What does “herbal tea” mean, and why do some people not consider it “real” tea?

Herbal tea refers to any beverage that is made from herbs and other plant materials together with hot water. Herbal teas can be produced in a number of ways. The main way is through a process that involves the extraction of flavors and other chemical compounds from the plant material in hot water. The herbs stay suspended in the water for a period of time.

Herbal teas can also be produced through boiling the plant material. What most people do not know is that the proper name for herbal tea is Tisane. This is because herbal tea is not considered true tea and therefore the term is more of an oxymoron. Herein I will discuss all about herbal teas and why they are not real teas.


There are numerous kinds of herbal teas and they are very popular due to their medicinal properties. Herbs have been used for hundreds of years to treat various medical conditions. Their benefits are gradually getting the attention of the scientific community. As a result, more people are consuming herbal products including herbal tea. Today the most commonly consumed herbal teas are chamomile tea, ginger tea, cinnamon tea, peppermint tea and rosemary tea.

Chamomile tea helps in relaxing the body, relieving nausea and vomiting and treats ulcers and diarrhea. Cinnamon tea has been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce blood cholesterol and alleviate digestive conditions. Ginger tea can be used to ease morning sickness, relieve migraines and is effective against arthritis. Peppermint and rosemary teas help with gastrointestinal conditions as well as respiratory problems such as colds and asthma.

It is important to note that these are only the commonplace herbal teas. There is a huge variety of herbal teas on the market. These can provide extra benefits such as supporting cardiovascular health, cleansing and detoxifying the body, boosting the immune system and providing energy for the body. This is not to mention that herbal teas are rich in antioxidants, which are chemical elements that neutralize the actions of harmful free radicals.

However, not all herbal teas are beneficial and some are potentially hazardous to humans. For instance, sassafras tea has a high content of a toxic substance called safrole. High amounts of safrole in the body can cause liver toxicity and is considered dangerous for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Additionally, some herbal teas may contain toxic chemicals due to contamination in the growth or manufacturing stages.


Herbal tea may resemble true tea and may be produced in similar ways but it is a distinct product. They are not considered real tea because all true teas originate from the cured leaves of the Camellia Sinesis bush plant. Herbal tea is a single herb or a mixture of several ingredients.

These combinations are derived from leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers, nuts, grasses and barks. The plant elements are responsible for the taste and medicinal benefits of herbal tea. Moreover, herbal teas contain little or no caffeine. The true teas include black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea and yellow tea.

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