Our newest wellness tea blend, BeBalanced, combines white tea with three adaptogenic herbs and peppermint.
White tea is the least processed of teas, and for this we’ve chosen white peony, one of the more robust expressions of white tea.
But since we frequently talk about tea on here, for today, let’s dive more into the herbs in BeBalanced.
Most commonly associated with toothpaste, mouthwash, and gum, peppermint is known for it’s aromatic properties. Culinary and beverage applications of mint are also popular–candy and ice cream, mojitos, garnish, and more.
Perhaps the next instance in which you think of mint is for digestion. It helps digestion through it’s pungent taste which stimulates bile production and by relaxing the smooth muscle to allow the stomach to expand or reduce colonic spasms.
From an herbalism perspective, peppermint is simultaneously both invigorating and calming. The aroma can be stimulating, helping to awaken the senses, enhance memory, and increase alertness. As an infusion, it is also calming, often used to aid relaxation and promote rest.
Peppermint essential oil is thought to encourage focus, while clearing the mind and relieving mental strain. It can also help relieve tension headaches.
Certainly peppermint is well-known and widely-used. We chose it for BeBalanced for it’s fresh, minty aroma, as well as it’s dual action of being both enlivening and stress-relieving.
Adaptogens (or adaptogenic herbs) are a unique classification of herbs, defined by 3 characteristics: they (i) increase the body’s ability to adapt to or resist stress; (ii) have a normalizing effect on the body, regardless of which direction the imbalance has occurred; and (iii) are universally nontoxic.
As an aside, about half of them taste awful (rhodiola, I’m looking at you), and the other half are relatively palatable as an infusion.
For BeBalanced we chose eleuthero, schisandra, and licorice and below you’ll learn more about each and why we chose these three.
Formerly known as Siberian Ginseng, and sometimes referred to by its botanical name, Eleutherococcus, eleuthero root is the first of adaptogens in BeBalanced.
In ancient China, it was said to make one happy and vigorous, and to slow aging.
Modern herbalists use eleuthero to strengthen the immune system and prevent the common cold, lower stress-induced LDL cholesterol, and promote balance, focus, and calm in the over-worked, the stressed-out, the jet-lagged, Type-A people, or those with ADHD.
Eleuthero is also beneficial for athletes and those who work night shifts or have long, demanding days. For these groups, it speeds recovery of the body, helping them to feel and perform better, especially as they are often under slept. It helps with alertness and cognitive function, as well as increasing stamina and endurance.
It is safe for long-term use and is appropriate for people of all ages and both genders.
With eleuthero we find that unique combination of being slightly calming, yet helping to sustain energy and performance through long days, which is exactly why we chose it for BeBalanced.
Schisandra is sometimes referred to by its Chinese name “wu wei zi” or five-flavor berry because it contains all five flavors recognized in Chinese medicine: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent.
In modern herbalism, the uses of schisadra are wide-ranging from protecting the liver to normalizing blood pressure, supporting the kidneys, relieving coughs, reducing insomnia, as well as addressing concerns of the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems.
Schisandra is remarkable for it’s dual-effect on the nervous system: it boosts the nervous system to improve mental performance, yet relieves anxiety and promotes calm. It also supports the part of the immune system that is easily depleted by excess stress, anxiety, fear, or depression, to reduce frequency of colds and susceptibility to immune deficiency.
Again, this unique bi-directional activity made schisandra an ideal choice for BeBalanced.
Licorice in herbalism is not the same licorice (or anise-flavor) associated with commercial candy and some liquors. Licorice root usually has a very mild flavor and is often used as a natural sweetener in herbal formulas.
Beyond just it’s sweet taste, licorice has a number of applications in herbal medicine. It has been used as medicine since as far back as ancient Greece (for respiratory diseases) and ancient China (to balance the organs and improve bone and physical strength).
Herbalists today recognize it for it’s digestive benefits, immuno-modulating properties, respiratory applications, liver protection, and affect on the hormones that regulate the stress response. Since all this is far too extensive for this post, let’s just explore why it was chosen for BeBalanced.
In our over-stimulated, always-on world, oftentimes, more than anything, our bodies need rest. But instead, we offer coffee–a stimulant which pulls on the body’s reserves (the adrenal glands) to boost energy and alertness. This pattern eventually depletes the adrenals, leading to sluggish mornings (hey! more coffee), a weakened immune system, cortisol imbalance, and elevated blood sugar. In this case, the herb of choice is licorice root, which helps realign normal cortisol patterns, supports the adrenals, and balances immune system activity.
It works best in herbal blends. It should only be taken in moderate quantities (which is why it’s the last ingredient in BeBalanced) and consumption should be minimized by people with high blood pressure or those taking MAOIs.
Because it is used as the harmonizer in formulas, licorice was the final choice to round out BeBalanced.
There you have it, the herbs in BeBalanced and the reasoning for each of them: the normalizing effects to restore balance while supporting both energy and stress-relief.
If you’re intereseted in the actions of herbs, particularly adaptogens, their history, safety, and uses in modern herbalism, I highly recommend you check out Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. In fact, that was one of my primary sources in composing this post.