However, you’ve probably had at least one experience where you’ve tried a tea blend and thought, “Wow, this would be nice if I could actually taste the tea and not just the rose petals.” Or perhaps the opposite, "I wanted to be bowled over by lemongrass but...meh".
Everyone has different tastes, and we believe that the best person to blend your perfect cup of tea is … well, yourself! Enter Blend@Home - our new range of conveniently packaged, pure and natural herbal ingredients to help you:
- Make your own tea blend that perfectly satisfies your taste buds
- Get exactly the health benefits you want at any given time
- Have the reassurance of knowing exactly what’s in your cuppa
In this post, I’m going to introduce the new summer ingredients for Matcha Alternatives’ Blend@Home line, including their traditional uses and scientifically-proven benefits (references as always at the bottom), as well as tea blend ideas for combining them with pure teas. Read on to learn more about our:
- Relaxing Pure French Lavender
- Under the Tuscan Pure Italian Rose Petals
- Zing & Zest Pure Thai Lemongrass
- Tart & Tangy Pure Hibiscus Petals
- Pure Peruvian Organic Lemon Verbena
- Golden Kerala Pure Organic Turmeric
- Pep You Up Pure Thai Ginger
- Sweet & Smooth Pure Turkish Licorice Root
Each of these blending ingredients have been used in traditional medicine, from Native American herbalism to Ayurveda, but their benefits have also been investigated and studied by modern biochemical science. Given we're a tea science and lifestyle blog, I’ll be giving you all the scientific evidence for how these delicious herbs can help you live a happier and healthier life.
All right, let’s get to it!
Relaxing Pure French Lavender
Powerfully aromatic, soothing, and delicious, lavender has a versatile flavor that blends perfectly with chamomile and honeybush teas. It also pairs well with lemon and citrus notes.
Lavender species all have benefits for the body and mind. Known for its role in aromatherapy, lavender produces volatile oil, which is credited with many of its health effects (L1).
Considered a sedative, anti-inflammatory, and a nervine (calms the nerves), lavender tea makes an amazing night time beverage. The soothing action of lavender reduces the experience of pain and speeds the healing process (L2).
It also eases headaches, helps calm stress and nervousness, and supports digestion (L2, L3)! Lavender oil has antibacterial activity, and can support the effectiveness of some antiseptics (L4).
Shop Now: Relaxing Pure French Lavender
Under the Tuscan Pure Italian Rose Petals
Rose petals create gorgeous floral infusions, making them a luxurious addition to green teas, white teas, and red rooibos.
This flower is a treasure trove of health benefits! Rose is an ancient genus, with fossil evidence dating back to 30 million years. Traditional Native American herbalism used rose petals in a strong tea called a decoction to soothe children’s cough.
Rose is also used traditionally for chronic (lasting) cough, supporting positive mood during grief and depressive states, and reducing nervous tension, with the research being based around rose’s effects on the central nervous system.
Further scientific evaluation has found support for rose’s cough soothing action through multiple mechanisms. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, has potent antioxidant effects, and can support digestion (R1).
Zing & Zest Pure Thai Lemongrass
This zingy, fresh-tasting herb is a versatile ingredient that goes well with a plethora of flavors. Chamomile, yerba mate, ginger, and green teas are all great additions to the gorgeous soothing taste of this ingredient.
Lemongrass contains a myriad of minerals and electrolytes, and exhibits antioxidant activity. Studies have found supportive evidence for the antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial effects of lemongrass, largely attributed to the essential oil content (G1, G2).
It has protective effects on the lining of the stomach, and may help prevent lesions from occurring as a result of alcohol or NSAID consumption (such as aspirin, ibuprophen). It has been investigated for use in epileptic conditions, and also has sleep-aid effects. In fact, it was found to be three times more effective than sodium thiopental, a common anesthetic, at lengthening sleep.
A seeming panacea of health benefits, lemongrass has demonstrated the ability to reduce high blood pressure, aid weight loss, and support appropriate blood glucose levels. It also shows promise for relieving nervous tension in states of anxiety (G1).
Shop Now: Zing & Zest Pure Thai Lemongrass
Tart & Tangy Pure Hibiscus Petals
Hibiscus is a flower that grows in tropical regions, and it is often used to add a sweet zing to a plethora of drinks. Its tart flavor makes a lovely pair with red rooibos tea. It can also be added to green tea for a tropical twist, and goes perfectly with fruity teas.
Hibiscus has been used as both a food and medicine in various cultures. Traditional uses include relieving hypertension, coughs, sore throats, and fever. It has also been used as a diuretic, and to help with liver disorders, thanks to its ability to increase bile flow (thus helping out a “sluggish” liver).
The referenced studies have found it to have antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, as well as anti-inflammatory effects in relation to a fever-inducing immune response. This means hibiscus can also help reduce fever (H1)!
It also has an impressive ability to reduce the production of inflammatory TNF-alpha, and increase anti-inflammatory IL-10: what the heck are these? Well they are critical for the bodies balance, for maintaining immune homeostasis (H1, H2). It also exhibits powerful antioxidant and subsequent liver-protective effects (H1).
Shop Now: Tart & Tangy Pure Hibiscus Petals
Pure Peruvian Organic Lemon Verbena
Like lemongrass, lemon verbena makes a wonderful addition to chamomile, yerba mate, ginger, and green teas. Its floral notes also make it a perfect herb to blend with honeybush, lavender, and rose teas.
Lemon verbena has traditionally been used for a variety of conditions, mostly centering around its action as a relaxing ‘nervine’. Relaxing nervines are known to soothe and nourish the nervous system, and are revered for their actions in mood disorders, stress, tension, and as sleep aids (V1, V2, V3).
However, lemon verbena has a surprising benefit that has been investigated in scientific literature: the antioxidant activity was shown to help reduce joint pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in combination with fish oil omega 3s.
On its own, lemon verbena reduced muscle damage and pain after exhaustive exercise in a small, double blind, placebo controlled trial (V4, V5).
Shop Now: Pure Peruvian Organic Lemon Verbena
Golden Kerala Pure Organic Turmeric
Turmeric is a plant that belongs to the ginger family, and it is cultivated for its edible roots. Its earthy, peppery taste makes it a lovely warming addition to chamomile and tulsi holy basil teas, and it also pairs well with ginger, lemon, and honey.
The list of benefits for turmeric far exceeds what I can say here. The traditional uses are boundless, and the anti-inflammatory properties potent.
Evidence is beginning to show a strong link between inflammation as an underlier for many chronic diseases, and the broad uses of this herb may be connected to the anti-inflammatory action (T1a).
Ayurveda, the herbalism of India, reveres turmeric. It is used for colds, pain and arthritic conditions, digestion, inflammation, wound healing, and as an alterative, meaning it helps restore proper function of the body’s systems (T1, T2).
The referenced studies below have found evidence for turmeric’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antiarthritic and liver-protective properties, to name a few (T2, T3).
Sometimes traditional use comes to the scientific world and is found lacking, other times like with the turmeric and its anti-inflammatory comounds, like curcuma, bowl everyone over when studied!
Shop Now: Golden Kerala Pure Organic Turmeric
Pep You Up Pure Thai Ginger
Ginger is a common kitchen ingredient, but it’s a must-have for your homemade tea blend. It’s a match made in heaven for lemon-based teas, and it also pairs wonderfully with yerba mate and both green and red rooibos.
Ginger is another panacea of wellness, and, as noted above, it hails from the same family as turmeric and helpfully shares many anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to address digestive complaints and inflammation, to mediate pain in arthritic conditions, to relieve cold symptoms, and to ease nausea and vomiting in a wide range of populations (adults, children, and pregnant women) (Z1, Z2).
Scientific literature has found evidence supporting ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects, pain reducing effects in arthritis, and anti-nausea effects in pregnancy with evidence for safe use. One study found it more effective than both a placebo and the drug Dramamine in combating motion sickness (Z1). Pretty cool!
Shop Now: Pep You Up Pure Thai Ginger
Sweet & Smooth Pure Turkish Licorice Root
Licorice’s decadent flavor makes it a perfect luxurious addition to your tea. It goes perfectly with rooibos and tulsi holy basil teas, especially when there’s also ginger involved.
In terms of history, such as in traditional Chinese medicine, licorice is an herb with an affinity for the lungs, stomach, and adrenal glands. It is said to help the body adapt to stress, aid the restoration of adrenal function, and support the lungs during upper respiratory conditions. It is added to many herbal formulations, as it is known to synergistically enhance the actions of the other herbs (Q1).
Licorice is also traditionally used to soothe and heal stomach and duodenal ulcers, suppress cough, act as an expectorant, clear nasal congestion, and help the body rebuild its inherent production of steroidal hormones (Q1).
Turning to modern scientific literature, the evidence supports anti-ulcer actions, cough effects, and adrenal effects, to name a few (Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6).
A Note from the Herbalist
If you’ve been wondering how to blend tea at home but didn’t know where to start, these herbs are a perfect launching point for your personal creations. All of them are super healthy, super versatile, and super delicious!
All of these tea additions are perfect for a sunny summer blend. However, Matcha Alternatives will soon be releasing a second set of Blend@Home options for the fall: chai blends! We can’t wait to share these gorgeous ingredients and introduce you to your new favorite fall teas.
If you want your homemade blends to be delicious and packed with antioxidants, this bundle with pure green rooibos, tulsi holy basil, green yerba mate, and honeybush is your one-stop shop. Plus, save $6 off the regular price on the 4oz bundle!
Chamomile is an amazingly versatile base for a plethora of tea blends. Organic and ethically sourced from Egypt, our pure chamomile practically cries out to be included in a fabulous blend.
Explore all of our ethically-sourced pure teas to find your perfect base! From our brand-new white teas to our delicious herbal teas to our eight(!) different varieties of green tea, there's a brew for everyone.
All of the information regarding the herbs, botanicals, minerals, vitamins, etc., is information drawn from traditional use data or academic research and should be regarded as such. If you, the reader, has a health or medical concern, please consult your healthcare professional. The information found here is not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe or cure and has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only.
References for How to Blend Tea At Home
L1: Ez zoubi, Y., Bousta, D. & Farah, A. A Phytopharmacological review of a Mediterranean plant: Lavandula stoechas L. Clin Phytosci 6, 9 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40816-019-0142-y
L4: Kwiatkowski, P., Łopusiewicz, Ł., Kostek, M., Drozłowska, E., Pruss, A., Wojciuk, B., Sienkiewicz, M., Zielińska-Bliźniewska, H., & Dołęgowska, B. (2019). The Antibacterial Activity of Lavender Essential Oil Alone and In Combination with Octenidine Dihydrochloride against MRSA Strains. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(1), 95. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25010095
R1: Boskabady, M. H., Shafei, M. N., Saberi, Z., & Amini, S. (2011). Pharmacological effects of rosa damascena. Iranian journal of basic medical sciences, 14(4), 295–307.
G2: Shah, G., Shri, R., Panchal, V., Sharma, N., Singh, B., & Mann, A. S. (2011). Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass). Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 2(1), 3–8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/#__ffn_sectitle
H1: Da-Costa-Rocha, I., Bonnlaender, B., Sievers, H., Pischel, I., & Heinrich, M. (2014). Hibiscus sabdariffa L. – A phytochemical and pharmacological review. Food Chemistry, 165, 424–443. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.05.002
H2: Shmarina, G. V., Pukhalsky, A. L., Kokarovtseva, S. N., Pukhalskaya, D. A., Shabalova, L. A., Kapranov, N. I., & Kashirskaja, N. J. (2001). Tumor necrosis factor-alpha/interleukin-10 balance in normal and cystic fibrosis children. Mediators of inflammation, 10(4), 191–197. https://doi.org/10.1080/09629350123387
V4: Caturla N, Funes L, Pérez-Fons L, Micol V. A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a combination of lemon verbena extract and fish oil omega-3 fatty acid on joint management. J Altern Complement Med. November 2011;17(11):1051-1063. http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/444/011264-444.html
V5: Buchwald-Werner, S., Naka, I., Wilhelm, M., Schütz, E., Schoen, C., & Reule, C. (2018). Effects of lemon verbena extract (Recoverben®) supplementation on muscle strength and recovery after exhaustive exercise: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0208-0
T1a: Zhong J and Shi G (2019) Editorial: Regulation of Inflammation in Chronic Disease. Front. Immunol. 10:737. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00737 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00737/full
T2: Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Turmeric, the Golden Spice: From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 13. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
T3: Krup V, Prakash LH, Harini A (2013) Pharmacological Activities of Turmeric (Curcuma longa linn): A Review. J Homeop Ayurv Med 2:133. doi: 10.4172/2167-1206.1000133
Z1: Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
Q3: Kuang, Y., Li, B., Fan, J., Qiao, X., & Ye, M. (2018). Antitussive and expectorant activities of licorice and its major compounds. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 26(1), 278–284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2017.11.046 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29224994/
Q4: Al-Dujaili EA, Kenyon CJ, Nicol MR, Mason JI. Liquorice and glycyrrhetinic acid increase DHEA and deoxycorticosterone levels in vivo and in vitro by inhibiting adrenal SULT2A1 activity. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 2011 Apr;336(1-2):102-109. DOI: 10.1016/j.mce.2010.12.011.https://europepmc.org/article/med/21184804
Q5: Stansbury, J., Saunders, P., Winston, D., & Zampieron, E. R. (2012). Treating Adrenal Insufficiency and Hypotension with Glycyrrhiza. Journal of Restorative Medicine, 1(1), 102–106. https://doi.org/10.14200/jrm.2012.1.1011. https://restorativemedicine.org/journal/treating-adrenal-insufficiency-and-hypotension-with-glycyrrhiza/
Q6: Raveendra, K. R., Jayachandra, Srinivasa, V., Sushma, K. R., Allan, J. J., Goudar, K. S., Shivaprasad, H. N., Venkateshwarlu, K., Geetharani, P., Sushma, G., & Agarwal, A. (2012). An Extract ofGlycyrrhiza glabra(GutGard) Alleviates Symptoms of Functional Dyspepsia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/216970. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/216970/