Cut down on the caffeine with the best spiced, fruity and fragrant herbal teas
Tea might have a chokehold on the British population, with most people knowing the exact ratios of tea, milk and sugar they prefer, but herbal tea is an altogether different proposition. In fact, just finding the best herbal tea can be a tough task through the sheer volume of infusions on offer – including fragrant mixes that often contain more than ten different herbs, flowers and plants at once.
But, by all accounts, the versatility of herbal tea is simply astounding with many minty, fruity, and spicy flavours to choose from. You can even mix loose leaf options together for your own special blends – though trusty, ready-made tea bags are usually available if you want to keep things simple. What links them all is the use of plants that are not from the traditional tea plant, meaning that herbal teas are almost universally uncaffeinated – a real plus for any one trying to kick their caffeine cravings. Add in reported benefits from aiding constipation and bloating, to anxiety and weight loss and herbal teas have a lot going for them.
Below you’ll find a whole variety of tried and tested herbal teas to take your pick from. Whether it contains chamomile, peppermint or something a little different, we’ve tried to find you the best tasting options at competitive price points. But before that, you can read through our buying guide on all things herbal tea including what it is, some of the major varieties and all the benefits associated with each one.
How to choose the best herbal tea for you
What is herbal tea?
It’s a little illogical, but herbal tea isn’t actually tea in the true sense of the word. Instead of deriving their taste from the Camellia Sinensis plant – as true teas like black, green and white do – herbal teas could more accurately be described as infusions, since they are often blends of roots, flowers and leaves from a variety of other edible plants. Both tea and herbal tea may essentially be plants doused in hot water, but herbal teas will not include Camellia Sinensis (unless stated otherwise). You’ll also not be adding milk to the majority of these drinks as many regular tea drinkers do, though occasionally it is recommended or can be experimented with.
Do herbal teas have caffeine in them?
Unlike true teas, herbal teas are almost universally caffeine-free, which is ideal for anyone trying to kick their caffeine drinking habits to the curb. The only exception is with Yerba Mate, a popular herbal tea in South America, which is naturally caffeinated.
You might find some products described as herbal tea are actually artificially caffeinated – either by adding artificial caffeine molecules or mixing with true teas. All the products we’ve listed below are caffeine-free unless stated otherwise, but it’s always important to check the label when shopping around.
What are the different kinds of herbal tea?
Just like plants in the world, there are simply too many herbal teas to mention in one breath. Some of the popular favourites you may have heard of include Chamomile, Peppermint, Ginger and Hibiscus but there are many more around. In fact, multiple plants are often combined into one herbal mixture to provide enhanced flavours (and benefits) in every cup.
Why do people drink herbal tea?
Asides from the fact the whole gamut of herbs on Earth provide different delicious tasting teas, herbal teas also have perceived and legitimate medicinal benefits. As mentioned, being caffeine-free is a major positive of drinking herbal teas. For instance, anyone drinking over three cups of coffee a day is believed to be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are also cultural and ritualistic ties with some herbal teas, since these beverages have been served for nearly as long as recorded history tells us. Documents have been found regarding herbal teas, like Linseed, Cannabis and Thyme, used in Ancient Egypt. Likewise, tea ceremonies using flowers such as Lavender, Honeysuckle and Jasmine can be traced to ancient China.
Other numerous health benefits of individual herbal teas have not always been thoroughly tested using scientific methods, but below we’ve listed the perceived benefits associated with each herbal tea.
What are the benefits of herbal teas?
It’s always better to consult a doctor before using specific teas for medical purposes, for instance teas containing liquorice are known to raise blood pressure and should be avoided if you have hypertension. And, as mentioned above, some of the science is a bit patchy on the exact benefits of individual teas – so please don’t use this page as official advice.
Nonetheless, we’ll try to give you a run down of the perceived benefits reported with some of the major herbal tea types, so you have a better idea of what each option is good for below. We’ll also include benefits of ingredients in specific products in the roundup below this buying guide. Keep in mind that many teas will feature a mixture of herbs, so the individual benefits will potentially be less or more pronounced.
- Chamomile tea: Help induce sleep; soothe stomach pains and anxiety; reduce inflammation
- Peppermint tea: Ease bloating/irritable bowel syndrome; relieve tension headaches and nasal congestion.
- Ginger tea: Root frequently used for relieving nausea/upset stomach; boost appetite; fight cold symptoms
- Hibiscus tea: Rich in antioxidants; reduce inflammation; high in polyphenols
- Echinacea tea: High in antioxidants; beneficial to the immune system; improve mood; high in polyphenols
How do we test herbal teas?
While enjoying a particular variety of herbal tea may often come down to personal preference, we tried to assess things beyond simply just flavour – as important as that is. This started with looking at the ingredients used between seemingly identical teas, taking note of what exactly they were and the relative concentrations used. This is important given the distinct perceived and/or actual benefits of various ingredients, as discussed above, for particular teas’ use cases – for instance, a tea suitable for ingestion prior to sleeping will want to avoid any stimulants.
Once an array of suitable teas of a range of price points and formats (e.g. bags or loose leaf) were brought in for testing, the process we went through was just as you would expect when making your own cup of tea. We boiled up some water, brewed each tea according to the individual brands’ infusion directions, and then went ahead with tasting the flavours with both our noses and our mouths.
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The best herbal teas to buy in 2023
1. Bird&Blend Gingerbread Chai: Best spiced herbal tea
Price when reviewed: £6.75 (for 50g) | Check price at Bird&Blend
In terms of a spicy, sweet tea we would pick over and over again, it has to be the Bird&Blend Gingerbread Chai. It’s not just a flavour for the cold winter months either – although it does make for a warming brew when that time rolls around – this Rooibos-based tea is delicious at any time. And as our buying guide notes, Rooibos is great for a number of reasons including being low in tannins and high in antioxidants.
It tastes great on its own, but if you follow this recipe and add in some milk, honey and cinnamon, you’ve got yourself an even more delicious drink that works especially well for those weaning off caffeinated tea.
Alternatively, if you prefer a more fragrant (and visually stunning) bedtime cuppa, we also recommend Bird&Blend’s Dozy Girl Chamomile tea, which features hibiscus, rose petals and lavender for a pink bedtime delight.
Key details – Ingredients: Rooibos, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mallow flowers; Type: Loose leaf; Infusion directions: 1 heaped teaspoon per cup, 4+ mins, with or without milk
2. Pukka Three Chamomile: Best herbal tea for sleeping
Price when reviewed: £16 (20 tea bags x 4) | Check price at AmazonThere are some great sleepy teas out there, but our favourite is this one from Pukka. It has a calming aroma off the bat, with a follow-up of earthy undertones and slightly sweet florals – as long as you steep it for the required time – that will have sheep forming a queue in the approach to bedtime.
It consists of a wonderful balance of three types of chamomile flower: African (70%), Egyptian (20%) and European (10%). For chamomile lovers, there’s nothing better than that – although newbies shouldn’t be put off as it’s not overpowering in the slightest. Better still, it’s in tea bag form so there’s no hassle if you’re after a quick herbal nightcap.
Key details – Ingredients: African Chamomile Flower, Egyptian Chamomile Flower, European Chamomile Flower; Type: Tea bags; Infusion directions: Up to 15 mins
3. T2 Just Peppermint: Best minty herbal tea
Price when reviewed: £9.59 (for 50g) | Check price at AmazonIn general, mint tea really offers a fresh kick like few other herbal teas can, but this pure peppermint option from tea specialists T2 is by far our favourite minty pick. It’s noticeably stronger than others on the market, without any of the bitterness other brands fall foul to.
Given peppermint’s antibacterial properties, we found it worked particularly well as a post-meal palette cleanser, but it’s also known to help with headaches, stomach pain and menstrual cramps too. This and other T2 teas are packaged in handy, cube tins – so you’ll always be quick to find and pack away this lively tea whenever you need to.
Key details – Ingredients: Peppermint; Type: Loose leaf; Infusion directions: 1 teaspoon per cup, 2/3 mins
4. A.Vogel Golden Rod and Knotgrass Tea: Best everyday herbal tea bag
Price when reviewed: £8 (25 tea bags) | Check price at Amazon
Avid consumers of herbal tea will know that a lot of herbal blends come in pouches, rather than ready-to-use bags. While this gives you the opportunity to mix and match flavours, sometimes having a standard tea ready to go is the easiest option.
Other mixes on this list might be a little too fragrant for multiple cups a day, so if you want an easy-use tea bag that provides enough flavour while not tipping the scale, this option from A.Vogel is a goodie. Any green tea enthusiasts will enjoy similar notes, sans the caffeine, in what is a light and easy drink any time of day.
It’s also one of the only herbal teas featuring knotgrass – thought to help with kidney problems, fatigue and bronchitis.
Key details – Ingredients: Golden Rod, Wild Pansy, Horsetail, Knotgrass and Birch leaves; Type: Tea bags; Infusion directions: 5 mins+
5. Neal’s Yard Remedies After Dinner Tea: Best herbal tea for digestion
Price when reviewed: £5 (18 tea bags) | Check price at Neal’s Yard RemediesFollowing a rich or spicy meal, a mellow cup of herbal tea can make for the perfect digestif, and this Peppermint and Dandelion Root offering from Neal’s Yard Remedies is one of our favourite postprandial tipples. Balancing its initial peppermint and anise kick with earthy nettle leaf and dandelion root, as well as aromatic fennel, this tea’s subtle yet complex flavour is at once revivifying and relaxing to drink, making it perfect for post-dinner sipping.
As well as being immensely drinkable, this tea is also produced with environmentally friendliness in mind. The ingredients are 100% organic, with the nettle and dandelion root being FairWild Certified, meaning they are wild harvested in a sustainable manner. The tea bags themselves are unbleached and biodegradable, being made from natural abaca and stitched with organic cotton, and both the box and individual tea bag sachets are fully recyclable.
Key details – Ingredients: Aniseed, fennel seed, peppermint leaf, spearmint leaf, ginger root, nettle leaf, dandelion root; Type: Tea bags; Infusion directions: Up to 10 minutes
6. Tropical Sun Turmeric Tea: Best pure herbal tea
Price: £10 (120 tea bags) | Buy now from Amazon
Initially, we were a bit sceptical of turmeric making for a tasty tea. Yes, it has scientific backing behind its health benefits as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. But as a delicious tea? We remained unsure.
As it turns out, turmeric makes for a delicious warm beverage, with this variety of 100% turmeric tea being our favourite. Drinking it neat works nicely, although adding pepper is thought to improve the absorption of the turmeric – and it also gives an extra kick to your drink. This could be one for ex-coffee drinkers to try, as it really provides a morning boost without any caffeine.
Key details – Ingredients: Turmeric; Type: Tea bags; Infusion directions: 2-5 mins
7. Biopurus CBD tea: Best tea for achy muscles
Price when reviewed: £14 (20 tea bags) | Check price at ForTheAgeless
It’s not illegal, don’t fret; CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp and is perfectly above board. We found this 1.6% CBD tea from ForTheAgeless to work well as a muscle relaxant, helping soothe delayed onset muscle soreness following a vigorous workout.
In fact, world famous athletes such as US footballer Megan Rapinoe, Scottish Rugby player Finn Russell and MMA fighter Conor McGregor use CBD to aid muscle recovery, manage pain symptoms and/or improve consistency of sleep, so there are a variety of bodily benefits from this herbal remedy. It tastes pretty decent too once you get used to it, but you can also mix with honey and cinnamon for an extra delicious cup.
Key details – Ingredients: Cannabis Sativa L; Type: Tea bags; Infusion directions: 5-10 mins
8. Bird & Blend Blueberry and Peach: Best fruity herbal tea
Price when reviewed: £8.85 for 50g | Check price at Bird&Blend
Bird&Blend have a range of masterful teas including a range of fruity options, but the best we tried was its Blueberry and Peach offering which won a Great Taste award in 2020. We can understand why: it pairs a range of ingredients from blue pea flowers to apple pieces that work in perfect harmony – especially the headlining balmy peach and tart blueberry combo. You’ll see your tea turn a bright violet colour too, which is a fun novelty. So give it a try and see if it’s for you.
Key details – Ingredients: Apple pieces, hibiscus, rosehip, blue pea flowers, freeze-dried blueberry, freeze-dried peach, orange peel; Type: Loose leaf; Infusion directions: 1 heaped teaspoon per cup, 4+ mins