Transcript: Herbal Tea Update: Rooibos & Nettle
Rooibos, or red tea, is anecdotally reported to aid stress-related symptoms, but has none of the mood-altering phytonutrients thought responsible for the increased calm and decreased stress after drinking green tea, so why do some people feel less stressed drinking red tea? Well researchers recently found human adrenal gland cells in a petri dish produce about 4 times fewer steroid hormones in the presence of red tea, yes this may possibly contribute to the alleviation of negative effects arising from elevated stress hormone levels” if it actually happened in real life, but the effect was so dramatic they were concerned it might adversely effect the production of sex steroid hormones as well, but that’s not what they found when they tested it in human subjects. The same may not be true of nettle tea. Nettle is used to relieve the symptoms of prostate enlargement by boosting estrogen levels, but if men drink too much they may grow breasts and women may start lactating. It’s safe as long as you don’t drink too much, and as long as you don’t come down with atropine poisoning because you mistook it for this plant, deadly nightshade, and as long as you don’t put the leaves in your mouth fresh. They don’t call them stinging nettles for nothing. This is a picture of the impalement of a nettle spicule in the skin. Another thing nettle tea is touted for is being packed with minerals, which always seemed kind of strange to me. Yes, if you boil dark green leafy vegetables long enough, you do lose minerals into the cooking water, but how many minerals could we be getting if you just steep some tea? We never knew because it hadn’t been tested, until now. They compared the mineral content of nettle tea to chamomile tea, mint tea, St. John’s Wort, and sage. Nettle tea didn’t seem to have much more than any of the others, but maybe they’re all really high? Well one cup of nettle tea has the iron of a dried apricot—that’s more than I expected. The zinc found in a single pumpkin seed. One-twentieth of a mushroom’s worth of copper, but 4 peanuts worth of magnesium and a fig’s worth of calcium. I agree with the researchers that a cup of herbal tea may not be an important source of minerals, but it’s not negligible. Greens are so packed with nutrition that they can just drink some hot water they’ve been soaking in a few minutes and get something useful.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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