"Herbs won't replace pharmaceuticals, but the research shows that for many conditions herbs work well, are cheaper than drugs and cause fewer side effects," says Mary Hardy, M.D., medical director of the integrative medicine program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "Herbs aren't quite mainstream, but they're moving in that direction. Patients are interested in them, and doctors are increasingly familiar with herb research.
"There are several benefits to drinking anti-inflammatory herb tea for fighting arthritis," says herbalist Sarah Richards of http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com. "For starters, you're increasing your consumption of fluids, which increases joint viscosity, blood flow to the inflamed areas and helps flush out and cool the inflammation. But you're also treating the whole body and other age-related symptoms."
One such example is black cohosh used by Homegrown in their arthritis blend. Studies have identified black cohosh as playing several roles in reducing the symptoms of menopause - like hot flashes and night sweats - better than even some pharmaceuticals and also can contribute to preventing bone loss from osteoporosis.
Other studies have identified rosemary, slippery elm, red sandalwood, and white willow bark for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
According to Richards, how the tea is blended makes a big difference. "Anyone can throw a pile of herbs in a kettle and boil them. The difference is how the herbs work in a synergistic manner and in what quantities. It's not so much this herb or that herb, but how all the herbs work together. Arthritis tends to occur in people who are prone to inflammations - people who tend to run hot or are fiery. We focus on cooling herbs - herbs that reduce acidity and cool the body. Yes - part of it is focusing on the inflammation itself, the joints, the stiffness - but also changing the environment where inflammations can flourish. That's where our teas are different. We believe the tea should be delicious, balanced and beneficial for its synergistic properties. You can't do this by taking a supplement for this herb or that herb. It's all about the proper blend and pleasure a good tea brings."
According to Richards, this explains the popularity of her arthritis blend. "We have a lot of customers who drink this religiously and swear by it. In fact, just today I received an order where the customer had called it 'magical.'"
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Homegrown Herb and Tea is an herbal tea apothecary located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com. We serve wellness tea, Ayurvedic teas and specialty teas.