If you are ready for a break from caffeine, yet want a cup of tea, what are you going to reach for? Decaffeinated tea or naturally caffeine-free herbal tea?

Well, you’ve read all those health benefits that come in a cup of black and green tea, shouldn’t you just drink a decaffeinated version of them?

Not if you understand what decaffeination does to tea. It’s like drinking already brewed tea and then having someone try to put the flavor back into it and sell it to you.

Okay, there are fancy CO2 methods of decaffeinating tea, but the argument still stands. Why drink something that has been processed and has lost vital phytonutrients along the way?

If you look at the USDA data on polyphenols – the antioxidant compounds found in green and black tea – and compare it to their decaffeinated versions, you’ll find that they are greatly reduced from what they would have been if no decaffeination had occurred.

Instead, consider the choice of a cup of herbal tea, brimming with all the phytonutrients that nature put there and all the flavor just waiting to infuse into your cup. No exposure to chemical solvents or water steam baths. Lots of antioxidants just like you want. Now is your opportunity to drink a different tasting brew that brings a wider variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants into your body.

There are so many herbal choices. Like milk in your tea? Drink red teas. Like citrus or fruit flavors. There are a dizzying number of herbal teas with fabulous fruity notes from the herbs themselves complemented by natural flavors. Like spicy teas? Now you’re in for a great treat. Spicy herb teas create gentle stimulation that warms us up.

By the way, forget instant teas. There’s barely a trace of polyphenols antioxidants left in them. Brew your iced teas, be they herbal or not!

One more thing, there is caffeine in some herbal teas. Yerba maté contains caffeine at about the same level as green tea. Guarana is another caffeine-containing berry that you will see added to so-called “energy” drinks. It contains about twice the caffeine that coffee beans have. Guayusa is a relative of maté that also contains caffeine.

Marketers will tell you that their caffeine is different and is much better for you than coffee’s caffeine. Don’t’ be fooled. There is no chemical difference in the structure of caffeine, no matter what plant it occurs in. There is, however, a difference in the other phytochemicals in the plants themselves that can modulate how caffeine affects your body to some extent.

It all depends on how caffeine sensitive you are. If you don’t want any caffeine, stay away from these plants too and enjoy a wide selection of naturally caffeine-free herbal teas.

When herbal tea was introduced to the American market in the early 1970’s, tea drinkers complained that herbal tea wasn’t really tea at all. Herbal tea doesn’t contain Camellia sinensis, the caffeine-containing plant known as “tea” from which we get black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, matcha and many other varieties of tea depending on where tea is grown and how the leaf is fermented and dried.

British tea connoisseurs think that herbal tea should be called an “infusion” while the French call herbal tea a “tisane”. But Americans are more practical. If it brews and looks like tea, but it’s caffeine-free and made from herbs, it’s simply called “herbal tea”.

When the 1990’s came along and coffee bars were being opened everywhere, Caroline was inspired to create Teeccino, a whole new concept for an herbal beverage that brews, looks and tastes like coffee but is made from naturally caffeine-free herbs. In the beginning, she called Teeccino an “herbal espresso” because she began brewing it in an espresso machine to make caffeine-free cappuccinos. After hearing from enthusiastic customers who wanted to brew Teeccino any way they brew coffee, it finally dawned on her that she has created “herbal coffee”! It was one of those things that after you say it, it’s so obvious, you wonder, what took you so long?

Herbal beverages offer a wide variety of healthful properties without any caffeine or acidity. Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, a drug that triggers the body’s stress response called the “flight or fight” syndrome. Too much caffeine can aggravate stress by elevating cortisol and keep you awake at night. There are many health conditions whose symptoms are made worse from too much caffeine. Naturally caffeine-free herbal teas and herbal coffees can be drunk any time of the day or night and they can help promote a good night’s sleep.

Both herbal teas and herbal coffees are made from herbs with a long tradition of being enjoyed throughout the world for many millennia. Herbs are valued for their health and wellness properties with age-old reputations for promoting optimal health. Herbal teas and herbal coffees are made from herbs that are safe to drink on a daily basis. Rest assured that pharmaceutical botanicals that shouldn’t be consumed regularly are not used in herbal beverages or wellness teas.

We hope you enjoy the many herbal beverages Caroline has developed for your tasting pleasure and to promote optimal health.

Getting the appetite under control after the holidays is a big challenge for everyone. Those frequent hunger signals may not really be necessary, but ignoring them is so difficult. The blood sugar has been on a rollercoaster of sharp spikes and subsequent crashes as insulin is pumped out in response to yet another sweet morsel or caffeine-laden jolt. If you’re feeling out of control, here are six tips for bringing balance back to your life.

Curb the caffeine

Caffeine triggers the “fight or flight” stress syndrome. When you body is in a state of stress, cortisol, the stress hormone, is elevated. Studies show that high levels of cortisol increase fat storage in the abdomen and make you want to eat fatty, high calorie foods. Best ways to reduce caffeine dependency: Blend Teeccino Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee with your coffee, gradually using less coffee over a two week period. If you think you can’t do without, restrict coffee to mornings only and replace cups of coffee with Teeccino in the afternoon and evenings. Your adrenal glands will recover their natural hormonal daily rhythmic cycle that keeps you energized without stimulants and sleepy only when it’s time to go to bed.

Watch out for chocolate

The holidays are full of chocolate treats and suddenly you find your body has daily cravings for the lift that the two stimulants in chocolate, theobromine and caffeine, bring. Give yourself a natural energy boost with a cup of Teeccino and choose one of the chocolate flavors like Mocha, Chocolaté, or Chocolate Mint to satisfy your chocolate-craving taste buds.

Relieve afternoon fatigue without stimulants

You’ll get a natural energy boost from a mug of Teeccino that makes it much easier to wean off of central nervous system stimulants from both chocolate and coffee. Drink a cup around 3 PM when you’re feeling that mid-afternoon dip and watch how you perk up again with a smooth energy lift that stays steady until it’s time to eat.

Eat 1 crisp apple before meals

Apples make a perfect snack that you can eat twice a day or 15 minutes before lunch or dinner. Apples surprisingly satisfy the appetite and studies show that eating one before a meal reduces the amount of calories consumed during the meal. A medium apple has 80 calories and won’t produce a sugar rush as the fiber helps slow the release of the sugars during digestion. Its 5 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber gives you 20% of the daily recommended fiber intake. Fiber helps us feel full and keeps our colons healthy.

Drink a tall glass of filtered or mineral water

Wait ten minutes and oftentimes your appetite will completely go away. Water rehydrates your body and often hunger signals are satisfied once rehydration has occurred. Not so thrilled about water? Try herbal teas made with rooibos, the red tea, or Tulsi tea, either hot or chilled. The flavor will help you drink more fluid and their herbal phytonutrients like antioxidants and flavanoids help fight free radicals, lower stress and support your immune system. You can find flavors that are sweetened with stevia or licorice without any calories to fool yourself into thinking you’ve just had a sweet treat!

Satisfy your desire for sweet & rich desserts without the caloric load

Our taste buds get programmed for sweets after dinner when we’ve been regularly indulging even if we ate a filling meal. Breaking that habitual urge for just a little something, that oftentimes becomes more than just a little, is the trick. The dates, figs and roasted almonds in Teeccino’s Mediterranean flavors satisfy the taste buds for both rich and sweet flavors. Make a big frothy mug of Teeccino as a cappuccino or latte with 2% milk. Use 4 – 6 oz of heated, frothed milk added to strong brewed Teeccino. You’ll feel very content with only 85 calories balanced between protein, fat and carbohydrates and plenty of calcium and potassium for a good night’s sleep.

Ok, we’re prejudiced. We just don’t see any reason to drink decaf when you can enjoy naturally caffeine-free herbal coffee. But we do understand the need for a bit of caffeine.

Many people really want that morning cup to have a little extra help when the wake-up call comes. No doubt about it, if you’re the type that experiences morning sluggishness, caffeine will get your system moving.

We’re not here to judge that, though if you give us a chance, we may suggest that you try going without for a few months to see if you can rebuild your natural energy supply. Nevertheless, if you want some caffeine, we have some good ideas for you.

Blend Teeccino with your coffee when you’re brewing to adjust the amount of caffeine you need on a cup-by-cup, pot-by-pot basis. If you really had too little sleep, go heavier on the coffee and lighter on Teeccino. If you just need a little pick-up, drink mostly Teeccino and blend in a bit of regular coffee. If you want to get off caffeine all together, gradually wean yourself off over a two-week period by slowing reducing the amount of coffee in the blend.

We predict that you will grow to love the taste of coffee blended with Teeccino and surprisingly, you may not like your brew without Teeccino anymore. Read Teeccino testimonials and you’ll see what we’re talking about. It turns out that our taste buds will adjust to healthier options given the exposure. Many people find that Teeccino becomes their preference after they give it a chance.

For a variety of reasons, we think decaf should be avoided. It’s highly acidic, studies show it raises cholesterol, it may even have chemical residues in it, and no matter what, it has lost substantial flavor. Since decaf still contains caffeine, you might as well make your own. Just blend your regular coffee with Teeccino and you can make it as “decaf” as you need. Now that is what we call having your cake and eating it too. No sacrifice. Just great flavor and lots of health benefits.

If hot summer days make you feel listless and fatigued, or you’ve just had a strenuous workout, you may be suffering from low potassium! Potassium is an essential blood mineral, known as an electrolyte, which can be lost through exercise and perspiration. Although our cells are programmed to store more than twice as much potassium as sodium, our diets often are much higher in sodium than potassium.

Potassium is a soluble mineral that can easily be lost in cooking and processed foods. Because our ancestor’s natural diet of fruits, grains, and vegetables was high in potassium and lower in sodium, our bodies were designed to store sodium. Now that high sodium foods are plentiful, people get too much sodium and not enough potassium. Plus, if you drink coffee, the caffeine stimulates potassium’s elimination via the urine.

As a result of our low potassium intake, many people now suffer from hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure. Making sure you get enough potassium is essential to optimal health. Potassium helps protect the heart muscle, regulates your heart beats, and prevents strokes.

Teeccino contains a generous helping of easily absorbable potassium from carob, barley, chicory, dates, figs, almonds and ramon nuts. The potassium is released during brewing into the Teeccino liquid, making it easy to absorb in the small intestines where it can be rapidly assimilated by your blood, muscle, and brain cells.

In fact, Teeccino contains more potassium per serving than popular sports drinks like Garorade®. Teeccino’s potassium is all natural, unlike the chemical added to sports drinks.

Here is our favorite way to quickly restore potassium levels and get an instant natural pick-up:

  • Store a pitcher of brewed Teeccino in your refrigerator so it is ready at all times. Pour the cold Teeccino into a glass, add milk and sweeten with maple syrup or non-caloric sweetener like liquid stevia. Stir and enjoy! Brewed Teeccino will keep in your fridge for a week without flavor or nutrient loss.
  • Follow these instructions for making iced Teeccino from a freshly brewed pot.
  • Add sparkling water to chilled Teeccino if you love carbonated drinks. With the color of a cola, Teeccino also resembles a dark British stout!

We promise. After a glass of iced Teeccino, you’ll feel reenergized and ready to tackle the rest of your day!

All the good nutritional advice swirling around the media and the natural food world can be distilled into one simple rule; eat a nutrient rich, fiber dense diet. Despite our best efforts, our ability to absorb the nutrients we eat is often compromised by our diet and lifestyle. Optimal health becomes dependent on our capacity to utilize the nutrients in our food in order to get the most value from what we eat.

Caffeine increases the excretion of minerals

Out of all the essential nutrients our bodies depend on for optimal health, minerals are the most difficult to absorb. Typically only 30% of the calcium we eat is utilized while the rest is excreted. Unwittingly, people drinking a cup of coffee with their meals decrease the absorption of these essential minerals. Caffeine and other constituents in coffee cause the body to excrete minerals in the urine, especially calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.

Today’s food provides fewer nutrients

Food provides the fuel that our bodies require to produce the energy we need. Quality fuel produces a much better running engine; not just in your car but also in your body. By looking at the range of chronic diseases and obesity prevalent in America, it is clear that the fuel people consume today, versus what our bodies were designed to consume back in the hunting and gathering days, is sadly lacking in the appropriate balance of nutrients and fiber.

The food available at your local grocery store may have traveled thousands of miles to get to your shopping cart. Most of it was picked unripe to survive the transport, depriving it of developing rich vitamin content. The soil it was grown in was likely depleted of its natural minerals by commercial farming methods. Thus, our food has fewer nutrients than it did a hundred years ago even though our body needs even more antioxidants and essential minerals than ever to combat the environmental stressors that we encounter everyday.

The Loss of Essential Minerals

Calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and sodium are all essential minerals that our bodies require an adequate amount of every day. It is easy to take in our daily dose of sodium, the body’s most abundant mineral; in fact, most people have far too much sodium in their diets from highly salted, processed foods.

On the other hand, it is not as easy to ensure an adequate daily intake of the essential dietary minerals when for example, only 30% of dietary calcium is absorbed normally anyway. On top of that, both our lifestyles and our diet may interfere with mineral absorption. Minerals are lost due to too-high sodium intake, excess alcohol consumption, prolonged stress, too much exercise, diuretics, prescription drugs, phosphoric acid in soda, and both caffeine and coffee consumption.

Often, mineral deficiencies can be difficult to detect, as the body tends to rob minerals from the bone, cells, and other storage sites in order to maintain the necessary levels needed in the blood for basic metabolic processes.

For example, the body will leach calcium from bone and steal magnesium from cells in order to keep these minerals coursing through the bloodstream. Internal mineral theft and mineral redistribution contributes even more to mineral depletion. An inadequate supply of one mineral can lead to the depletion of another since many minerals aid in the absorption of each other. For example, maintaining adequate potassium, phosphorus and magnesium in the diet helps prevent calcium loss.

Mineral Depletion Leads to Chronic Disease and Fatigue

Mineral depletion can result in classic deficiency diseases like anemia from lack of iron, or osteoporosis from decreased calcification and breakdown of bone. Over time, mineral deficiencies contribute to a number of chronic degenerative diseases.

On a daily basis, we experience mineral depletion by feelings of fatigue, problems with memory, feelings of sluggishness and slow metabolism. Some of the signs of mineral deficiency may be so subtle that we don’t notice that something is wrong; we may just experience a general feeling of malaise and suffer from a weak immune system.

Three Tips For Mineral Absorption

You can create an optimal condition for increasing mineral absorption by doing the following three simple things:

  • Eat mineral rich foods
  • Maintain an alkaline metabolic balance in your diet
  • Consume plenty of dietary inulin.

Rebalance Metabolic Acidity With Alkaline Foods

Metabolic acidity is a condition that creates a high demand for minerals to rebalance the body’s natural alkalinity. All foods must be buffered so that the body’s tissues, blood and other fluids are maintained at the normal slightly alkaline pH of 7.3 to 7.4 – quite a specific and narrow range for optimal health.

Alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium are the buffering agents that the body uses to achieve this alkaline balance. If your diet is acidic and doesn’t supply adequate minerals, your bones and teeth will become the reservoirs the body uses to get the minerals required to readjust the acidity to alkalinity.

A simple yet accurate definition of “acidic foods” is those foods that don’t supply alkaline minerals. Both regular and decaf coffee, tea, meat, sugar and refined carbohydrates are all acidic foods that can cause your body to be robbed of minerals if you don’t have an adequate supply in your diet.

Although most fruits and vegetables are alkaline because they are high in minerals, lemon juice, for instance, is an acidic food because it doesn’t have a high enough mineral content to balance its low acidity pH of 2.2-2.3.

As we age, the body becomes more acidic because the digestive tract becomes less efficient at absorbing minerals and its mineral reserves may be depleted. Metabolic acidity can make you susceptible to illness and disease, including fatigue, digestive problems, bladder infections, Candida yeast infections, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colds, flu, and allergies. Thus if you are eating highly acidic foods, make sure you include foods and beverages high in the alkaline minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium so your body can maintain a healthy alkaline metabolism.

Inulin, the Key to Mineral Absorption

Inulin is a soluble fiber found in high quantities in tubers like chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes and in lesser amounts in garlic, onions, bananas, raisins and wheat. Inulin is found in as many as 35,000 plants and vegetables, making it a very common substance that rarely produces an allergic reaction due to the wide exposure people have to it.

Inulin is called a “prebiotic” because it passes undigested through the intestines to the colon where it is consumed by “probiotics”, the beneficial microflora like bifidus and lactobacillus bacteria that are so important to good digestive health. The byproducts of inulin digestion in the colon create a climate that prevents the growth of pathogens and putrefactive bacteria.

Inulin decreases constipation by producing soft stools and it helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides while normalizing blood sugar levels. By supporting a healthy population of beneficial microflora and increasing the absorptive capacity of the epithelium cells of the colon, inulin consumption increases your ability to absorb minerals.

Drink Teeccino to increase your daily intake of inulin

Although in centuries past, Europeans ate as much as 35 grams a day of inulin and South Americans ate around 100 grams daily, the average American eats only 2.5 grams of inulin a day. Eating a diet with increased quantities of inulin creates the optimal climate in the colon to absorb the minerals from the food you eat. Studies show inulin increases calcium absorption by up to 18% over the norm and it positively affects the absorption of both iron and magnesium.

Teeccino contains 650 mgs of inulin in each 10 oz cup. Only three cups a day can nearly double your inulin intake! Plus Teeccino’s inulin is already released from the chicory into the brewed liquid, optimizing its bioavailability.

Since Teeccino doesn’t contain any stimulants that make you excrete your minerals, drinking Teeccino daily helps you retain minerals in the colon where they can be absorbed more effectively due to the action of inulin. Additionally, Teeccino is alkaline because its high potassium content helps restore alkalinity with every cup you drink!

People who are addicted to caffeine often ask those of us who have given it up, “What is the point of drinking Teeccino when it doesn’t have any caffeine?” The simple answer is that if you are committed to creating optimal health, habitual coffee drinking doesn’t support your goals and Teeccino with its numerous health benefits does! Then, with tongue in cheek, we ask them, “How many essential minerals have you lost today?”

Author: Anisa Tipton, RD, M.S. & Caroline MacDougall

We’ve all heard that we should eat more fiber but most people don’t realize that fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. People groan about eating insoluble fiber if it means they have to switch from their favorite cereal to one of those cardboard-like, fiber varieties or choose the crunchy, brown, whole grain bread over their white, sourdough baguette. The good news is that soluble fiber, like the kind you get in a cup of Teeccino, is much easier on the digestive tract and is also heart healthy!

Soluble Fiber is easier to digest than insoluble fiber

Most people think of whole wheat, bran products, raw and leafy green vegetables when they think of high fiber foods, but these foods are actually high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, and passes through your body largely intact, increasing the speed at which food moves through the stomach and intestines. Insoluble fiber can sometimes increase irritation in those who suffer from gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulitis.

On the other hand, soluble fiber slows the digestion of food, giving the body time to absorb nutrients. It also prolongs the time food stays in the stomach, helping sugar to be released and absorbed more slowly into your system. This helps people avoid blood sugar spikes, making soluble fiber great for diabetics.

Soluble fiber is found in grains like barley, oatmeal, rice, and corn meal and seeds like chia and flax. You can also enjoy soluble fiber in a wider variety of vegetables and fruits like potatoes, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, squash, pumpkins, avocados, bananas, oranges, applesauce and mangos. Even mushrooms contribute soluble fiber to your diet!

Soluble fiber is heart healthy

Soluble fiber lowers total cholesterol by binding it during digestion and eliminating it from the body without it being absorbed. Eating soluble fiber has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber from barley and oats contains beta-glucan, a natural polysaccharide that has been proven to lower LDL-cholesterol. Beta-glucan also has anti-tumor and immune stimulating properties.

Eating foods rich in soluble fiber help prevent symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and can relieve those symptoms that may occur. Sources of soluble fiber recommended for IBS include psyllium, chia and flax. All three have a bulk laxative effect which helps maintain regularity by stimulating elimination.

Soluble Fiber in Teeccino can boost your daily intake

Inulin, a soluble fiber from chicory root, contributes unique benefits to improve digestive health. Inulin is a prebiotic because it supports a healthy population of beneficial micro-flora, often called probiotics, that live in the large and small intestines helping to digest your food. Studies show that a strong population of probiotics is necessary for good digestive health. Inulin, commercially extracted from chicory root, is often added to foods like yogurt to support the effectiveness of the probiotics such as the lactobacillus and bifidus micro-flora. A cup of Teeccino contains 650 mg of inulin that comes naturally from roasted chicory root that tastes so much like coffee.

Most people do not get enough soluble fiber in their diets. The recommended amount a fiber a day is 25g per day. The average American only consumes an average of 15g per day. You can help increase your soluble fiber intake daily by drinking Teeccino.

Every cup of Teeccino contains 1 gram of soluble fiber from both barley with beta-glucan and chicory. Drinking 5 cups of Teeccino daily provides the .75 grams of soluble fiber from barley for which the FDA has recently allowed the following health claim: Soluble fiber from foods such as barley as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

OK, let’s face it! Not many of us like to eat what’s good for us. So you can feel highly virtuous knowing that drinking something as delicious as Teeccino can also be healthy for your digestive system and your heart!

Every ancient culture has developed the use of herbs for medicinal purposes over thousands of years’ experience. Many of our modern pharmaceuticals developed from plant compounds that our ancestors had used first as teas.

Western medicine has specialized in symptom removal using single molecules, or “silver bullets’ to very effectively target a specific action in the body. On the other side of the fence are herbalists and holistic practitioners who believe in the importance of consuming whole plants, rather than isolated compounds, because the synergy of all the plant’s phytonutrients is thought to be safer and healthier for restoring balance to the body.

These are very different approaches to health with each method having its own virtues.

Wellness teas sit in the midst of this polarity. Based on the traditional use of herbs from many cultures, wellness teas are gentle healing infusions made with herbs that are safe to drink on a daily basis to support whichever health regime you are following. They aren’t meant to cure any disease. They are meant to help the body’s own efforts to restore health by providing a wide variety of micronutrients that can modulate your health.

DSHEA: The Law That Protects Our Rights To Herbal Supplements

A law, called DSHEA, the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act, was passed in 1994 to govern the use of herbs and nutritional supplements in the USA and to specify the type of claims that could be made about them. Wellness teas have developed as dietary supplements under these guidelines.

The Supplement Facts box that you find on a wellness tea and “structure / function” claims in the label copy are all developed thanks to the DSHEA law. A structure / function claim is the permissible information that a company can tell you about what function or structure an herb or supplement supports in the body.

Problems develop when scientific studies show that an herb may have effectiveness against a disease but manufacturers are not allowed to tell the public about it. Just recently the FTC required Dr. Andrew Weil, the best known integrative medicine proponent in America, to remove an herbal product from his website because he had reported on studies showing that the herb stimulates the immune system and helps prevents colds and flu.

Why shouldn’t we consumers know this? Unfortunately, this kind of information crosses into the realm of disease and the multi-millions of dollars spent to develop new drugs for diseases. No one will spend that kind of money on herbal supplements because no one can patent them for their exclusive sale in order to regain the tremendous investment required for a new drug application.

American Botanical Council

We highly recommend supporting the work of a very important non-profit organization that publishes and educates the public about the medicinal value of herbs. The American Botanical Council (ABC) based in Austin, Texas was founded by Mark Blumenthal, an herbal industry pioneer, who has become the best spokesperson for herbal medicine in the US. ABC has multiple activities including the publication of herbal books and a magazine called HerbalGram, the distribution of reports on the latest herbal research in HerbClip, and the largest database of herbal medicine.

If you want reliable, authentic herbal information without any hype, ABC is where you will find it. For $50/year, you can support their valuable work with your membership and enjoy access to their database that keeps medicinal herbal information available for all of our benefit.

South African red tea, the fermented leaf of the rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis) that only grows in the Cape region, has become one of the most popular teas in America. Like black tea leaves, rooibos needles start a natural oxygenation process upon harvest, called fermentation, that changes the green needles to a deep reddish brown.

Imparting a slightly sweet, earthy or woodsy flavor upon brewing, rooibos tea with its beautiful deep red color in the cup is considered full-bodied rather than light and floral like so many herbal teas. It is the only herbal tea that has the depth of flavor to combine well with milk.

Rooibos makes a great base tea to carry other flavors like spice, fruit or floral accents. Many tea drinkers find naturally caffeine-free rooibos tea makes a satisfying replacement for black or green tea.

Health benefits of rooibos tea

Rooibos is famed for a number of health benefits that the South Africans have studied extensively. First, it contains a unique flavonoid antioxidant, aspalathin, found nowhere else in nature as well as other more common flavonoid compounds like quercetin, luteolin, and orientin.

Rooibos grows in mineral-rich soil high in the Cape’s arid plains. Its long taproot draws up calcium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese into its needles. South African scientists have found rooibos tea has many phytonutrients that exert their protective effects on our hearts, our DNA, our livers, and skin. All this in a delicious tasting cup of red tea!

The caffeine-free alternative to green and black teas

Red tea has become the best known alternative to black and green tea for tea drinkers who want all the benefits of multiple antioxidants without any caffeine. We highly recommend drinking rooibos, the red tea, over decaffeinated black or green tea, so you get all of the health benefits nature intended without any processing that diminishes them.

You’ll find a large selection of red teas featured on this site that were designed by Caroline MacDougall for top tea companies. If you haven’t yet tried rooibos tea, check out our most popular red teas for recommendations on which ones might appeal to you.

It was discovered by accident. The US Department of Agriculture was conducting experiments on foods to see how fast they raise blood sugar. Oddly enough, America’s favorite apple pie had just the opposite effect. It helped reduce blood sugar!

If you are insulin resistant, have type 2 diabetes or just want to stabilize your blood sugar to help lose weight, here is a delicious way to lower your blood sugar and reduce both your cholesterol and blood pressure while you naturally stimulate your metabolism.

Apple pie, high in both cane and fruit sugars, should have raised blood sugar, not lowered it. When researchers at the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland discovered this phenomenon, they delved into finding what caused it. Richard Anderson, the scientist in charge of the study, found that cinnamon in the apple pie was responsible for making fat cells more receptive to insulin. One of his postdoctoral students, Alam Khan, decided to conduct a test in Pakistan to see what effect cinnamon would have on diabetics.

60 participants with type 2 diabetes were given between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder a day, for 40 days, in capsules after meals. Within a short period of time, their blood sugar levels dropped an average of 20% lower than the control group of diabetics who were only taking a placebo. Cinnamon helped some of the diabetics even reduce their blood sugar to normal levels during the course of the study. The effects of the cinnamon were not permanent however. When the diabetics stopped taking the cinnamon, their blood sugar levels rose again.

MHCP: the water-soluble polyphenol that lowers blood sugar

The active principle in cinnamon that makes fat cells more receptive to insulin is a water soluble, polyphenol compound called MHCP. MHCP activates an enzyme that causes insulin to bind to cells and inhibits the enzyme that blocks this process. MHCP mimics insulin by activating its cellular receptors and it works synergistically with insulin in the cells.

Cinnamon oil, commonly used as a flavoring, won’t help though. You have to eat ground cinnamon just like you buy in the spice rack at your grocery store to get the beneficial effects of MHCP. If you don’t want to eat cinnamon at every meal, you can take cinnamon in capsules like the diabetics did in the study. But if you love the flavor of cinnamon, you can add it to your meals and even your tea. One of the researchers found that a cinnamon stick in his tea cup lowered his blood sugar even though he wasn’t diabetic.

Spices increase the body’s metabolic rate

There are plenty more health benefits cinnamon can bring you too. Pungent spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom increase the body’s metabolic rate. The heat you experience when you eat a spicy meal, or drink spice teas like chai, is generated by the stimulating effect of spices that raise your metabolism by burning up calories. Spices are natural stimulants that will wake up your system without adrenal stimulating drugs such as caffeine that elevate stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

Cinnamon enhances digestive health

Cinnamon enhances digestion and can relieve gas and bloating. Cinnamon oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties like many essential oils from spices and other medicinal plants. After all, plants developed their essential oils to defend themselves from insects and diseases. Ground cinnamon has shown effectiveness against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which is associated with the development of intestinal ulcers. Cinnamon was found in the diabetics study to significantly lower blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Eat and drink cinnamon daily

Cooking with cinnamon makes taking your daily dose a real pleasure. Cinnamon is included in all kinds of Indian curries and you’ll find lots of tropical recipes that depend on cinnamon where spices in general were thought to preserve food from spoilage. Cinnamon is used to spice up both meat and fish recipes and you can find Middle Eastern savory lamb and chicken recipes using cinnamon. Cinnamon flavors exotic rice dishes combined with nuts and raisins. My favorite breakfast use of cinnamon is in oatmeal where the oat bran plus cinnamon makes a real heart healthy meal. Kids love cinnamon on toast, but skip the sugar if you’re trying to lower blood sugar. Watch out for desserts and baked goods high in fat and sugar because even though they may be flavored with cinnamon, it is likely that the benefits of the cinnamon will be outweighed by the calories of the refined carbohydrates and fats.

I couldn’t end this article without including one of my favorite drinks, spicy chai, made with rooibos for a caffeine-free version or caffeine-free, roasted ramon nuts for a coffee-like chai. I like brewing my own chai rather than buying the concentrates that are way too sweet. Check out my spice and chai teas and Teeccino Maya Chai. All of them are full of cinnamon and make a delicious accompaniment to meals!