Alvita is celebrating its 100th year in business with the reintroduction of eight distinct, organic herbal teas.
These include Alfalfa, Dandelion, Ginger, Hibiscus, Nettle, Red Clover, Senna and Turmeric. Following is a brief description of each of these teas.
Alfalfa—the original flagship herb of the Alvita brand—has been cultivated for thousands of years, probably beginning in ancient Armenia about 2000 B.C.[i] Alfalfa has a long taproot that penetrates more deeply into the soil than crops such as corn or wheat which have more fibrous, shallow roots.[ii] As a result, alfalfa gains exposure to a greater range of trace elements. Additionally, the whole alfalfa plant provides nutritional content, including vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals, and trace elements.[iii] Also, animal research has demonstrated that alfalfa is capable of promoting a health immune response.[iv] Similar research has also shown that alfalfa has protective antioxidant properties[v], as well as anti-inflammatory properties[vi] which is beneficial when overexercising.
Dandelion root has a long history of traditional use in many systems of medicine for promoting the health of the liver and gall bladder.[vii] A primary reason for this is that it has been shown to help stimulate bile production and promote its flow,[viii] [ix] which is an important for the digestion of fats and a critical part of the body’s detoxification mechanism, promoting the elimination of wastes.[x] In addition, dandelion root brews a dark tea that can be used as a healthy coffee replacement.
Traditionally used as a warming and soothing herb for digestive health in Asian systems of traditional medicine, the root or rhizome (enlarged underground stem) of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is valuable for a number of purposes, especially nausea associated with motion and pregnancy.[xi] Ginger is also a traditional carminative (gas relieving) herb.[xii] Furthermore, has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote circulation.[xiii] [xiv]
Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) has a history of traditional use in Egypt to support cardiovascular health[xv], and in North Africa to support respiratory health[xvi]. Likewise, hibiscus tea (sometimes called sour tea) is used traditionally to promote healthy blood pressure, already within a normal range.[xvii] This particular benefit was demonstrated in three different clinical studies[xviii] [xix] [xx], typically using 1.25-2 grams of Hibiscus, brewed in 240 mL of water, and consumed two to three times daily. The results where that consumption of this tea helped maintain healthy blood pressure compared to placebo teas after two to six weeks of use. In addition, Hibiscus offers effective antioxidant protection against oxidative stress[xxi], and is great for a cooling iced tea.
According to the German Commission E monographs[xxii] and European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP)[xxiii], nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) has a traditional history of use for supporting joint health. Likewise, nettle tea has been traditionally used to promote healthy kidney and bladder function,[xxiv] and to support cardiovascular health.[xxv] In addition, nettle contains a range of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.[xxvi]
According to the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health[xxvii], red clover has been historically used for respiratory health. Red clover contains isoflavones that function as phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens). Estrogens have a profound influence on skin, and the reduction in estrogen production that accompanies menopause often means undesirable change in aging skin. In fact, animal research[xxviii] has demonstrated that red clover isoflavones help maintain collagen in conditions of reduced estrogen. In fact, the researchers in that study concluded that “red clover isoflavones are effective in reducing skin aging induced by estrogen deprivation.” Red clover is considered to be a soothing herb.
Senna leaf (Senna alexandrina ) is used extensively as a natural laxative, and has been shown in research to be effective for this purpose and for reducing constipation.[xxix] [xxx] Furthermore, when used appropriately on a short-term basis, senna has been shown to have a good safety profile.[xxxi] [xxxii] Sennosides, the active compounds in senna, are not absorbed, but instead are activated by bacterial enzymes in the colon.[xxxiii] The result is that senna exerts its laxative effect by inducing fluid secretion, which increases colonic motility and colonic transit.[xxxiv] In some instances, senna can cause abdominal pain and discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea;[xxxv] [xxxvi] so it is important not to exceed recommended doses.
Turmeric is a bright yellow, ancient spice and a traditional remedy that has been used as far back to 600 BCE. Native to India and Indonesia, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Unani traditional medicine for at least 2500 years, primarily to promote digestive and liver health, as well as healthy joint function.[xxxvii] Its value is essentially due to its curcuminoid content. Turmeric and its curcuminoids exhibit strong antioxidant activity[xxxviii], and enhance the body’s natural antioxidant glutathione levels, which in turn aids the liver in its natural detoxification process.[xxxix]
[i] Pedersen M. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Wendell W. Whitman Company; 1998: 34-35.
[ii] Undersander D, et al. Alfalfa management guide. American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., Soil Science Society of America, Inc. North Central Regional Extension Publication; 2004: 22 pgs. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/PA_NRCSConsumption/download?cid=nrcseprd401854&ext=pdf#:~:text=Alfalfa%20has%20a%20long%20taproot,gives%20alfalfa%20excellent%20drought%20tolerance.
[iii] Apostol L, et al. ALFALFA CONCENTRATE – A RICH SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS FOR USE IN FOOD PRODUCTS. Journal of International Scientific Publications. 2017;5:66-73 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318495350_ALFALFA_CONCENTRATE_-_A_RICH_SOURCE_OF_NUTRIENTS_FOR_USE_IN_FOOD_PRODUCTS
[iv] Jiang JF, et al. Effects of alfalfa meal on the intestinal microbial diversity and immunity of growing ducks. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2014 Dec;98(6):1039-46. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24460922/
[vii] Blumenthal M, et al. (eds). Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs: Newton, Massachusetts; Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
[viii] Vogel G. Natural substances with effects on the liver. In: Wagner H, Wolff P (eds). New Natural Products and Plant Drugs with Pharmacological, Biological or Therapeutic Activity. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 1977.
[ix] Tierra M. International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 1997; February:23-25.
[x] Salmond S. Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism. 1997;9(1):14-18.
[xi] Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. British journal of anaesthesia 2000; 84(3):367-71. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10793599/
[xii] Blumenthal M, et al, (eds), The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications;1998:425–26.
[xiii] Ghosh AK. Zingiber officinale: a natural gold. IJPBS. 2011;2(1):283-94. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Zingiber-officinale%3A-a-natural-gold-Banerjee-Banerjee/6a8a3e21d480fae7a26a1c57159235f19251033a
[xiv] Zadeh JB, Kor NM. Physiological and pharmaceutical effects of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) as a valuable medicinal plant. Eur J Exp Biol. 2014;4(1):87-90. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Physiological-and-pharmaceutical-effects-of-Ginger-Zadeh-Kor/87382246e0b248765e32771f9b27a3cb03ac17db
[xv] Leung AY, Foster S, eds. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons; 1996.
[xvi] Neuwinger HD. African Traditional Medicine. Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publication; 2000.
[xvii] Burnham T, Wickersham R, Novak K, et al. The Review of Natural Products. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons; 2002.
[xviii] McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. Hibiscus Sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J Nutr 2010;140:298-303. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20018807/
[xix] Haji, Faraji M. and Haji, Tarkhani A. The effect of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on essential hypertension. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999;65(3):231-236. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10404421/#:~:text=Statistical%20findings%20showed%20an%2011.2,compared%20with%20the%20first%20day.
[xx] Mozaffari-Khosravi H, et al. The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes. J Hum. Hypertens 2009;23(1):48-54. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18685605/
[xxi] Guardiola S, Mach N. [Therapeutic potential of Hibiscus sabdariffa: a review of the scientific evidence]. Endocrinol Nutr. 2014 May;61(5):274-95. [Article in Spanish]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24444676/
[xxii] Blumenthal M, et al, (eds), The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications;1998:425–26.
[xxiii] European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. ESCOP Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products. Thieme; 2003: 556 pgs.
[xxiv] Blumenthal M, et al, (eds), The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications;1998:425–26.
[xxvi] Adhikari BM, et al. Comparison of nutritional properties of Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) flour with wheat and barley flours. Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Jan; 4(1): 119–124. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4708629/
[xxviii] Circosta C, De Pasquale R, Palumbo DR, Samperi S, Occhiuto F. Effects of isoflavones from red clover (Trifolium pratense) on skin changes induced by ovariectomy in rats. Phytother Res. 2006 Dec;20(12):1096-9.
[xxx] Ramesh PR, Kumar KS, Rajagopal MR, et al. Managing morphine-induced constipation: a controlled comparison of an Ayurvedic formulation and senna. J Pain Symptom Manage 1998;16:240-4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9803051/
[xxxiv] Ewe K, Ueberschaer B, Press AG. Influence of senna, fibre, and fibre + senna on colonic transit in loperamide-induced constipation. Pharmacology 1993;47:242-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8234436/
[xxxv] Langmead L, Rampton DS. Review article: herbal treatment in gastrointestinal and liver disease–benefits and dangers. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2001;15:1239-52. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11552894/
[xxxvi] Sondheimer JM, Gervaise EP. Lubricant versus laxative in the treatment of chronic functional constipation of children: a comparative study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1982;1:223-6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6310075/
[xxxvii] Kiefer D, et al. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs. National Geographic; 2012.
[xxxviii] Toda S, Miyase T, Arich H, et al. Natural antioxidants. Antioxidative compounds isolated from rhizome of Curcuma longa L. Chem Pharmacol Bull 1985;33:1725-1728. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4042250/
[xxxix] Pizorrno JE, Murray MT. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd Ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 1999;689-693.