A List of Tea and Herbal Infusion Health Claims We’ve Come Across

Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general reference only and is not a replacement for professional health advice from a physician licensed by the American Medical Association.

Health claims for teas and herbal infusions are one of the easiest things to find online. What’s tricky is finding what these are based on. For many we found no supporting studies at all. In fact, most of the claims have no merit and are highly disputed by medical authorities. We present them here more for pointing out how many things are attributed to these beverages, but we leave it to you to consult with your doctor about their veracity.

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Cures what ails ya?

Chart of Health Claims Found on Various Sites

Pinterest, Facebook, etc., are awash with various infographics on the topic of tea and health. Usually, herbal-based teas are lumped in with Camellia sinensis based teas. Here is a consolidation of a number of these claims (just hitting the highlights here – not intending to include every one):

Tea or Herbal Health Benefit Claims
(mostly unproven and disputed)
Green tea
  • Cancer: High in antioxidants which may interfere with growth of some cancers (bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal); Promotes healthy cell growth;   Linked to the prevention of breast, lung, and stomach cancer;  Reduces risk of esophageal cancer in women by 60%;  May help protect skin from UV rays
  • Circulatory system: Reduces bad cholesterol – prevents clogging of the arteries and helps with heart and cardiovascular difficulties;  Reduces risk of stroke
  • Weight loss: Increases metabolism; Promotes fat oxidation
  • Other: Has a relaxing and calming effect; Reduces risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease; Fluoride content may help prevent tooth decay; Matcha is specifically said to be a good wake-up tea
Black tea
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke with its anti-inflammatory properties and theophylline (increases blood flow in the capillaries, helps maintain normal blood pressure)
  • Lowers the risk of diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels
  • May protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Can expand airways and ease breathing for asthmatics
  • Protects skin from UV rays
  • Has about half the caffeine of a standard cup of coffee
Oolong tea
  • May aid weight management (highly disputed) by increasing metabolism and reducing body fat
  • Helps alleviate skin conditions
  • Helps lower cholesterol [assuming they mean the bad kind here, but not specified]
  • Can help diabetics keep blood sugar levels under control
White tea
  • Has the highest antioxidant properties and helps fight aging and wrinkles
  • Low in caffeine
  • Contains more potent anticancer properties than processed teas, may help reduce risk of colon cancer
  • Studies [unnamed] show that can thin blood, improve artery function, and help blood pressure go down and stay down, protecting heart and circulatory system
  • Helps strengthen the immune system and prevent bacterial infections
  • May help reduce the risk of arthritis
  • Lessens symptoms of the common cold
  • May inhibit the growth of new fat cells
Pu-erh tea
  • Known to help lower cholesterol levels, boost blood flow, and improve circulation
  • Aids digestion
  • Has antioxidants that help remove toxins from the blood stream
  • Improves spleen function
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
Chaga tea
  • May help boost and strengthen the immune system·   May help in preventing growth and lowering the risk of some cancers (breast, liver, uterus, stomach, etc.)
  • Has some anti-inflammatory properties
  • Boosts energy levels and supports increased stamina
  • Helps digestion and can prevent some stomach diseases
Chamomile
(Camomile)
  • Great for treating sleep and stomach troubles·   Antibacterial·   Contains antioxidants that may help prevent complications from diabetes such as loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage
  • Retards growth of cancer cells
  • Helps stop gastrointestinal inflammation, prevents gas, and reduces stomach cramps
  • Eases irritable bowel syndrome
  • Helps with insomnia
Chrysanthemum
  • Has cooling properties that help to decrease body heat and is recommended for those with fever, sore throat, and other heat-related illnesses
  • Drunk with meals to help digestion, especially of greasy foods
  • Helps strengthen the lungs and relieve head congestion
  • Can help in the early stages of feverish types of flu
  • May also help relieve certain types of headaches, blurred vision and dizziness (dependent on the underlying cause)
Cinnamon
(true kind from Sri Lanka)
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Fights viruses
  • Increases antioxidants
  • Alleviates arthritis symptoms
Cloves
  • Relieves constipation
Dandelion
  • Stimulates digestion
  • Can be used to treat hepatitis, jaundice, and dyspepsia
  • Lessens hot flashes
  • Combats the formation of kidney stones
Echinacea
  • Lessens symptoms of the common cold
Elderflower
  • Lessens symptoms of the common cold
Fennel
  • Eases nausea
Ginger (dried)
  • Has antihistamine properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Eases motion sickness and nausea
  • Great flavor booster
Ginseng
  • Calming
Hibiscus
  • Refreshing
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Naturally high in vitamins
  • Diuretic
  • Helps lower cholesterol [assuming the bad kind here] and control atherosclerosis
Kava
  • Helps you sleep
Lavender
  • Calming
Lemon Balm
  • Has calming effects
  • Helps with the common cold and other respiratory issues
  • Alleviates digestive problems
  • Helps relieve headaches and toothaches
Peppermint
  • Decongestant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Helps suppress the appetite
  • Eases bloated feeling in the stomach
  • Helps wake you up
Red Clover
  • Lessens menopausal symptoms
  • Can help protect against cardiovascular disease
  • Can reduce the prostate-specific antigen
Rooibos
(red bush)
  • Naturally caffeine-free
  • Has benefits for skin irritations
  • Contains cancer fighting properties
  • Helps lower cholesterol [assuming they mean the bad kind here] and control high blood pressure
  • Helps regenerate liver tissue
  • Helps reduce cramps and gastrointestinal distress
  • Helps reduce stress and protect the heart
Senna
  • Relieves constipation
Stinging Nettle
  • Recommended remedy for seasonal allergies
  • Energy booster
  • Great for treating arthritis
Yerba Mate
  • Helps open up respiratory passages
  • Lowers lipids, leading to reduced cholesterol [we’re assuming they mean the bad kind here] and lower blood pressure
  • May help convey a feeling of being full and prevent overeating, helping to reduce weight
  • Contributes to higher bone mineral density

True or False?

As stated earlier, some of these, such as the presence of antioxidants, are fairly well-supported by various studies. The cancer claims are another matter, with some reputable sources saying true and others saying false. As for weight loss, that is almost always very much up to the individual and has to be considered along with a variety of other factors such as genetic make-up, lifestyle changes as a result of switching to drinking tea (you may, for example, tend to eat at fast food places less often, not that eating at these places will necessarily make you fat), activity level changes when you switch to drinking tea, and so on.

So, here’s that disclaimer that we always like to include when discussing such matters: consult your doctor.

We do know that the lack of sugar is helpful for diabetes, and the energy needed for a good gongfu session is helpful in burning up excess fat. Other than that, who knows.

About Janice and Stephen Shelton

Purveyors of Premium Teas
This entry was posted in Health Benefit Claims, Tea Info for Newbies and Up and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A List of Tea and Herbal Infusion Health Claims We’ve Come Across

  1. Pingback: The Healthiest Green Teas | Fine Tea Focus

  2. Pingback: Yes, Black Teas Are Healthy, Too! | Fine Tea Focus

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