As you sip a cup of herbal tea, you savor the flavor as it trickles down your throat and creates a pleasing warmth that fills your body with comfort. If that were all there was to herbal teas, it would truly be enough. We are grateful for all the pleasure they provide us.

Yet there is another story to be told that perhaps is even more essential to why we value our herbal teas. That is the story of nature’s brilliance in evolving the needs of the human body in intimate relationship with the nourishment plants can provide.

Micro-nutrients From Herbs

We all know to eat a well balanced diet including lots of fruits and vegetables to get our macro-nutrients, along with the vitamins and minerals our bodies require to thrive. We can’t look to herbal teas to make a significant contribution of macro-nutrients to our diet. After all, we are only infusing a teaspoonful of herbs in a cup of water.

Nevertheless, herbal teas do contain micro-nutrients, often called “phytonutrients” or “phytochemicals” (phyto means plant in Greek), that contribute in a myriad of ways to human health. Science is just beginning to understand what our ancestors have known for millennia.

You can think of a cup of herbal tea as a phytonutrient cocktail. This humble yet aromatic cup with its soothing warmth is filled with compounds from plants that gently modulate and support your health. All the water soluble components in the herbs float in that fragrant brew. They are immediately absorbed as the herbal tea enters your system. Antioxidants, immunomodulating polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, terpenes, phytosterols, alkaloids, the list becomes thousands of compounds in each of these families of phytochemicals.

Let’s make it simple. Our ancestors ate a much wider array of plant foods than we eat today. Our fruit and vegetables have been selectively cultivated for visual appeal and shelf life, but not for nutrients.

Herbs bring us that vast array of phytonutrients that we are missing in our modern diets. Herbs provide our bodies with micro, yet essential, nutrients to support our immune systems, reactivate our direct antioxidants, stimulate our digestion, and calm our stress. These are the real health benefits in a delicious cup of herbal tea.