Top Teas for Your Health (2024)

January 17, 2023

Tea is one of the world’s oldest beverages and the most consumed drink in the world (after water of course), and there are some pretty good reasons for that..1

Not All Teas are Created Equal

Top Teas for Your Health (1)

The variety and different types of tea can seem confusing and overwhelming, but did you know that all tea comes from the same plant? Green tea, white tea, black tea and oolong tea are all considered true teas that are derived from the Camellia sinensis plant (also known as the tea plant).2 Each of these teas develops their own unique aromas and flavors through different harvesting and processing methods. One of the main methods that sets these four apart has to do with how much the leaves of the plant have been oxidized. Oxidizing is the process that involves leaving the tea leaves to dry and darken.

With all that said, this means that despite the name, herbal tea is not actually "tea". This is because it does not contain the leaves or leaf buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. Instead, these herbal blends are made using spices, flowers and leaves of a variety of other plants including fruits and herbs – which is how it gets its name.

If you’re wondering what’s the difference is between green and black tea (aside from the color), or what are the benefits you can get from different herbal teas, then this guide is for you.

Different Types of “True” Teas

1. Green Tea

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Green Tea is often considered one of the healthiest tea options. To produce green tea, leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant are steamed or pan fried and dried. The tea leaves aren't exposed to air and so they don't oxidize, and the green hue remains. That also means the tea has more antioxidant properties that can help to boost brain and heart health.3

A brewed green tea is typically green, yellow or light brown in color, and its flavor profile can be described as light, fresh, and maybe slightly grassy.

There is also caffeine in green tea. A standard 8-ounce cup of green tea has about 28 milligrams of caffeine which is only about one-fifth the amount of caffeine in coffee (96 milligrams).4 This makes it a perfect drink to enjoy if you need help getting through a midday energy dip or just a little pick-me-up.

Common Types of Green Tea:

  • Sencha: Usually savory, grassy, and slightly bitter and may carry a scent of melon or pine.
  • Matcha: This is made by grinding the tea leaves into a fine powder. Matcha has some of the highest antioxidant levels of all green tea varieties.

2. White Tea

White tea is made from buds and young leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This tea is minimally processed similarly to green tea with comparable benefits. White tea benefits include catechins in the tea that may help lower blood pressure, improve circulation and lower the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants in white tea have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels.5

White tea is a subtle, fruity and sweeter tasting tea compared to the others. Many often ask does white tea have caffeine? Well, it does – but it is lower in caffeine than most, with only 15 milligrams per 8-ounce cup.

Common Types of White Tea:

  • Silver Needle: Most delicate and fine white tea. The tea is made using only young leaves from the tea plant. It has a floral scent and sweet flavor.
  • White Peony: Has a mixture of buds and leaves. It has a similar but stronger taste profile than the Silver Needle tea.

3. Black Tea

Top Teas for Your Health (3)

Black tea is the most popular type of tea (at least in the U.S.) and comes in many varieties.3 It is fully oxidized which turns the leaves from green to a dark brownish-black color, resulting in a much stronger taste than green tea. Some possible health benefits of black tea include alertness and energy, antioxidants properties to help boost brain and heart health as well as possible anti-cancer effects.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in a new study, researchers found that people who consumed two or more cups of tea per day had a 9 to 13 percent lower risk of death from any cause than people who did not drink tea. Higher tea consumption was also associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and stroke.6

Out of all the teas, black tea comes with the highest caffeine content. An 8-ounce serving of black tea has about 47 milligrams of caffeine (about half the amount in coffee), so it may be best to incorporate it into your morning routine to get your day started.4

Common Types of Black Tea:

  • Earl Grey: Malty flavor with a hint of bergamot and/or citrus
  • English Breakfast: Strong and bold taste with slightly sweet note
  • Masala Chai tea: Blended with a variety of spices such as cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns

4. Oolong Tea

If you can’t decide between green and black tea, Oolong tea offers something in the middle. Oolong tea is somewhat oxidized – more than green tea's light oxidation but less than black tea's heavy oxidation.

An 8-ounce cup of brewed oolong tea contains 38 milligrams of caffeine. That's a bit more than a cup of green tea but less than both black tea and coffee.4

There seems to be less research about oolong tea than about green and black teas, but overall, the teas share similar health benefits.

Common Types of Oolong Tea:

  • Ti Kuan Yin: Available in roasted and non-roasted versions. The taste is mild and lightly sweet.
  • Da Hong Pao: There's a smokey flavor to this tea, due to its leaves being baked over wood ashes.

Herbal Teas

Top Teas for Your Health (4)

Herbal teas are made from caffeine-free ingredients, so they are a great option for someone who wants a cozy beverage before bed that won’t keep them up all night. As mentioned above, herbal tea can contain a blend of herbs, spices, fruits or other plants which makes the list of options very extensive. Some of the most common ones include:

1. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea comes from the edible flowers of the Matricaria chamomilla plant and is known for its calming effect before bedtime. More than just a relaxing drink before bed, research studies suggest several possible benefits of the tea include a lower risk of death from heart disease and immune system support.7

2. Ginger Tea

Reach for a cup of ginger tea if you’re feeling nausea or have aches and chills. While it won’t shorten the time of your sickness, ginger is believed to help counteract the nausea that occurs with many ailments. If you don’t have the prepacked tea bags at home, you can always make your own ginger tea. Simply grate a ginger root and let it steep in hot water for a couple of minutes and enjoy!

3. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is a refreshing herbal tea with some great potential health benefits. There is more research around the oils in peppermint leaves than the tea itself. The peppermint oil, which peppermint leaves contain has a relaxation effect on the gastrointestinal system and can help relieve an upset stomach or indigestion.8 Peppermint leaves (which is what makes up the tea) also contain an essential oil called, menthol. This oil acts as a decongestant and can help open your airways and alleviate clogged sinuses.9 This makes it a great tea option if you’re experiencing sinus pain and a stuffy nose.

If you have a health condition or you’re pregnant, consult with a physician to determine whether drinking herbal teas are safe for you.

MedExpress Pro Tip: If you want to sweeten your tea, honey maybe the healthiest choice. Not only is honey a natural sweetener but it contains a mix of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Combining tea with honey can even soothe a cough or sore throat. Be mindful of how much honey you're using to keep added sugars in check. The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit added sugars to between six to nine teaspoons a day.10

No matter the season, tea can be the perfect beverage option since it can be served hot or over ice. But, its benefits go far beyond being just another drink. Drinking tea every day can have a positive effect on your overall health. The healthiest tea is said to be one that you actually drink consistently. Find teas that you enjoy and don't be afraid to experiment with flavors and mix it up to find the best tea to help you achieve your specific health goals and tastes.


1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Tea. Accessed November 4, 2022.

2 NCCIH: Tea. Last updated November 1, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022.

3 The Nutrition Source: Tea. Last updated January 27, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022.

4 Mayo Clinic: Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, soda and More. Last updated April 26, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022.

5 National Library of Medicine: Catechin Intake. Last Accessed November 4, 2022.

6 National Cancer Institute: Health Benefits of Black Tea. Last updated August 29, 2022. Accessed November 4, 2022.

7 National Library of Medicine: Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Accessed November 4, 2022.

8 National Library of Medicine: A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea. Accessed November 4, 2022.

9 National Library of Medicine: The Wonderful Activities of the Genus Mentha. Accessed November 4, 2022

10 American Heart Association: Added Sugars. Last updated Nov 2, 2021. Accessed November 4, 2022.

Top Teas for Your Health (2024)


What are the top 5 healthiest teas? ›

10 Healthy Herbal Teas You Should Try
  1. Chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is most commonly known for its calming effects and is frequently used as a sleep aid. ...
  2. Peppermint tea. ...
  3. Ginger tea. ...
  4. Hibiscus tea. ...
  5. Echinacea tea. ...
  6. Rooibos tea. ...
  7. Sage tea. ...
  8. Lemon balm tea.

What tea has the most health benefits? ›

Green tea will get you “the most bang for your buck” when it comes to nutritional benefits, Crumble Smith said. It has better antioxidant properties than black tea because it contains more polyphenols. Green tea contains several types of catechins, a group of flavonoid compounds.

What type of tea should I drink daily? ›

Not only is it safe to drink tea every day, but doing so may result in some amazing health benefits. Two cups of green or black tea will provide you with the recommended amount of flavan-3-ols that a person should consume every day.

What is the unhealthiest tea? ›

Here are five unhealthy teas and their possible adverse effects.
  • Comfrey tea. Comfrey tea is an herbal tea made from the leaves of the comfrey plant (Symphytum officinale). ...
  • Detox teas. ...
  • Kava kava. ...
  • Black tea. ...
  • Licorice tea.
Feb 14, 2023

What tea is a Superfood? ›

Green tea is richest in epigallocatechin-3 gallate whereas black tea is richest in theaflavins; research has shown that both can exert health benefits. Herbal teas contain polyphenols as well but will vary highly depending on its plant origin.

What is the most healing tea? ›

1. Green tea. A favorite with tea drinkers everywhere, green tea has been praised for its medicinal properties for years. Some recent studies have now confirmed some of these benefits, suggesting that green tea may protect various aspects of our health.

Which tea is No 1? ›

Black Tea: The Most Consumed Tea Globally.

What tea is highest in antioxidants? ›

Both green and black tea contain high levels of antioxidants when brewed and can help prevent cell damage. However, the tea with the highest level of antioxidants is Hibiscus tea. When brewed, hibiscus tea has over 400% of the antioxidants found in green or black tea.

Which tea is best for inflammation? ›

These compounds possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help modulate inflammatory pathways and protect against cellular damage. Some popular types of tea known for their anti-inflammatory effects include green tea, white tea, turmeric tea, and ginger tea.

What tea is good for longevity? ›

Research has also linked drinking two or more cups of black tea daily with longevity-boosting benefits.

What tea should I drink every morning? ›

Morning: Black Tea

And the next time you're about to reach for that cup of coffee, give Black Tea a try. Why? It has a dark, rich flavor with energizing caffeine levels. The L-Theanine in tea helps to give you a mindful boost without the crash that will leave you in an afternoon lull.

What is the best tea in the world? ›

First Flush Darjeeling is considered one of the finest teas to be produced worldwide. It's the earliest harvest of the year, usually picked in April when the first spring rains spread across the Himalayan foothills, turning the gardens green in a flush of colour.

What is the healthiest tea in the world? ›

Green Tea. Green tea is often touted as the healthiest tea. It is chock full of polyphenols and antioxidants that help to boost brain and heart health. Green tea is considered one of the least processed true teas as it does not undergo oxidation.

What teas not to mix? ›

For example, you cannot mix black tea and green tea. While practically you can mix both the tea types, the flavour it generates will not be appreciated by your taste buds. So, you are advised not to mix black tea and green tea because both have intense flavours, and it will ruin your taste buds.

Which tea bags are bad? ›

Avoid tea bags made from polypropylene or other petroleum-based plastics, and instead opt for those made from plant-based materials or natural fibers such as cotton or silk.

What is the healthiest tea to drink first thing in the morning? ›

Sipping green tea comes with several health benefits thanks to its high dose of antioxidants . One of these benefits is a big boost to your metabolism. Studies have shown that green tea not only increases metabolic rate , but can also help burn fat .

What tea is healthier than green tea? ›

Matcha contains about three times more antioxidants than high quality regular green tea. As such, 2 cups (474 mL) of matcha may provide the same amounts of plant compounds as 20 cups (4.74 liters) of other green teas (3).

What is the healthiest tea to drink at night? ›

You don't want to have a lot of caffeine before you go to sleep, so if you're going to have tea before bed, you'll want something with very little to no caffeine. Caffeine-free herbal teas, like chamomile, valerian root, or peppermint, are excellent choices.

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