What Is Herbal Tea: The Ultimate Guide

By Bridget Reed
Medically Reviewed by:

Heidi Wright, BSN, RN, PCCN, and Certified Master Herbalist

What Is Herbal Tea: The Ultimate Guide

October 16, 2023

From the bustling streets of Asia to the tranquil tea rooms of Europe, herbal teas have established their presence in cultures around the globe. At Herbaly, we recognize the long-standing history of these aromatic brews that date back thousands of years. These beverages have been celebrated not just for their delightful flavors but also for their potential health benefits, offering solace to both the body and mind. 

While many use the term “tea” freely, it's essential to understand that not all teas are derived from the same source. This brings us to a crucial distinction between herbal infusions and the traditional teas that originate from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Understanding Herbal Teas

At its core, herbal tea — also referred to as an herbal infusion — is a drink made from steeping herbs, flowers, roots, or other plant materials in hot water. Herbal teas typically don't contain any actual "tea leaves'' from the tea plant, making them caffeine-free and a go-to option for those looking to avoid caffeine's stimulating effects. 

Now, you might hear the term “tisane” being thrown around in tea conversations. Tisanes, much like herbal infusions, are any beverage made from the infusion of herbs, spices, or other plant materials. The terms can often be used interchangeably, though some purists might reserve “tisanes” for blends that include a mix of these ingredients, while “herbal infusions” might refer to a single-ingredient brew.

What Are True Teas vs. Herbal Teas?

When you hear the term “true tea,” it refers to teas derived from the Camellia sinensis plant — a native of Asia and the primary source of some of the world's most celebrated teas. 

This magical plant gives birth to a variety of teas, each with its unique processing method and flavor profile:

  • Green tea: Lightly processed, it retains a fresh, grassy flavor and is packed with antioxidants.
  • Black tea: Fully oxidized, this tea boasts a robust flavor and is a staple in many households, especially in places like India and Europe.
  • Oolong tea: Sitting between green and black tea, oolong undergoes partial oxidation, resulting in a unique and diverse flavor spectrum.
  • White tea: The least processed of all, it is delicate, with a subtle sweetness and a hint of floral notes.

While these teas originate from the same plant, their differences in processing and flavor are vast. Herbal teas, on the other hand, step away from the Camellia sinensis leaves, diving into a world of diverse plant ingredients, each with its own set of benefits and flavors. Whether it's the calming chamomile, the invigorating peppermint, or the rich rooibos, herbal blends offer an array of options beyond the scope of traditional tea leaves.

What Are Some Popular Herbal Teas?

As we embark on our exploration of the vibrant world of herbal teas, it’s essential to pause and appreciate the symphony of flavors, origins, and benefits that they bring. While every blend has its unique narrative, the underlying theme is one of nature’s harmony and healing. Our blends here at Herbaly, in particular, reflect the very essence of this theme, marrying tradition with modernity.

Chamomile Tea

Tracing its origins back to the ancient realms of Egypt, Rome, and Greece, chamomile is a serene, daisy-like flower that we adore. With its calming floral notes, it offers a haven of tranquility in every cup.

Some studied benefits of chamomile tea include:

  • Supports feelings of relaxation.
  • Helps support digestion.
  • Supports better sleep.

In our Heart Functional Tea, we've gracefully paired chamomile with ginger root and lavender flower, curating a harmonious wellness experience for you.

Peppermint Tea

Celebrated in both Europe and Asia, peppermint is refreshingly invigorating. Every sip feels like a revitalizing breeze, awakening the senses.

Peppermint tea offers a variety of potential benefits, including:

  • Supports digestion.
  • May help ease headaches.
  • Supports sinus health.

Hibiscus Tea

Our journey through tropical climates introduced us to the bold hibiscus. Its vivacious, tangy flavor and deep ruby hue are a reflection of the vibrant flower itself.

With hibiscus tea, you can enjoy benefits like:

  • Supports heart health.
  • May help support a healthy blood pressure.
  • Rich in antioxidants.

Our Pressure Balance Functional Tea features hibiscus alongside lavender, fennel, and ginger to help support a healthy heart. 

Ginger Tea

Inspired by Southeast Asian traditions, ginger holds a special place in our hearts for its zesty warmth and comfort.

Some key benefits of ginger tea include:

  • Soothing properties.
  • Supports healthy digestion.

Our Glucose Functional Tea harnesses the potency of ginger, celebrating its holistic health benefits.

Rooibos Tea

Discovering rooibos in South Africa's mountains was like unearthing a gem. Its natural sweetness and nutty flavor make it a delightful caffeine-free brew for any time of the day.

Rooibos tea offers several amazing benefits, such as:

  • High in antioxidants.
  • Supports heart health.
  • Helps ease discomfort associated with allergies.

Yerba Mate

Deep-rooted in South American traditions, yerba mate is a symbol of unity. Its earthy profile resonates with our ethos of connection and wellness.

Yerba mate offers the following wellness benefits:

  • Supports feelings of mental clarity.
  • Helps support metabolism.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals.

Our Detox Functional Tea pays homage to yerba mate, pairing it with rejuvenating ingredients like fenugreek and turmeric root.

Turmeric Tea

The golden allure of turmeric, cherished in Indian and Southeast Asian wellness practices, captivated us. Its peppery warmth and brilliant hue truly make it a “golden spice.”

Turmeric tea can support your health in several key ways, such as:

  • Soothing properties.
  • Supports joint health.
  • Supports immune system function.

Our Wellness Functional Tea is a tribute to turmeric, merging tradition and contemporary wellness seamlessly.

Dandelion Root Tea

We found magic in the humble dandelion root, a garden regular transformed into a unique brew with roasted, earthy notes.

Dandelion root tea offers the following intriguing benefits:

  • Supports liver function.
  • Acts as a natural diuretic.
  • Rich in fiber.

Many of our delicious Functional Teas incorporate dandelion root, underscoring our commitment to uncovering nature’s lesser-known gems.

In this landscape of herbal teas, each blend tells its own story. As we continue our journey, remember that the beauty of these teas is as much in their origin and flavor as it is in their benefits. Embrace the diversity, sip the goodness, and let nature's healing power wash over you.

How To Master Art of Herbal Tea Brewing and Enjoyment

Stepping further into the realm of herbal teas, it's not just about recognizing their many benefits — but also about mastering the art of brewing and enjoying them. Let's elevate your tea-drinking experience, transforming it from a simple daily ritual to a moment of sheer bliss.

Water Temperature Matters

Herbal teas often demand different water temperatures for optimal extraction. While some herbs are robust enough to handle boiling water, others (like the delicate chamomile flower) prefer a gentler heat. A bit of research and experimentation can help you find the perfect balance.

Steep Time Is Key

Over-steeping can lead to a bitter or overpowering taste, while under-steeping may result in a flavorless cup. Typically, herbal teas benefit from a longer steeping time, ranging from five to 10 minutes. However, always trust your palate and adjust according to your preference.

Explore Iced Versions

While a hot cup of herbal infusion is a classic choice, don't shy away from creating cold versions, especially during warmer months. 

Our Wellness Iced Tea is an exemplary blend that showcases how herbal teas can be refreshing when served chilled. Lightly caffeinated and crafted with eight natural ingredients, it's a testament to how iced herbal brews can be both flavorful and beneficial.

A Pinch of Natural Sweetness

If you find certain herbal teas a little too bitter for your tastes, consider adding natural sweeteners like honey or agave. They not only enhance the flavor but also bring additional health benefits to your cup.

If you're on the lookout for a sweetener that adds flavor without any calories or glycemic impact, give our Glucose Organic Stevia Leaf Sweetener a try. This natural sweetener, derived from the stevia plant, is an ideal choice for those mindful of their sugar intake. 

Experiment with Blends

While single-ingredient infusions are a delight, don't hesitate to mix and match. Blending different herbs can result in a symphony of flavors and augmented health benefits.

Mindfulness in Every Sip

Herbal teas have always been associated with tranquility and reflection. Engage all your senses when drinking. Notice the color, savor the aroma, and truly taste each sip. This mindful approach not only enhances your enjoyment but can also serve as a brief meditative moment in your hectic day.

Herbal teas, with their vast spectrum of flavors and wellness attributes, are indeed nature's gift to us. Whether you're a novice or an aficionado, there's always room to delve deeper, experiment more, and revel in the timeless joy these brews offer. Let each cup be a journey, and as you journey, may you discover the world in your teacup.

Wrapping Things Up

At Herbaly, our commitment goes beyond simply offering you a cup of tea. We aim to bridge cultures, histories, and the very essence of natural wellness through our curated selections. Each of our tea bags encapsulates an exploration — from traditional practices to contemporary tastes, fusing the age-old wisdom of herbal medicine with modern-day desires. 

As we traverse through various types of tea, we invite you to join us in honoring this age-old tradition. Whether you lean towards traditional teas from the Camellia sinensis plant or the myriad infusions from the world over, remember that every sip is a testament to nature's wonder. 

Here's to health, harmony, and the timeless allure of herbal brews. 


The Hidden Health Benefits of Tea | Penn Medicine

Herbal Infusions as a Valuable Functional Food | PMC

Turmeric Benefits | Johns Hopkins Medicine

7 Benefits of Hibiscus Tea | Cleveland Clinic

FOLLOW US @Herbaly