Herbs in the tea formulas

The herbs in the tea formulas that were described in the previous chapter have passed numerous safety evaluations and are considered by most herbalists as effective ingredients. All of these herbs have been used for centuries, some of them were already in use during the ancient Graeco-Roman period of herbalism described in Chapter 2.

In the following pages, there is a brief review of each of the herbs. The ingredients are these, arranged in alphabetical order:

1 Anise 15 Lemon Balm
2 Birch 16 Licorice
3 Boldo 17 Meadowsweet
4 Caraway 18 Orange Blossom
5 Chamomile 19 Peppermint
6 Coriander 20 Plantain
7 Echinacea 21 Rosemary
8 Elder 22 Senna Leaf
9 Fennel 23 St. John's Wort
10 Goldenrod 24 Star anise
11 Green Tea 25 Thyme
12 Hops 26 Valerian
13 Juniper 27 Yarrow
14 Lavender    

Of these, certain ingredients are included in most of the teas due to their known benefits, good taste, and common use by European herbalists: anise, fennel, hops, lemon balm, licorice, peppermint, and valerian. In particular, peppermint is in all but one of the tea blends (not in Laxative Tea), serving as the basic health tea. It is common practice to have a base ingredient in most blends in other herbal cultures as well: Chinese teas often use ginger, jujube, and licorice as base ingredients, while Indian blends often include myrobalans fruits (a combination of the three), and Indonesian remedies often have turmeric as their base. Here is how Künzle explains the special value of peppermint:

All varieties of mint dissolve old residues and eliminate waste matter and obstinate flatulence and are, therefore, used against almost all ailments of man and cattle. Besides, they increase and further the healing power of other herbs.

To assist in understanding the therapeutic contributions of the formula ingredients, following is a table of terms used in the herbal literature to describe the actions of herbs.


Term Meaning
anodyne relieves pain
anthelmintic inhibits intestinal worms
anticattharal reduces excessive mucus secretions
antidiarrheal treats diarrhea, especially chronic condition
antiemetic reduces nausea and helps prevent vomiting
anti-inflammatory reduces inflammation (e.g., in arthritis, skin diseases, infections)
antipyretic reduces fever (antipyretic herbs are described as febrifuge)
antirheumatic relieves joint and muscle pain due to rheumatism (as opposed to injury)
antispasmodic alleviates muscle contractions
aperient produces mild laxative effect
astringent reduces discharge of fluids (e.g., diarrhea, leukorrhea, copious sputum)
bronchodilator alleviates wheezing by dilating lung passages
carminative alleviates gas and bloating
cholagogue promotes secretion of bile
demulcent provides soothing effect on mucous membranes (has slippery, coating action)
diaphoretic promotes sweating, a method of therapy to treat acute infections and fevers
digestive aid provides general improvement of digestive function
diuretic promotes urination, usually in cases of edema
emenogogue promotes initiation of menstrual bleeding
expectorant promotes release of sputum
galactagogue promotes milk production in nursing mothers
hemostatic reduces bleeding
hepatoprotective reduces liver inflammation caused by chemicals, viruses, etc.
hypoglycemic reduces blood sugar in cases of elevated sugar levels (i.e., diabetes)
hypolipemic reduces elevated blood lipids (e.g., high cholesterol, high triglycerides)
laxative promotes bowel movements, usually in cases of constipation
nervine sedative calming and improving nervous system functions
refrigerant has a cooling effect on a non-fever condition, such as experienced on hot days
sedative calming; usually has prompt effect
stimulant enlivens nervous system and metabolism
stomachic improves digestive function of the stomach, improves appetite
tonic helps overcome weakness
uterine sedative reduces uterine contractions (i.e., cramping)
uterine stimulant promotes uterine contractions (i.e., during menstruation)