Folklore has long heralded the health benefits of several popular tisanes, but clinical evidence on the effectiveness of peppermint, chamomile and hibiscus infusions is scarce.
Recognizing this, researchers Diane McKay and Jeffrey Blumberg at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Mass., examined science-based evidence of health benefits from drinking these popular herbals.
What the two discovered demonstrates much more than the ability to calm. The available research on herbal teas in general is compelling enough to suggest further clinical studies.
McKay and Blumberg work at the center’s Antioxidants Research Laboratory, which Blumberg directs, was published in this month’s Agricultural Researchmagazine. Their article describes the anti microbial, antioxident and antiplatelet-clumping activity of chamomile tisanes as well as the fact that hibiscus tisanes significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
Peppermint was shown to have significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, strong antioxidant and antitumor actions, and some antiallergenic potential. When animals were fed either moderate amounts of ground leaves or leaf extracts, researchers also noted a relaxation effect on gastrointestinal tissue and an analgesic and anesthetic effect in the nervous system.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency-supports the HNRCA with additional funding from The Hain Celestial Group, Ind.