5 healthy spring flower and herbal leaf teas

Hello spring is coming!!!  Spring in Finland usually starts in April and ends in May. Today I will share with you my 5 lovely spring teas and some important notices about using these teas. You can find all leaves in the forest or the dried tea bag in the supermarket except blueberry flowers. Try these leaf teas and add them in your daily healthy drink routines is not a bad idea. These are very popular leaf teas in Europe; you can find them everywhere around the world too. You might know all the leaves already but I still list all the leaves here if you miss something. Here we go!

Blueberry flowers and young leaves are very exotic tea with a fresh and fruity smell of the flower. This tea might be difficult to find in your home countries if you blueberries do not grow there. Even in Finland, people do not sell it in the market. I have to go to the forest to find it and cannot collect too much. If people collect too much blueberry flowers we might not have blueberries in the autumn. Somehow it makes me feel quite guilty to pick the blueberries flower in the forest. I only collected very little flowers for 1 cup of tea or two times in the year.

In the picture below I used high-bush blueberry and wild European bilberry. Both of them are beautiful and look different.  About the taste: highbush blueberry flower has a stronger taste than bilberry. But, I like bilberry fruit more than high-bush blueberry.

Blueberry flowers tea has a fresh taste, vitamin C, and some catechins ingredients. In Europe we have the bilberry or the European blueberries. Bilberry leaves contain tannins, polyphenolic acids, flavonoids, arbutin, catechins, iridoids, and quercetin.

It is very easy to make blueberry flower tea. Clean young leaves and flowers with water. Let it dry a little bit then brew it with boiling water. Wait for 5-8 minutes then you have a very fresh, rich anthocyanin, and healthy exotic spring tea. The tea has a light taste of blueberries, very light sour and a super fresh taste. I love the taste of this tea. Now I’m counting the day until the bilberry flower blooms in the forest.

2. Artichoke tea

Artichoke is good food and don’t forget to make artichoke tea when you buy artichoke this spring. Artichoke tea is the artichoke water when you boil artichoke. Don’t  throw away artichoke water when you cook artichoke. Believe me this water tastes very nice and healthy too.

When I buy artichoke I will discard the thorny leaves. I don’t throw them away but keep them in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. You can also dry the artichoke for tea later. Remember to dry the artichoke leaves before you dry it. Separate the leaves, clean it with water and dry the leaves with clean cloth or paper. Dry the artichoke for 2-3 days at room temperature.  One time I had thrown all my dried artichoke tea because it got mold because I didn’t clean it before drying it.

You can boil the thorny leaves with 3 cups of water with 12-15 leaves. Boil it for 10-15 minutes. This tea has a sweet taste of its own but you can add some honey if you like a sweeter taste.

Separate the leaves, stalk, and roots, and wash them. Add about 100 grams of this in 1 liter of water and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, put off the flame and let it stand for 10 minutes. Strain and store the light-green liquid in another container.

Springtime is a great time to collect dandelions for the tea. You should try this healthy, detox tea with a rich source of antioxidant properties. Dandelion growth in Europe, America, and some Asia countries except Vietnam. Many researches have proved the power of dandelion in anti  inflammatory, obesity, and cancer treatment.

Don’t forget to collect the dandelion root in the spring time and the autumn. Dandelion roots contain minerals, Phytosterols including sitosterol, stigmasterol, and taraxasterol. It’s quite difficult to collect the dandelion root if you don’t have a tool. You should prepare a knife or something that can dig 5-10 centimeter (2-4 inches) into the ground. It is not easy to digging dandelion roots but they are so good so just do it. If it is too difficult to find it you can buy dried dandelion roots in the supermarket. My best friend gave me very good organic dandelion roots from Germany. You can add dandelion roots to all herbal tea but the root has very strong medical taste. Dandelion tea is not tasty but healthy that is true. I told myself many times that when I have the tea. Not easy feeling but your body love it.

Don’t collect  dandelions in the road sides or in a fertilized garden. Many studies show that dandelion absorbs heavy metal or in the agricultural land. Do not pick dandelion grown in recreational parks. Dandelion grows off the side of roads and backyards where people used herbicide, and are not good too. Dandelions can absorb lead in high pollution areas. In Finland, they recommend collecting the wild leaf 50 meters (164 feet) away from the road.

If you can’t find the fresh dandelion leaf you can also buy the organic dandelion tea in the supermarket. This healthy tea is a great tea to add in your healthy drinks routines. 

The dandelion doses for adults are 4-10 g of the drug or as an infusion. You can take it three times daily  2-5 ml of tincture (1:5, ethanol 25% V/V), and  5-10 ml of juice from fresh leaf, twice daily.

There is no restriction on the duration of dandelion’s usage. The EMA report recommends to limit the duration of use to 2 weeks as the clinical safety studies are lacking.

 

Nettle leaf is yummy, and a healthy leaf even if it’s a very dangerous plant in the forest or the field. Spring time is the best time to collect nettle leaf tea too. You should collect the nettle leaf before it has the flower. You can boil nettle leaf as a green leaf and use it as a tonic herbal tea.The nettle tea is tasty, fresh and healthy. You can add some lemon juice and honey in your nettle leaf tea. The lemon will enhance absorption of minerals.

You can boil the nettle in the saucepan or brew the nettle leaves with boiling water for 7-10 minutes. I use 10 grams of fresh nettle for one person in cooking and brew 2-4 gram of dried nettle leaf and root for 1 cups of tea. 

Ask your doctors for advice before using nettle leaf extract or other extracted products.

In Finland, it is not difficult to find nettle leaf. If I can’t find it in the forest I can buy a fresh leaf from the supermarket. They sell the young nettle leaf like a salad or herbal leaf.  You can check in your city supermarket if they have the fresh leaf. 100% sure the big supermarket has dried organic nettle tea.

This is the last leaf tea I review for you in the springtime. You can find raspberry leaf tea quite easy in your garden. Raspberry leaves contain a lot of vitamin C, E, A, B, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. You can use the raspberry leaf tea as a tonic water, reduce fever and vitamin deficiency and sore throat. 

Cut 2 gram of raspberry fresh leaves into small pieces and put them into the strainer. Boil water until boiling and pour the water into the cup. Put the lid on and wait for 8- 10 minutes then you can enjoy your tea with a light sweet taste and smell like raspberry. If you like sweets, you can add some sugar or honey as you like. I would prefer to drink this herb tea without sugar. If you need to enhance the berry smell, you can put some fresh raspberry in the tea.

I do recommend you find the advice from a doctor before using raspberry leaf tea. In the old time people recommended using raspberry leaf tea in pregnancy. Raspberry leaves can change the estrogen level in women. You should  use the tea under the direct supervision of a health care provider

  • Raspberry leaf is not good for women who have endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus. Rasperry leaves can change the estrogen hormone.
  • Men who have prostate cancer should also avoid using it.
  • Raspberry leaf may affect infants and is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.
  • Diabetics should be careful as it might lower the blood sugar levels .
According to the drug.com, the safety and typical doses of raspberry leaf tea are 1.5 to 2.4 g/day. It’s mean 1 to 2 cup of raspberry leaf tea per day. It is important to only take the raspberry leaf doses as you recommended. In high doses, the raspberry leaf can reduce your blood sugar, and cause muscles in the uterus to contract or relax. Therefore, a miscarriage could occur when pregnant time. Raspberry leaf tea can work as a hormone estrogen so in some cases, it might harm your health.

The red raspberry leaves could change the way the body absorbs medications. The tannin in raspberry leaf could react with the non-prescription drugs and vitamins. Take the red raspberry at least two hours before or after taking non-prescription drugs by mouth.

According to the drug.com, the safety and typical doses of raspberry leaf tea are 1.5 to 2.4 g/day. It means 1 to 2 cup of raspberry leaf tea per day. It is important to only take the raspberry leaf doses as you recommended. In high doses, the raspberry leaf can reduce your blood sugar. Raspberry leaves cause muscles in the uterus to contract or relax. Thus, a miscarriage could occur when pregnant time. Raspberry leaf tea can work as a hormone estrogen so in some cases, it might harm your health.

Here are my 5 lovely flower and leaf teas you can use in the springtime. All the tea is good for your health but you need to check it more before using these teas or any kind of herb. Remember to seek advice from your doctor before using red raspberry leaf tea or any kind of herbal tea. Keep in your mind that herbal and leaf tea is to be used only as a food supplement. Do not use herbal tea to treat, mitigate or cure any symptom, illness or disease. I recommend you to check more information about these spring tea in my old posts. Let me know about you and your favorite tea this spring. See you soon.

6 Blueberries’ Key Health Benefits and Healthy Evidence

Blueberries are naturally colored blue. Like other colorful fruits and vegetables, blueberries have the ability to subdue oxygen free radicals. A 2010 study by the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Aging found that blueberries contain the highest levels of antioxidant in comparison with 40 fruits and vegetables. Scientists found that several blueberries phytochemical compounds may play combat chronic disease. Let’s have a look at the blueberries’ key health benefits and the healthy evidence. In this post, I also mention some research of bilberries, European blueberries.

Blueberries have the excellent source of vitamins C and K, manganese and high levels of various antioxidants. The main phenolic compounds in blueberries are:
    • Flavonoids: Anthocyanins, Flavonols, Flavanols (catechin)
    • Phenolic acids: Cinnamic acids, Benzoic acids
    • Complex phenolic polymers (polymeric tannins): Ellagitannins, Proanthocyanidins
Each of main phenolic compounds in blueberries has contributed to the different health benefits.

1.    Powerful Antioxidant benefits

A 100 gram of blueberries contains 2400 ORAC units. ORAC is the oxygen radical absorbency capacity to quantify the antioxidant capacity of foods. The antioxidant capacity in 100 grams of fresh blueberries  equals with five fruit and vegetable servings. Antioxidants are the active component for Anti-inflammation, (arthritis, osteoarthritis) and Metabolic syndrome (obesity). The key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries are Anthocyanins. This flavonoid phenolic compound gives blueberries blue color.
Blueberries are also rich in phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds can capture free radicals, deactivating or eliminating them from the body.
A research of the University of California found that blueberries may reduce the “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

2.  Natural Anti-aging properties

Blueberry antioxidants are thought to delay aging by their natural cleansing properties. Vitamins and minerals in blueberry might clean the blood. The USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) lab have discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats can slow  age-related loss in their mental capacity. The high antioxidant activity of blueberries may play a role.

3. Support the cancer prevention

Bioactive compounds in blueberries support the prevention of many cancers including breast, colon, esophageal, liver, ovarian, and prostate. Here are how blueberries phenolic compounds support the cancer prevention.
  • Anthocyanins, blueberries main flavonoids acts as an antioxidant.  Flavonoids affect cell proliferation and help regulate cancer signal transduction pathways.
  • Kaempferol (flavonoid phytonutrient) in blueberry can lower 40 percent the risk of developing ovarian in women. Others Kaempferol-rich foods are non-herbal tea, onions, kale, and spinach.
  • Blueberries also contain moderate quantities of Resveratrol. Resveratrol influences cancer at the initiation, promotion, and progression stages during the development of cancer. It can induce apoptosis in various cancer cells without killing normal cells. Resveratrol also aids in the reduction of inflammatory diseases.
  • Black raspberry, red raspberry, blueberry, and cranberry seed flours inhibit the proliferation of human HT29 colon cancer cell line.
  • Blueberry flavonoids have also inhibited the activities of enzymes such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The enzymes play a significant role in cancer metastasis. A 2006 study found that anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin-enriched blueberry fractions down- regulate MMP activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells. They found that  decreases in MMP are possible involvement of protein kinase-C and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways in the flavonoid.  The research concluded that the down-regulation of MMP activities by the blueberry flavonoids might occur through many mechanisms.

4. Support colon and combats Urinary Tract Infections.

Blueberries are rich in dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Both fibers may help to reduce constipation and aid in digestive health. Tannins in blueberries also help to “cleanse” the colon because tannins have an astringent effect.
Like cranberries, blueberries have the compounds that prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). These compound can fight against the bacteria that causes most UTIs and  from gaining a hold on the bladder wall. A research of Rutgers University in New Jersey has identified a compound in blueberries that promote urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. Blueberry’s compound prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract.

5. Help night vision and eyesight problems

Anthocyanin in blueberries can aid vision especially at night, ease pain in the eyes, and promote sharper vision.  Anthocyanins boost the production of rhodopsin, a pigment that improves night vision and helps the eye adapt to light changes.
Scientists in Europe have documented the relationship between bilberries( European blueberries) and improved eyesight. Studies found that bilberry extract taken in combination with 20 mg of beta-carotene a day may improve an adaption to light and night vision. Researchers thought this result occurred because of the Anthocyanins in the blue pigment.
A 2001 study in Japan documented that blueberries helped ease eye fatigue. In the study, 50 patients with senile cataracts used a combination of bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosisdes and vitamin E twice daily for four months. The extract stopped the progression of cataracts in 96% of the patients treated compared to 76% in the control group.
The consumption of bilberry extract may also protect us against the development of glaucoma, or damage to the optic nerve. In a Thorne Research Inc study, eight patients with glaucoma used a dose of 200mg Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides. The patient conditions had the improvement due to bilberries’ collagen enhancing and antioxidant properties.

6. Promote cognitive function

Blueberry-rich diets also improve motor skills and the learning capacity of animals and human. Researchers found that  people who used a cup of blueberries a day have performed 5–6% better on motor skills tests than who didn’t use.  For that reason, adding blueberries to our daily diets help preserve cognitive function and improve working memory.
In a study of USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) fed mice blueberry extractions—the equal of a human eating one cup of blueberries a day. The study found the blueberry-fed mice performed better in motor behavioral learning and memory than normal mice.  The scientists also noticed an increase in exploratory behavior.  When examined mice brains they found a marked decrease in oxidative stress in two regions of the brain. The mice better retention of signal-transmitting neurons compared with the control mice. So that the blueberries’ antioxidants offer protection of brain cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can exacerbate the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
These are 6 blueberries’ key health benefits and Healthy evidence. I hope you do not get bored with dry information. For better living, we can add blueberries into our daily diet. Blueberries will support and protect us from cancer, antioxidant, and other chronic diseases.