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Great symptom-relieving teas to enjoy during chemo

Published: 02 May 2018

Tea is the most consumed beverage on the planet, after water.  Having been around for 4000 years, tea comes in many forms and with many benefits.

We’ve gathered a few of our favourite teas with benefits that will help you fight off chemo’s side-effects.

Black tea

Black tea is the most commonly drunk tea.  It is high in theaflavins and catechins – polyphenols that provide many benefits to the body.

These polyphenols stimulate your body to produce more detoxifying and anti-oxidant enzymes which help with flushing your body of ‘free radicals’ – highly reactive molecules that can contribute to cancer. 

Not only this, but black tea is proven to help stem inflammation.  Containing caffeine, it is also mildly stimulating, helping curb your chemo fatigue.

Black tea is best consumed on its own, but adding milk and sugar is ok too, especially if you need to catch up on your calories.  You can substitute milk for soya, almond, or coconut milk, or you can add a slice of lemon or teaspoon of honey as alternatives.

Green tea

Another popular tea that is the mostly consumed in Japan and parts of China.  Green tea is made from the same plant as black tea, but its preparation is different, giving it its green colour. 

The leaves are steamed or heated as quickly as possible – this maintains more of its properties and limits oxidation (which occurs in black tea), effectively increasing the concentration of anti-oxidants compared to black tea, heightening the tea leaves’ benefits.

There is some evidence that green tea can help with losing weight, lowering cholesterol, and decreasing blood pressure.  Also contains caffeine, so can combat the chemo fatigue.

Many combined/flavoured green tea on market to choose from, or you can add your own flavour to your brew like honey or mint leaves.

Ginger tea

Ginger tea has been used medicinally in the East for millennia.  It is a highly effective in nursing troubled tummies and digestive issues.  It is proven to lessen nausea and diarrhoea by calming and soothing the digestive tract – a common side effect of chemo.

Ginger has also been linked in some studies to lowering stress, reducing inflammation, and improving your appetite; all helpful when dealing with your chemo side effects on your rest days.

Ginger tea's flavour makes it a spicy and tangy alternative to the usual morning brew.

Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea has many benefits aside from its refreshing taste.  There is some evidence that mint tea may help deal with nausea and boost the immune system.

The properties of menthol have been linked to combating fever and reducing inflammation; so if you’re having a hot flush, a cup of mint tea may be just what you need. 

As well as this, peppermint has been shown to relieve stress, a very important element of your chemotherapy recovery.

It’s refreshing flavour and revitalising properties make it a popular choice to perk you up and keep your breath fresh.

Valerian root tea

Insomnia is one of the most frustrating effects of chemotherapy, especially when you’re exhausted from its side effects.  Valerian root tea has mild sedative effects which help ease you into deeper, more beneficial sleep.

Added to this is valerian root’s stress and anxiety relieving properties, which will help calm your mind of your chemo chemo concerns (and further help with much-needed sleep).

Valerian root tea has a woodsy and evergreen flavour that becomes bitter the longer it is brewed.  Drink a cup at night before bed, or during the day to help you nap.

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These are some of the best teas that compliment chemo’s side effects.  Not only are they great symptom relievers, but they are quick and easy to make and low on calories.  

Always read the packaging though; some teas are flavoured blends with green or black tea as a base, meaning they may contain caffeine and other ingredients which you may want to avoid.

As a disclaimer, check with your doctor before bringing these teas into your daily routine as as they may conflict with your chemo drug regimen.

If you would like to talk to other people with similar circumstances and share your favourite tea blends that help you, then head over to our chemotherapy support group on Facebook.