This winter has brought record cold temperatures reaching all the way down to South Florida, so I’ve been drinking (and enjoying!) plenty of warming teas.
For today’s post, I’ve hand-picked my favorite teas that are both delicious and bone-healthy. They have many overall health benefits, too – some are excellent for cardiovascular health, for example.
And these teas can also be enjoyed cold, so they’re perfect to cool you down on a hot summer day.
Let’s get started!
Non-Herbal Teas: Fluoride Alert
The term “tea” can denote any plant matter steeped in water, although “infusion” is often used for herbal teas so as not to confuse them with drinks made from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.
The familiar green, oolong, and black teas are made from leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. This shrub-like plant readily absorbs fluoride from the soil, which then ends up in the leaves. When the tea leaves are steeped, fluoride is released into the hot water. The smaller the pieces of leaf, the more fluoride ends up in your tea.
Loose leaf tea has slightly less fluoride than tea in teabags. Decaffeinated green and black teas actually show higher fluoride content in general than regular caffeinated tea. Instant iced tea mixes also contain fluoride, probably due to the low-quality tea used in such mixes (the lower the tea quality, the higher the fluoride content).
Savers already know that fluoride is deleterious to bones. And that high levels of fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, a painful condition that causes bones to harden and become denser, but brittle and more prone to fracture. Joints, cartilage, and ligaments can also be impaired by fluoride ingestion.
Does that mean you should never drink these teas? Of course not. Green tea, for example, is one of the highest sources of bone-building polyphenols. Just make sure you drink them in moderation and preferably organic.
Bone-Building, Health-Enhancing Teas
Now let’s take a close look at the teas.
Made from the young buds of camellia senensis, white tea has the least fluoride of any type of tea from this plant. This is because the buds are very young, and the fluoride has not had time to get deposited in the leaves yet.
White tea contains significant levels of antioxidants, which are a powerful weapon in your fight against osteoporosis. Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage to bone, thus staving off the effects of aging and helping rejuvenate bone.
White tea is also associated with lower blood pressure and cancer prevention. Its cancer-fighting properties are antioxidant-related – white tea contains flavonoids called catechins, a class of antioxidants that inhibits the growth and development of cancer cells.
Additionally, white tea has anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects, once again due to its high antioxidant levels.
Ruby-red hibiscus is one of my favorite herbal teas. All parts of the plant can be used to make tea, but it’s the red flower infusion that most of us know best.
The flowers contain the bone-healthy benefits of this herb – antioxidants called flavonoids and anthocyanins abound in the flower petals, and these are crucial elements for building youthful bone. Flavonoids are very anti-inflammatory, and anthocyanins have been shown to facilitate communication between cells. Intercellular communication is vital for proper bone turnover.
Research has shown the powerful blood pressure-lowering effects of hibiscus. In a study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, researchers conclude that the consumption of two cups a day of hibiscus tea
“…had positive effects on BP in type II diabetic patients with mild hypertension. This study supports the results of similar studies in which antihypertensive effects have been shown for ST.” 1
Because of its ability to relax smooth muscle tissue, hibiscus also has a reputation as a digestive aid.
This “red tea” from South Africa is rich in antioxidants, but what makes this tea especially bone-healthy are the minerals it contains. In fact, rooibos tea has several Foundation Supplements:
It also contains iron, and because of its low tannin content, rooibos won’t inhibit iron absorption. Rooibos also has a particularly potent antioxidant called Chysoeriol. This antioxidant works against an enzyme that causes cardiovascular disease, and improves circulation.
Rooibos also helps keep skin looking young and clear, thanks to its phenylpyretic acid content.
Savers might recognize one of the flavonoids in rooibos: quercetin. This antioxidant reduces cortisol levels in the body, thus protecting your bones from the damaging effects of chronic stress. Quercetin also balances blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health, and its antihistamine properties improve respiratory health.
The daisy-like flowers of chamomile are a well-known sleep aid and promoter of relaxation and calm. There is a reason why chamomile has this reputation, and it ties in with why it’s good for your bones.
Chamomile contains apigenin, a flavonoid that effectively relieves stress and has a sedative effect. This same flavonoid keeps cortisol levels in check, too, protecting bones from the damaging effects of this stress hormone.
Chamomile also boasts another antioxidant flavonoid called luteolin, which has multiple healthful effects. Luteolin reduces fever and calms muscles spasms, and even reduces blood pressure.
Another benefit of chamomile is its immune-boosting properties, making it especially appropriate during cold and flu season.
Please note that if you are allergic to ragweed or daisies, or if you are taking blood-thinners of any sort (including aspirin), please check with your doctor before taking chamomile tea.
In moderation, green tea can be a part of a bone-healthy diet. If you want to avoid the fluoride altogether and just reap the healthful benefits, you can get a green tea extract that has had the fluoride removed.
It’s certainly worth adding green tea or its extract to your bone-building diet. A 2009 study found that 3 components in green tea – epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) – have an effect on osteoblasts. EGC in particular promoted bone growth by boosting a key enzyme, and by inhibiting osteoclasts (the cells that tear down bone).2
Green tea also promotes cardiovascular health, staves off dementia, and reduces the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.
I have often lamented dandelion’s reputation as a pesky weed. They are not only fragrant and beautiful flowers; they have much to offer with regards to bone health.
Herbalists suggest dandelion for detoxifying the liver, an important aspect of bone rejuvenation and maintenance. Tea made from the roots and leaves contains Foundation Supplements Vitamin C and D, magnesium, and zinc. Potassium is another important alkalizing mineral found in dandelion tea.
Dandelion tea reduces inflammation and offers bone-restoring antioxidants.
A word of caution: like chamomile, dandelion contains blood-thinning compounds called coumarins. If you are taking Warfarin or any anti-coagulant drugs, or if you have ragweed allergies, make sure you check with your doctor before drinking dandelion tea.
Milk thistle has a long history of use as a liver tonic. The powerful liver-cleansing effects of milk thistle are likely due to the presence of 3 flavonoids: silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. Together they are called sylmarin, which protects and repairs liver cells as well as reducing liver inflammation.
Sylmarin also keeps glutathione levels up (glutathione is the Master Antioxidant). All this is great news for your bones, which rely on a properly-functioning liver to remove bone-damaging toxins.
Recapture Optimal Liver Function
No matter how hard we try to avoid toxins, exposure to these acidifying substances is inevitable in our modern world. The best way to give your bones the alkaline and balanced environment they need, is to do a periodic cleanse.
Don’t let the term “cleanse” worry you – I am not talking about anything drastic. When I created the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse: The 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator, my goal was to produce an easy-to-do yet highly effective cleanse that does more than detoxify your body.
The result is a cleanse rich in nutrients that are especially healing for the liver (and kidneys too) and create an alkaline and “clean” body environment to help you build your bones faster.
If you haven’t yet, I really hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse, and enjoy a relaxing cup of tea!
Till next time,
1 Mozaffari-Khosravi, H, et al. “The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes.” Journal of Human Hypertension. August 2008. 23, 48-54; doi:10.1038/jhh.2008.100. Web. https://www.nature.com/jhh/journal/v23/n1/abs/jhh2008100a.html
2 Ko, Chun Hay, et al. “Effects of Tea Catechins, Epigallocatechin, Gallocatechin, and Gallocatechin Gallate, on Bone Metabolism.” J. Agric. Food Chem. August 2009, 57 (16), pp 7293-7297. DOI: 10.1021/jf901545u Web. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164340.php
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Great information. Can you recommend brands of green tea extract without fluoride?
Dear Ms. Vivian Goldschmidt… Here I am again reporting the wonderful results of my annual Dexa Scan. Two years ago I reported a huge reduction from my diagnosis of Osteoporosis 3rd degree on my hips to Osteopenia. I also had Osteopenia on my spine. Anyway… Last year my Osteopenia on my hips got decreased a bit and this year it got even better !!!! I still have it on my spine though… this one for some reason seems to be harder to decrease…, BUT I really wanted to say that the results have been better and better every year ! I hope by continuing with your diet I will get rid of my Osteopenia for good !
To me it is really important to share the news with all the SAVE OUR BONES COMMUNITY. I wanted to tell everybody that it has been working wonders for me, BUT I really follow it to the T. I only eat what gives me something for my health… if it does not I just forget about it. I do not have cravings per say and I really worry about the rejuvenation of my bones 100% of the time. I do not cheat EVER ! And the final result is a better Dexa Scan every year ! I also walk a lot and exercise everyday… take some sun whenever possible… it all adds up !
Thank You Very Much for all your emails, effort and most of all… for sharing your knowledge with all of us… Ms. Vivian Goldschmidt… I appreciate and read all your emails carefully… I hope you get in return all the happiness you have been giving us… I wish you all the success in the world ! God Bless You !
This was an interesting article that I found in my research on Cherries and gout. But why would one have a such a problem with a good diet?
A study published in 2003 in the Journal of Nutrition found that among 10 healthy women eating two servings of Bing cherries, uric acid fell by 15%. The authors concluded that the findings “support the reputed anti-gout efficacy of cherries.”
A Journal of Nutrition study from 2006 found that 18 healthy adults who ate 280 grams of Bing cherries each day for a month had a significant reduction in blood levels of substances associated with inflammation and immune cell activity. The authors concluded that the cherries’ “anti-inflammatory effects may be beneficial for the management and prevention of inflammatory diseases.”
A 2012 study in the medical journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that people who had recently eaten cherries or cherry extract reported fewer gout attacks.
I have oesteoperosis as well as hyperparathyroidism and my number count is high. I do not plan to carry on with my andrionic acid treatment and worry that the good diet I follow provides too much calcium so that it leaches into the blood system. Please could you help me?
I too have a high serum calcium. Drink more water. I drink 3 or 4 glasses before my blood test and it lowers my numbers.
Thanks for the info on the bone saving/building teas as from reading your one book Osteoporosis Reversal Program it sounded like drinking tea was not a good thing. Will start drinking the rooibos tea, chamomile and limited green tea. Would a cup a day of the three mentioned be alright? I had stopped drinking green tea after reading the book but glad can have some again. Also, you explain that deep breathing is good for your bones any recommendations how to do it and frequency.
I do appreciate all your timely tips, diet, exercises,etc.
You did not talk about the caffeine levels of those teas. I will not drink products with caffeine in them. When I got to my forties,caffeine started to bother me with jitters. Any clear suggestions? Ms Osgood
i have found rooibos tea in various grocery stores, however I have been drinking Greek Mountain Tea. I read that it promotes bone mineral density and the growth of osteoblasts. In addition, the magazine I read this in, said that it’s full of iron and antibacterial compounds. The magazine wasn’t selling it. I have been ordering it. I can’t find it locally. You can go to http://www.GreekShops.com or call 310-581-5059. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it to me. You’re supposed to have two or three cups daily.
Hi Vivian – Thank you for all of the vital bone health info you provide!
Nettles tea was recommended by my local natural food store as being an important bone-building tea having lots of minerals in it.
I have osteoporosis and am trying to rebuild my bones!
Thank you, Vivian, for this informative article on teas to help our bones. I have stopped drinking coffee two weeks ago, and then I debated what to have as a hot liquid that could give me energy, but wasn’t caffeinated, and I ended up opting for Rooibos tea. I do not regret it!
I love the taste, the slight energy hit it gives me, and it’s never bitter or harsh, even if I let it brew over 3 minutes. Now that I know it’s good for me (it has Quercetin!? Yes! that’s my favourite antioxidant!) I am even more satisfied. The less fluoride and caffeine I ingest, the better.
Thank you for the information on teas. What is your opinion on Essiac Tea? Is it beneficial to our bones?
I also heard horsetail is good for the bones. Any thoughts on that tea?
Thank you for this information Vivian. I have been drinking only herbal and roasted dandelion root tea. It’s nice to know there are other healthy options.
Excellent instructions concerning teas. When I come to visit Florida, may I visit you? I imagine you periodically do classes or public presentations. I am becoming interested in developing a line of products that serve as health inducers. Your Osteo Cleanse is of interest. Do you have other specially designed products? I live in Los Angeles, CA. My web page is http://www.southofla.org.
I just found out I have osteoporosis and am trying to learn how to rebuild and strengthen my bones.