I Have a Sweet Tooth for Sweet and Spicy Teas
You are probably thinking about making a cup of hot tea and squeezing a nice dollop or two of honey into your steaming mug. Back when I first started drinking herbal tea I also would invariably add a nice spoonful of honey, or (my favorite) drop a peppermint candy in there to let it slowly dissolve. The sweetener was a comforting thing and helped me to acquire a taste for many new varieties and combinations of herbal tea. However as I learned more and my tastes matured, I began to discover that:
My teas didn’t always need to be sweet to be delicious and
There are many herbs that are sweet without adding sugar.
The joy of finally being able to enjoy herbs in their naked form, without the gaudy clothing to mask their essential tastes prompted me to encourage you to try it too.
Here is my list of 5 Sweet and Spicy Teas That Don’t Need Sugar
What makes is sweet? Glycyrrhizic acid.
This super sweet root that was the inspiration behind twizzler sticks is said to be 50 times as sweet as sugar, thanks to Glycyrrhizic acid. It doesn’t taste that sweet as a tea though. The kind of sweetness licorice has is more like short and sweet, quickly evaporating from your tastebuds. This herb is a tonic and an adaptogen (more on those in a future post) and an anti-inflammatory making it a great ingredient in herbal teas for sore throats.
What makes it sweet? Maybe it’s association with sweet foods.
Cinnamon may not actually be sweet, but it’s flavor is an amazing compliment to baked goods. The “spice” in “sugar and spice and anything nice” must be referring to cinnamon. So add it in to spice up your sweet teas. It’s a soothing digestive for sensitive stomachs.
What makes it sweet? Flavenoids in the seeds
Fenugreek is an ancient herbal medicine used since ancient times in Africa, India and the Middle East. It was prized as a nourishing herb due to it’s high protein content. Fenugreek was used for a wide variety of ailments from lowering cholesterol to treating stomach ailments and there has been some clinical trials as well. Some evidence shows that fenugreek can inhibit some types of cancer cells.
What makes it sweet? It’s kind of a mystery.
Spearmint is in a long-running popularity contest with Peppermint. While they are both part of the mint family, they are used in different ways. There is a debate out there about which one is better, peppermint or spearmint. For me, Spearmint is a milder herb and adds more sweetness to a tea and less menthol. So if you want a tea that opens your sinuses and lungs, go with peppermint. If you are looking for a flavor enhancer that’s not so strong, choose Spearmint.
What makes it sweet? Steviol-glycosides
Licorice might be 50 times sweeter than sugar… That’s no comparison to Stevia because Stevia is somewhere between 150 and 200 times sweeter than sugar! This is the miracle sweetener that is so easy to use. Just pinch a leaf off of a stevia plant and if you really need to sweeten your tea, this is how you do it.
Look out for more sweet and spicy teas, recipes and unique qualities of these medicinals in the menu under “Herbs“.