10 Teas to Enhance Meditation (Part 2)

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From Astragalus membranaceus to Zingiber officinale, herbal teas can help one relax and let go of the many cares that might confound your meditation. (Image: Mareefe via Pexels)

Tea and meditation are an excellent combination, as both should be done slowly and calmly, and without pursuit. Tea’s phytochemicals provide the ideal balance of stimulation and relaxation, allowing you to be fully immersed in the present moment to enjoy every second of your experience.

We hope you like this second round of teas. See the first five in 10 Teas to Enhance Meditation – Part I 

6. Rooibos

Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) tea is produced from the needle-like leaves of Aspalathus linearis, a small shrub endemic to South Africa. Rooibos tea is a proud inheritance of the country as the first food in Africa to be approved by the EU for listing on the register. Rooibos tea is traditionally used to relieve colic in infants. It is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and fluoride, and includes a plethora of antioxidants as well. 

Tea made from Rooibos has been shown to have a calming effect on the central nervous system. Rooibos combines well with flowers, citrus peels, mints, and warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and cardamom. For a more stimulating brew, ginseng can be added. 

Measure out 1 teaspoon of organic loose leaf rooibos tea for every 8 ounces of hot water and brew for about five minutes. Strain and serve. Rooibos has a sweet, earthy flavor and takes milk nicely.

Making rooibos tea

Rooibos, Aspalathus linearis (N.L.Burm.) R.Dahlgr., Clanwilliam, Western Cape, South Africa (Image: Winfried Bruenken via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5)

7. Holy basil 

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a member of the mint family. It has finely veined green leaves with light purple blooms. Holy basil is native to the Indian subcontinent, although it grows all across Southeast Asia. This caffeine-free herb reduces the production of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, relieving anxiety and contributing to a sense of well-being. Holy basil includes bioactive chemicals such as eugenol, camphene, cineole, and camphor, which aids in the opening of the air passages and to the improvement of  breathing.

This is a plant you can grow at home, either in a pot or in your garden, much like culinary basil. The herb contains vitamins A, C, and K, iron, zinc, calcium, and manganese K. This vitamin aids digestion and promotes brain health.

Tulsi loose leaf tea

Tulsi (Hindi for basil) tea can be made from either fresh or dried holy basil leaves; and it also comes in a powdered form. A mere ⅓ to ½ teaspoon of powder per 8 ounces of hot water will yield a strong cup of tulsi tea. For loose leaf or dry, use ½ to 1 teaspoon per cup. Steep the leaves for at least 5 minutes, strain and serve. Tulsi tea is a yellow-green infusion with a robust, basil-like flavor. 

Lemon balm is easy to grow, but hard to get rid of. Luckily it is an excellent herb to have on hand. A delicate flavored tea from the leaves not only relieves stress, but also helps boost immunity. (Image: Killarnee via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

8. Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, lemon balm is native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Central Asia, but has naturalized in the Americas as well. It is one of the earliest plants used medicinally, and it was considered a mainstay of doctors in both ancient Greece and through the Middle Ages. It was also believed to be Goddess Diana’s favorite plant. 

This is another plant you can easily grow at home. In fact, you just might have some in a neglected area of your garden without realizing it, as it spreads readily from seed. The easiest way to recognize it is its “Lemon Pledge” scent. 

One of the benefits of consuming lemon balm is that it includes numerous antiviral components, such as flavonoids, which are beneficial in fighting diseases, and it also has a high concentration of antioxidants. Lemon balm can also soothe headaches and relieve stress and anxiety, so have included it in our list.

Lemon balm tea

Steep one tea bag or 1 tablespoon of dry loose-leaf, or 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon balm in a cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the strainer or teabag. Lemon balm makes a refreshing sun tea as well. Simply add 4 tablespoons of tea to a glass container filled with 40 ounces of cool water and place it in the bright sunlight for 3 – 4 hours.  Lemon balm tea has a delicate, lemony taste that can be enhanced with the addition of a slice of lemon

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Astragalus root makes a sweet tea thought to open the heart, relieve stress, and promote inner balance. (Image: Matt Lavin via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

9. Astragalus

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a plant from the Leguminosae family native to China and Mongolia. Known as “yellow leader” in Chinese, because of the color of its roots, it is considered to be one of the 50 most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The root contains strong immune-boosting properties and is commonly used  for colds, flu, and upper respiratory issues. 

A naturally caffeine-free herbal tea from astragalus root is said to open the heart and bring joy with its stress-relieving qualities and ability to restore inner balance, making it a natural facilitator for meditation.

Astragalus tea

Measure 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried astragalus root per cup of tea. Pour boiling water over it. Steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Strain through a fine filter.

This golden tea has a natural earthy-sweet flavor. Drinking astragalus tea in the early fall months may help ward off colds and flu.

10. Licorice

Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, is indigenous to the Mediterranean region and Asia. A tea from its root, also known as ‘sweet root,’ has been used as a natural medicine for hundreds of years. 

There are over 300 compounds in the licorice root, some of which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral components. Scientists believe that licorice has a substantial impact on improving brain function., and it has also been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Drinking licorice tea after a long day may help relax the muscles and quiet one’s thoughts. 

Anethole, coumarins, sterols, and other antioxidants present in licorice root tea may help with upper respiratory problem, dissolve phlegm and mucus, ease inflammation in the throat, and boost the immune system’s ability to fight off the underlying bacteria or viruses.

People who suffer from anxiety and depression are often prescribed this herbal tea, frequently combined with St. John’s Wort. This tea helps to enhance mood and regulate stress hormone levels.

Licorice Root Tea

Use one tablespoon, or ½ ounce dried licorice root for each cup of boiling water, and steep five minutes. The tea is naturally sweet and combines nicely with other spices like cinnamon, ginger, and dried orange peel. 

A word of caution: If you are taking medications to treat anxiety, always talk to your doctor before trying a new herbal supplement or remedy.

  • Simone Jonker worked in NTD Inspired for two years. She wrote light articles and inspiring stories.