to pick up some tea to decrease inflammation today? Check out our collection of the best teas for inflammation right here.
Green tea is a true tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are harvested, withered, and dried to prevent oxidation. The tea offers a delightful earthy and grassy taste with hints of seaweed.
The active ingredient in green tea that boasts anti-inflammatory properties are tea catechins—particularly EGCG. Epigallocatechin gallate is a catechin that has been shown to reduce inflammation. One study showed that catechins and flavonoids in green tea work to inhibit protein denaturation resulting in decreased inflammation (1).
The tea catechins also prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc in the body. Free radicals are uncharged cells that bond with healthy cells and cause oxidative stress that can affect health (2). Free radicals can be caused by pollution, an unhealthy diet, and smoking. Oxidative stress is what ties inflammation to a host of diseases. Drinking tea can help to prevent free radicals from damaging healthy cells and stave off illnesses.
Green tea may also lower the risk of heart disease by regulating blood pressure. The catechins in green tea decrease inflammation and improve blood flow. This helps to lower blood pressure while also reducing the risk of blood clots and heart attack (3).
White tea is considered the most natural of the true teas as it undergoes the least production. Only the top two leaves of the tea plant are harvested for this premium tea. The leaves are the immediately sun-dried and packaged for sale. This tea boasts a delicate flavor that is slightly floral and sweet.
One study published in the Journal of Inflammation found that white tea offers anti-inflammatory effects in the skin. The polyphenols in white tea work to prevent inflammation in dermal fibroblast cells—cells that rebuild connective tissue and help the skin recover after an injury (4). These anti-inflammatory compounds may also help ease inflammation in joint tissue.
Ginger root tea is a spicy drink that offers a tingling flavor and piquant aroma. The tea is often consumed with a slice of lemon and a dash of honey to balance out the flavor profile. The tea is made from the root of the ginger plant and is an herbal tea backed by extensive scientific research.
Ginger contains compounds known as gingerol and shogaol, which play a role in the inflammatory process. Research shows that these compounds help to decrease inflammation and fight the resulting oxidative stress. The research indicates that ginger tea may help to prevent oxidative-stress related diseases including certain types of cancer (5).
According to the Arthritis Foundation, ginger tea may help to reduce pain associated with inflammation-related diseases. The site references research that shows ginger works as effectively as painkillers including NSAIDs—non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—to reduce pain and target inflammation on a cellular level (6).
Black tea is the most processed of the true teas. It undergoes the longest period of oxidation and brews into a rich brown or black hue. It boasts a flavor that is robust, roasted, and rich. Black tea has been a staple of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda in India for thousands of years.
The main anti-inflammatory compounds in black tea are known as flavonoids. The two flavonoids responsible for black tea's health benefits are thearubigins and theaflavins. Research shows that these compounds work to prevent oxidative stress by inhibiting enzyme activity and eliminating free radicals (7).
Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free herbal tea that comes exclusively from South Africa. The plant can only be found in the Cederberg mountains, just northeast of Cape Town. The tea is also known as red bush tea and brews into a rich maroon hue. It offers a tart and sweet flavor similar to cranberries.
Animal studies show that rooibos tea can help decrease inflammation thanks to anti-inflammatory flavonoids. In the case of rooibos tea and inflammation, aspalathin and nothofagin are the active ingredients. The research indicates these two flavonoids are more powerful than other flavonoids at treating chronic inflammatory conditions. The animal study demonstrated that drinking rooibos tea can prevent DNA damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress (8).
Chia in India simply means "tea". This beverage is a delightful blend of spices and black tea leaves that boasts extensive health benefits. The tea is typically made using ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Some recipes also call for allspice and star anise. These spices have long been used to treat health conditions and reduce inflammation.
Research indicates the spices in masala chai may help to protect DNA from harmful changes caused by free radicals. The spices including ginger work to decrease inflammation on a cellular level while antioxidants target free radicals and eliminate them (9). The spices and black tea leaves also offer pain relief as they decrease inflammation.
Turmeric tea is made from the vibrant yellow root of the turmeric plant. The spice and essential oil are also commonly used thanks to their potent health benefits. Turmeric tea offers a flavor profile with hints of ginger and earthy notes. It's often described as having notes of mustard and horseradish with bitter undertones.
Turmeric root is an essential ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. The plant contains the active ingredient curcumin, which helps to fight chronic inflammation. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that curcumin inhibits molecules that play a part in the inflammation process. The research also referenced six human trials outlining the safety and efficacy of turmeric in treating inflammation (10).
Rose hip tea is made from the berries of the rose plant. The berries emerge after the flowers have bloomed and are orange-red in color. The rose hips are packed with vitamin c that can help boost immunity and other compounds that decrease inflammation.
One meta-analysis of randomized trials involving close to 300 participants found that use of rose hips for three months resulted in a significant decrease in inflammation, pain intensity, and joint stiffness. The researchers attributed these inflammatory effects to galactolipids found in rose hips (11).
Versus Arthritis also found that rose hips block certain enzymes that breakdown cartilage and cause increased inflammation. The vitamin C in rose hip tea also contains antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress (12). In addition, the Arthritis Foundation cites research showing rose hips were more effective than a placebo in treating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis including inflammation and joint stiffness (13).
You can brew rose hip tea using fresh blooms from the garden and steeping them in boiling water. Alternatively, you can find pre-packaged loose leaf tea options like the Organic Rosehip Tea in our shop as well as tea bags to take your inflammation-fighting tea on the road.
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic inflammation. Fortunately, drinking tea can help prevent serious side effects caused by chronic inflammation. These teas boast antiviral and antibacterial properties to help your body stay healthy and recover quickly after injuries. They also boast pain relief properties that can help soothe aches associated with inflammation.
If you're worried about chronic inflammation, focus on living a healthy life. Try to eat a healthy diet with anti-inflammatory foods and drink these anti-inflammatory teas to stay hydrated and fight off inflammation. Make sure to get plenty of exercise and seek advice from a healthcare professional if you have chronic inflammation.
Settle back and pour yourself a cup of tea. Whether you choose light and airy herbal teas or a robust true tea, you can fight inflammation all while enjoying taste and relaxation. Tickle your taste buds and toast to your health with masala chai.