There's nothing that refocuses my mind like a cup of herbal tea. When I feel restless, thirsty or just plain in need of a break during the workday, or when I feel chilly or uncomfortable, I find that a hot beverage can work wonders. While I enjoy some caffeinated teas in the morning, usually I drink herbal concoctions (called teasanes, because they are not really "teas," which technically come from a tea plant). Teasanes combine herbs, spices, flowers, leaves, barks and roots in creative ways to create flavorful beverages, and some of them also have known health benefits. 


Since it can get boring drinking the same old peppermint or chamomile teas, I've rounded up some of my favorite herbal teas that are delicously unusual. (I drink all of these.)


All the teas here are all natural (that is, they are not made with any chemical/artificial ingredients or preservatives), and several are organic. 


Yogi Sweet Chili teaYogi Tea's Aztec Sweet Chili is a bit spicy and a bit sweet, just as the name indicates. Having a bit of spice can really wake you up if you need a bit of a jolt sans caffeine. 


I'm loving Zhenya's new collection of wellness teas, which address common health complaints (constipation, anxiety, feeling toxic) with natural ingredients. The "Renew Me" variety is one of the most delicious detox teas I have even enjoyed. The main liver-supporting ingredients are burdock and dandelion roots, but the addition of ginger, hibiscus, cinnamon and cranberries makes it a tea I look forward to drinking too. I regularly drink detox teas to support my liver and kidneys (which in turn keeps my skin clear and my immune system primed). 


Choice Lemon Lavendar Mint teaAll Choice teas are organic and fair trade certified. For those days when you're feeling stressed out, inhaling the aromas and drinking a warm beverage made with lavender can really help calm the nerves. The lavender in the Lemon Lavender Mint tea isn't at all overwhelming or too flowery, and mixes beautifully with the mint and lemon, both of which are also stomach-calmers (so if your anxiety goes to your stomach, this tea can help there too). 


Numi's Dry Desert Lime teasan has a very light, almost smokey lime flavor that's incredibly refreshing, and especially delicious halfway through the afternoon. It mixes really well with agave nectar, but not at all with milk. 


Pukka love teaPukka's teas come in all sorts of interesting flavor combinations: my favorite is the Love tea, made with rose and lavender to warm the heart and chamomile and elderflower to calm and relax. Pukka also makes the most tasty ginger tea, called three ginger, made with galangal and tumeric to balance the ginger and give it real flavor. All Pukka teas are made with organic, ethically sourced ingredients (and come in the prettiest boxes around). 


Samovar Tea Lounge out of San Francisco makes the best Earl Grey I've had outside of England, and the company's organic Ocean of Wisdom teasane, especially blended for the Dalai Lama, is just as delicious. (If you thought you couldn't have a delicious, non-caffeinated tea full of flavor, this would be a great one to try.) You can mix the rooibus, cinnamon, clove and black pepper tea with coconut milk creamer, almond milk or regular milk and honey and the flavor joins with them delciously (it's also great without anything added at all). 


Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Try a new herbal tea this fall
Teasanes can keep you warm and toasty, hydrated, and can have health benefits too. Here are my top picks.