Caffeine-free herbal teas

By Caroline MacDougall

August 9, 2019

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.

chicory herbal coffee tea

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