I'm always on the lookout for ways to feel better, faster, and regularly revamping parts of my wellness routine is an integral part of that. "Wellness" teas, aka teas that are specially formulated with adaptogens and other herbs that are purported to boost immunity, focus, calm, or more things you generally want, are suddenly everywhere right now. However you feel about tea, there's no denying that the classic afternoon pick-me-up is naturally packed with antioxidants and other good-for-you things. "Research shows that tea possesses compounds which can enhance the immune system and offer added defense against illnesses that tend to occur more often this time of year," Certified Tea Specialist Dr. Nada Milosavljevic recently wrote on her blog. "These compounds include catechins (a chemical found in plants, especially green tea), amino acids (important in building proteins that help the immune system) and polyphenols (an antioxidant)."
Wellness teas, however, take these naturally-occurring aspects of tea one step further by incorporating herbs, spices, and other ingredients that you wouldn't find in your run of the mill chai to boost the beverage's health benefits — and people are apparently super down. According to Katie Pande, Senior Herbalist at Pukka, "One of the reasons why wellness teas [have] become so popular is because they are a quick and easy health swap." She tells Bustle, "It's more manageable for people working busy modern lifestyles to consider swapping a latte or a cup of English Breakfast for a healthier herbal option than it is to consider a complete overhaul of diet and exercise." While it's important to note that wellness teas aren't meant to cure any ailment, if they make you feel better after drinking them, there's no harm in indulging in healthy-tasting tea.
What's cool about wellness tea (as opposed to, you know, tea) is that the blends are often more colorful or textured than your average bag — many come in loose-leaf formations, and you're likely to see rosehips, dried guava, or orange peels mixed in with the regular tea leaves you're used to. This in turn makes for a more vibrant and potentially more mindful tea-drinking experience — opening the door to transform your daily wellness practice.
There are plenty of brands who are keen to get in on the wellness tea revolution. Pukka makes a few varieties, including a lemon, ginger, & Manuka honey flavor that's described as "spicy-sweet immune boosting formulation," that acts as a "comforting blend that helps support the body with ginger root and lemon and fennel seeds to warm and sooth digestion, together with boosting circulation." Sage Tonic has a blend, created by Dr. Milosavljevic, with cinnamon and peppermint tea that's designed to reduce discomfort associated with tension and headaches while improving overall bloodflow. DAVID'S Tea recently launched a full-on Wellness Collection, a five pack of herbal teas that support everything from immune function, to digestion, to focus, featuring flavors like guava, turmeric, lemon, cayenne, and many, many more. Starbucks lovers will be thrilled to know that there are now three brand spankin' new Teavana wellness teas, in different blends to support immunity and overall wellness.
Even if you're not keen on the idea of herbal remedies in tea form, there's little doubt that drinking tea can make you feel better — especially if you're ill. Drinking lots of liquids, and especially hot liquids, can be very helpful in staving off illness (though there isn't a lot of scientific evidence to support the idea that tea can combat the flu outright.) "When you're sick drinking plenty of liquids is very helpful and a lot of people find hot liquids including teas to be very soothing," Dr. Caudle tells Bustle. So whether you're looking to give your wellness practice a bit of a boost, or are looking for something a little more interesting to drink once you've had enough coffee for the day, wellness tea could be just the thing you need to upgrade your tea-drinking routine.