Hydrangea serrata is a species of flowering plants that can grow to a height of four feet and is a deciduous shrub that has oval leaves and panicles of flowers that are coloured blue and pink and appear in summer and fall. The plant is native to Korea and Japan and is also known as mountain hydrangea and tea of heaven.
The leaves contain phyllodulcin, which is a natural sweetener and as a result has been a popular regional herbal tea. In Japan it is known as “ama-cha” which means “sweet tea.” Amacha tea has traditionally been used in Japan as part of the annual celebration of Buddha’s birth and the plant has been widely cultivated throughout the world for use as an attractive ornamental shrub. It is from the root of the shrub that hydrangea tea is produced.
Health benefits associated with hydrangea tea include its most popular use as keeping the urinary tract healthy. As a diuretic is promotes the production of urine, which flushes toxins from the system preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) and reducing excess water retention, bloating and associated conditions. It is known to be effective in preventing conditions such as bladder infections and kidney stones, again by the diuretic benefits resulting in the production of urine that effectively cleanses the system. It is also used to fight the symptoms of prostatitis as the tea again is responsible for increasing urine production which aids in ridding the system of various toxins and bacteria that can lead to a number of infections and viruses that can grow and cause many other ailments if not removed from the body.
Hydrangea tea has been beneficial as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and assists in fighting other autoimmune conditions. As the tea contains high concentrations of vitamins and minerals as well as essential nutrients like magnesium and potassium is has been effective in relieving many of the symptoms associated with these disorders and a disclaimer states it does not ‘cure’ these diseases but merely provides relief by lessening the symptoms of autoimmune disorders.
Native Americans have used hydrangea tea for centuries to fight off various illnesses and conditions but used it mostly for promoting kidney health. As hydrangea also contains calcium, phosphorus and zinc it has been useful in boosting overall health.
Also, hydrangea tea contains a substance identified as halofuginone, which helps halt the over production of Th17 cells which is believed to be part of the problem with poor immune system response. The halofuginones work inside the body to stop the Th17 cells without affecting the rest of the immune system as typically happens with the use of other medicines and treatments.
To prepare hydrangea tea use one teabag per cup of hot water. Pour the hot water over the tea bag in a mug and allow steeping for between four and six minutes. As hydrangea is a natural sweetener, it may not be necessary to add honey or sugar to this tea. Adding milk will enhance the flavour.