Blueberry Tea- Benefits, How to Make & Side Effects
Blueberry tea offers a number of excellent health benefits, including the ability to protect against cancer, strengthen heart health, increase bone density, boost the immune system, prevent macular degeneration, improve cognitive function, lower the risk of diabetes and raises kidney health. There are very few side effects to blueberry tea, as allergies to this particular plant are rare, but stomach upset and diarrhea may occur if the tea is consumed in excessive amounts.
Blueberry tea is made by steeping the dried leaves of the blueberry bush, as these leaves are packed with antioxidants and nutrients, just like the fruit that the bush bears. Blueberries have become one of the most sought after fruits in recent decades, after the discovery that they had potent antioxidant potential, and can have a hugely positive effect on overall health. These fruit-bearing bushes are native to North America, but were introduced to Europe nearly a century ago, and can now be found in most parts of the world. The most common species is Vaccinium cyanococcus, and the majority of its health benefits are derived from the high concentrations of anthocyanins, polyphenolic compounds and other phytonutrients, as well as vitamin A, C, B and K, potassium, manganese, zinc and iron.
Benefits of Blueberry Tea
Drinking blueberry tea is a wise choice for anyone experiencing the symptoms of cataracts, low immunity, dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney infections, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis, low metabolism, nutrient deficiencies and anemia, as well as those at high risk for various types of cancer.
Heart Health: Blueberry tea can provide a boost to your cardiovascular system in a number of ways, beginning with its potassium content, which can act as a vasodilator to reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack. Secondly, the high concentration of proanthocyanins in blueberry tea have been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Cognition: The antioxidants found in this powerful fruit tea can significantly affect your cognitive function by preventing oxidative stress and plaque deposition in the brain. This slowing down of your neural connections is what leads to Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, and the active compounds in blueberries can help protect your from that.
Digestion: Gallic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant in blueberries that can reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the stomach. By helping to re-balance bacterial levels in the gut, it can optimize digestion, reduce discomfort, cramping and bloating, and ease symptoms of constipation and diarrhea.
Immune System: Our immune system can be bolstered by both the vitamin C and the anthocyanins found in blueberry tea. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells, and acts as an antioxidant, while the anthocyanins will seek out free radicals and neutralize them before they can cause cells to mutate or undergo apoptosis.
Vision: The vitamin A found in blueberry tea means that this herbal beverage can help protect and strengthen your vision. This vitamin is known to act as an antioxidant, specifically in defending against macular degeneration in the retina and slowing down the onset of cataracts.
Kidney Health: Two acids found in this tea, ellagic and hippuric acids, help to detoxify the urinary bladder walls by increasing the acidity of the urine. Furthermore, these active components of blueberry tea can reduce the level of oxalates in the body, which can lead to kidney stones.
Diabetes: Blueberry tea is known to lower blood sugar levels by optimizing the function of the pancreas, increasing insulin secretion and improving insulin resistance within the body. For those suffering from diabetes or others at high risk of developing this condition, this delicious tea works as both a preventative measure and a regulatory treatment!
Bone Density: In some studies, consuming blueberry tea has been positively associated with increased bone density and a lower risk of developing osteoporosis. Although the mineral content isn’t huge in blueberry leaves, there are enough to give your body a healthy boost in mineral intake, keeping your bones strong as you age.
Circulation: Iron is present in blueberry tea, as is calcium, which can improve iron uptake by the digestive system. Iron is also a key component of red blood cells, which means more oxygenation to extremities of the body and tissues that require repair or regrowth. Improved circulation can also increase energy levels and prevent symptoms of anemia.
Cancer: Blueberries have become known as a superfood because of their apparent effect on cancer; this is in large part due to the anthocyanins found in these berries (and the leaves that make this tea). By drinking blueberry tea on a regular basis, the gallic acid and other antioxidants in this tea can measurably lower your risk for colon, prostate, breast, lung and cervical cancer.
How to Make Blueberry Tea
Making blueberry tea at home is a simple and quick way to give your body a healthy boost, and only requires dried blueberry leaves, hot water and natural sweeteners, such as honey or sugar, if necessary. Many people make blueberry tea with the berries themselves, but the leaves are also potent sources of nutrients, and even contain trace amounts of caffeine for an extra energetic boost. Dried blueberry leaves can be purchased at most natural health food stores, or they can be collected and dried from the wild. Before collecting and using wild blueberry leaves, be absolutely sure you are harvesting the right leaves, as other berry varieties (that look similar to blueberries) can be hazardous to your health.
- 2-3 teaspoons of dried blueberry leaves
- 2 cups of water (filtered)
- 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar, to taste
Step 1 – Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer (boiling water neutralizes some antioxidants).
Step 2 – Add the blueberry leaves to the mixture.
Step 3 – Allow the leaves to steep for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4 – Strain the tea and add honey or sugar, if desired.
Step 5 – Enjoy!
Side Effects of Blueberry Tea
Blueberry tea has very few side effects, and they are limited almost exclusively to gastrointestinal issues and rare allergic reactions. However, other groups of people should be somewhat cautious before adding blueberry tea to their health regimen.
- Stomach Issues – Some of the limited side effects of blueberry tea include stomach upset, indigestion, diarrhea or nausea, but this is only when an excessive amount of this tea is consumed. When drunk in moderation, more specifically, less than 3 cups per day, these side effects shouldn’t occur.
- Allergic Reaction – While allergic reactions to blueberries are rare, they can happen, and typically manifest as swollen lips, tongue or gums, as well as skin irritation, redness, swelling and itchiness. If any of these symptoms develop after drinking this tea, discontinue use immediately.
- Pregnancy – This tea is packed with vital nutrients to health, but it also has powerful effects on the body and your overall health. If you are breast-feeding or pregnant, always speak to your doctor about your particular condition before adding blueberry tea to your diet.