Tea has been consumed by humans of various cultures for generations. There are several different kinds of tea, such as herbal tea vs black tea. Of course, different kinds of tea offer different benefits. So, what are the differences between herbal tea and black tea? Which one is better for you?
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– What herbal tea and black tea are
– The ingredients used for making herbal tea and black tea
– The caffeine content in each tea
– The potential health benefits of herbal tea vs black tea
– Which one that is better for you
What is Herbal Tea?
Herbal teas, which are also called tisanes, are drinks that are made from the decoction or infusion of herbs, spices, or other plant materials. The ingredients are soaked in hot water. But it can be served hot or cold, as desired. In a glance, herbal teas look similar to true teas like green tea, black tea, and oolong tea, but they are not the same at all.
Herbal teas are not true teas because they are not made from tea leaves. The ingredients don’t come from the tea plant, which is scientifically known as Cameliasinensis. Well, if we are being technical, these drinks should not be called ‘teas’ because of this reason. But they are now already popular that way.
Compared to black tea, herbal teas are relatively easier and simpler to make. This is because you only need to soak the ingredients in hot water. The infusion with hot water makes them easier to consume. It also helps to release some of the healthy chemical elements from them.
Caffeine of Herbal Tea
One big advantage of herbal tea vs black tea that people often cite is that it is usually caffeine-free. Herbal teas aren’t made from tea leaves, which contain caffeine. The ingredients of herbal teas mostly don’t contain caffeine. So, herbal teas are great for relaxing in the evening or if you are trying to reduce your caffeine intake.
Even so, you still need to be careful. Not all herbal tea blends are caffeine-free. Some products may use ingredients that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, yaupon, yerba mate, and guayusa. These ingredients are quite commonly used for making herbal teas. Coffee leaves may also be used to make herbal teas, but this is uncommon. So, make sure that you check the ingredient list before purchasing or consuming a herbal tea.
Health Benefits of Herbal Tea
There are many different kinds of herbal teas. The health benefits may vary, depending on the ingredients. One potential advantage of a herbal tea blend is that it may provide a variety of health benefits at once. However, despite the recent popularity of herbal teas, they are actually not that awesome. Some products claim to be able to stave off colds, improve sleep quality, and aid in weight loss, but most of these claims are not supported by scientific evidence.
Nevertheless, according to WebMD, chamomile is indeed beneficial for preventing diabetes complication due to the rich antioxidants. It may also hinder the growth of cancer cells. Rooibos is a fermented South African herb that has cancer-fighting flavonoids. Hibiscus can help to reduce blood pressure. Echinacea is popularly used to treat the common cold, but the efficacy hasn’t really been scientifically proven.
Herbal tea vs black tea generally has lower antioxidants. Herbal teas are generally safe, but you still need to carefully check the ingredients. Some herbs and spices may be toxic or allergenic. For example, comfrey may damage the liver, and lobelia may cause nausea and dizziness. Some common ingredients are dangerous for pregnant women, including mace, nutmeg, bitter melon, papaya, saffron, wild carrot, rue, and mugwort.
What is Black Tea?
Black tea is a type of true tea that is more oxidized than white, green, and oolong treas. Black tea usually has a stronger flavor than those teas. It is considered as a true tea because it is made from real tea leaves from the tea plant, Cameliasinensis. Two varieties of the species may be used, either the small-leaved Chinese variety or the large-leaved Assamese variety.
Black tea has been preferred for trades more than green tea because it can retain its flavor for multiple years. In addition to the stronger flavor, this is also a reason why black tea has been the most popular type of tea. Black tea holds more than ninety percent of all tea sales in the West.
Caffeine of Black Tea
Since black tea is made from real tea leaves, it indeed contains caffeine. However, the caffeine content is not as high as coffee. An 8-oz cup of black tea has about 25 – 48 mg of caffeine. So, black tea is a nice choice if you want a low-caffeine alternative to substitute coffee.
Black tea is also nice for preventing caffeine withdrawal symptoms. People who are used to drinking coffee may experience negative health effects if they suddenly stop consuming caffeine altogether, such as headache and even fever-like conditions. Black tea can help you reduce your caffeine intake gradually.
For the average people, black tea is not recommended to be consumed in the evening. The caffeine content may cause insomnia. In addition, people who are sensitive to caffeine should stay away from black tea, as the caffeine content may cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure headache, dizziness, anxiety, and irritability.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
Black tea has various health benefits that are backed by scientific studies.Of course, there are positive effects from the caffeine. It is proven to be effective for promoting blood flow in the brain, hence improving mental focus and concentration. Interestingly, black tea’s L-theanine is able to balance the side effects of caffeine in a way. It allows you to concentrate and focus, but in a relaxed manner.
For sure, it has rich antioxidants which can help to prevent some types of cancer, such as oral cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and colorectal cancer. This is because the antioxidants can prevent potential carcinogens from forming in the body.
Black tea is also able to boost immune system response, improve skin health, and improve hair health. Black tea can aid in general digestion, soothe gastric and intestinal distresses, and decrease intestinal activity. It is especially beneficial for soothing diarrhea.
Herbal Tea vs Black Tea
|Herbal Tea||Black Tea|
|- Made from herbs, spices, or other plants||- Made from the leaves of the tea plant, Cameliasinensis|
|- Usually caffeine-free, but some ingredients may contain caffeine||- Has some caffeine, but not as much as coffee|
|- Lower antioxidants||- Higher antioxidants|
|- Prevents diabetes complication and cancer||- Improves concentration, soothes digestion, prevents cancer|
|- Some ingredients may be toxic, or harmful for pregnancy||- Not suitable for people who are sensitive to caffeine|
Herbal teas are great if you are looking for a caffeine-free drink. There are potential health benefits, but you should check the ingredients carefully. Some herbs may be dangerous. On the other hand, black tea is excellent if you are fine with a small amount of caffeine. Black tea has various proven health benefits.