Coffee is one of the top two world’s most traded commodity. It is the first thing people look out for in the morning. People use coffee as an energy drink, an antidepressant, and a sleep restrainer. Coffee has so many benefits that we have overdosed ourselves with coffee and have become big lovers of coffee. There are many advantages of drinking coffee but as with everything else, the excess is bad for our bodies. The main ingredient that gives its zest, the pick-me-up boost is caffeine. Though coffee is a natural product, coming from beans that grow on trees and can be considered as a herbal product, the main ingredient caffeine has an addictive nature and has an adverse effects on our bodies, if taken in high doses over a long period of time.
People experience anxiety when the effect of coffee fades away and it can cause energy drop in the body, cause a bad mood and disturb the sleep cycle. Whether coffee is good or bad for us, how much and how often should we take it is debatable but meanwhile we have a rather healthy alternative to coffee known as herbal coffee.
Herbal coffee is a widely well-received and is a caffeine-free alternative to coffee. Herbal coffee is a mixture of dried herbs that is also brewed in hot water like coffee to create a drink that tastes similar to coffee but is caffeine-free, unlike coffee which is made out of roasted coffee beans. Herbs in the form of a coffee mean an enhanced aroma and taste. Different herbs have different medicinal effects and consumption of herbal coffee has numerous health benefits.
In fact, there are two forms of herbal coffee, one which is purely made from various herbs and does not have any addition of coffee. The other is the one in which coffee coming from coffee beans is mixed with a variety of herbs in various quantities and concentrations.
A little history According to many anecdotes, coffee originated from Ethiopia by a shepherd who observed his sheep getting energetic after eating specific herbs and seeds we today commonly drink as coffee. It was mainly used in Middle Eastern countries in the 15th century which then started to spread to other parts of the world. Various roasting techniques of coffee beans were introduced which produce a wide variety of coffee flavors which are enjoyed by people around the world.
Herbal coffee has a different history. People have been consuming tea, coffee and other herbal brews in different forms throughout the world for eons both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
One such example can be found in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing practice. Ayurveda is based on the belief that mind and body are one unit and is illness is associated with an imbalance of three energies; emotional, spiritual and mental health collectively known as “doshas”. According to Ayurveda tradition, people should not take any herb for more than three months in a row and there is no exception for the strongest herbs, coffee. People of Ayurveda have been brewing herbal brews for centuries to maintain the balance of these energies in human bodies. These herbal beverages are now popular in the west as well because of their exceptional health and fitness benefits. Their aromatic and spicy freshness gives the energy boost we all need without enslaving ourselves to caffeine.
There are different stories about the first use of herbal coffee. One such story can be found from the war years and it is said that the first herbal coffee in Europe was introduced in 1895 to combat the coffee shortage during the war. There are numerous tales of people accidentally putting a spice or herb in boiling water and resulting in an herbal hot beverage. Accounts of using herbs in coffee to optimize the aroma and to lessen caffeine intake are also recorded. People experimenting and mixing spices with coffee and they slowly kept increasing the number of herbs and reducing the amount of coffee also can be how herbal coffee became a popular drink.
Ingredients and variations Herbal coffees are a result of extracting the essence of herbs in water through decoctions, infusions, steeping or maceration. There are numerous different herbs people use to brew different kinds of herbal coffees. Some of the herbs used in the brewing of herbal coffee are chicory roots, dandelion roots, carrot, okra seeds, almonds, beetroot, corn asparagus, malted barley, and acorn. All of these herbs are caffeine-free. For true aficionados of coffee there is nothing that can replace the rich aroma of coffee, however, these caffeine-free beverages offer a delicious and healthy alternative for your body. People use spices like cardamom, saffron, cloves, cinnamon etc. as base ingredients, among them cardamom, chicory, and cinnamon being the most widely used ingredients of herbal coffees.
Cardamom Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), a member of the Zingiberaceae (Ginger) family, is an expectorant, thus helps with cough, opening the respiratory passages and reducing excess mucus production in the respiratory tract. Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight with only saffron and vanilla being more expensive. The good thing is that you need a very small amount of these precious herbs to achieve that aroma and taste in coffee. Cardamom is an essential spice used in sub-continental regions to add flavor and aroma to sweet dishes and teas. It has now gained popularity as the main herbal coffee ingredient because of its unique smell and taste. The herb was grown in Indian regions initially but is now cultivated in other regions too.
Cinnamon Another common ingredient is Cinnamon. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) is a member of the Lauraceae (Laurel) family. Cinnamon has helped people who are always feeling cold no matter what, by improving blood circulation and helping with dry dampness. Cinnamon thus stimulates circulation, dispels cold, and relieves exhaustion. Cinnamon has antiseptic properties and is very effective as a digestive tonic. Cinnamon is extremely rich in antioxidants and even beats super foods like ginger and oregano in this area. It also reduces sugar levels and is extremely good for diabetic patients.
Chicory Chicory coffee is made from the roots of the chicory plant. These roots are roasted, then ground finely and finally brewed just like coffee. The brew that comes out is similar to coffee but has a slightly nutty and woody flavor. It is free from caffeine, if used in its pure form, but often it is mixed with pure coffee in various concentrations to give it a more coffee-like taste. Chicory root is a good source of inulin, which is a type of prebiotic fiber that has many health benefits. It contains manganese and vitamin B6 which are very good for the health of the brain. It is known to improve the health of the gut and helps in reducing the weight.
Benefits of Herbal Coffee Herbal coffee is a powerful hot beverage that creates a balance in our bodies in this era of unhealthy eating habits. Herbal coffee stabilizes our digestive track by balancing the pH and boosting our lymphatic system. The knowledge of Ayurveda combined with the scientific knowledge of herbs and their effects on human bodies can revolutionize the coffee culture. The recent popularity of these Ayurvedic based coffee is an indication that people are trying to make healthier dietary options. Replacing your regular coffee with herbal coffee can surprise you with the good results in treatment for various disorders such as anxiety, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, stress, eczema, certain allergies, and even some mental health issues. Herbal coffee helps dry dampness in the body and warms people that are always cold and suffering from poor circulation.
Here are some great benefits of herbal coffee brews:
- They Are Free of Caffeine
Herbal coffee made from 100 percent organic Ayurvedic herbs does not have any caffeine and it does not make promises of surges of energy and boost of mood. They do their work slowly and effectively. Herbal coffee is not addictive and you can make it a part of lifestyle or occasionally drink it, but chances are once you get used to herbal coffee, there is no way back to normal coffee because of the health benefits you will start noticing in your body.
- They Assist in Weight Loss and Removing Toxins
With obesity becoming a global issue because of junk food and a lazy lifestyle, we desperately need healthy lifestyle options to protect our bodies. People have been using herbs as medicine since the Stone Age. They help in removing waste material and toxins from our bodies faster. Replacing your regular coffee with herbal coffee can kick out the toxins from your blood which improves immunity and prevents sickness. Free radicals which quite dangerous to your body are also mopped up quickly making the blood clean. This also leads to faster burning of body fat making the body slim and lithe.
- Reduces Colon Inflammation
Herbal coffee is very rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Intake of herbal coffee removes the poisons and wastes from the body, thereby reducing inflammation. One of the most important discoveries about using herbal coffee is that it can also act as a preventive measure and defense mechanism against various forms of cancer. This property alone can be a lifesaver for many.
- They Have Anti-glycemic properties
The ingredients in herbal coffee trigger the release of essential hormones into our system which stimulates the brain in regulating the release of insulin into the bloodstream. This causes our blood sugar to be maintained at a healthy level and this is very good for diabetic patients.
- They help stay youthful
With all the goodness of herbs, herbal coffee fights against all modern-day diseases. It helps with diabetes, cholesterol, heart diseases, obesity and getting rid of toxins. If taken regularly, herbal coffee can help people stay fit, have a youthful look and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Herbal coffee is a healthy alternative to pure coffee. Not only it tastes refreshing and smells great but has countless health benefits we all need. The origin of herbal coffee is not a mystery anymore, as it was the Ayurveda that formed the basis of this beverage and has finally hit the market with a bang. It is now big business as more and more people are discovering the benefits of herbal coffee and adopting it as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Changing the habit of drinking from regular coffee to herbal coffee, for a hardcore coffee drinker may be rather difficult. So here’s one way to do it. Every morning brew your normal coffee but just a little herbal coffee to it. See if it works. Every week increase the proportion of herbal coffee to your brew and soon you will be enjoying pure herbal coffee with not a trace of caffeine. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No. People have done it and so can you. If you have not tried herbal coffee yet, take a chance next time you are out for grocery shopping. Buy some, who knows you might become a fan of his healthy drink and thus improve your lifestyle forever.