Every once in a while I come across something new, and lettuce leaf tea is a good example. I’ve never heard of it before. I found a few resources that give information about the amazing health benefits of this leaf, and when it’s organic it’s even better. So join me in learning about this interesting tissane.
Lettuce was first grown by the ancient Egyptians, thousands of years ago. It was considered to be “sacred” due to its perceived healing benefits. Today, we can find lettuce in most every market around the world. Its use as a medicinal tea, however, has not yet become mainstream here in the U.S.
Health Benefits of Lettuce
There appear to be at least eight health qualities of the lettuce leaf that we should familiarize ourselves with.
- Neuroprotective features. There is animal based research to suggest that lettuce leaf extract can protect neurons in the brain from dying. It is believed that neuronal death causes memory loss which is the hallmark of a variety of forms of dementia.
- Reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the new issue that the alternative community is focusing on. The belief is that inflammation is the root cause of almost ALL diseases, both chronic and acute. In experimental models, lettuce leaf has been shown to impact inflammation.
- Aides in sleep. “One of the major traditional uses of lettuce in Unani medicine was as a sleep inducer. Research into the extracts of lettuce resulted in the isolation of a depressant chemical. This chemical, when administered in experimental animals, showed significant sedative effects. A 2013 research report, suggests that the main component(s) responsible for this effect in lettuce is most likely to be the non-polar agent(s),which are found in the n-butanol fraction (NBF)of this plant. Decreased heart rate and ventricular contractions were also observed. This particular chemical acts by blocking the excitatory signal processes of muscular and neural tissues.”
- Reduces anxiety. There is some animal research that suggests that lettuce leaf has anxiolytic properties. When we consider how much money is spent annually on anti-anxiety medications, it’s certainly reasonable to consider this natural remedy. Apart from possible allergic reactions, which are possible with any food, there are no apparent side effects.
- Cholesterol lowering. Although there is some controversy regarding high levels of LDL cholesterol and its impact on heart health and stroke, there is evidence that lettuce leaf can lower cholesterol.
- Reduces the risk of certain cancers.
- Rich source of antioxidants. “Studies have shown that lettuce possesses antioxidants with significant free radical-scavenging capabilities. Antioxidants are a wide range of biochemicals mostly found in our diet; they are also very necessary for human health. Antioxidants act as barriers to free radicals, which are produced during cellular metabolism. These free radicals attack healthy tissues, cells, and the DNA inside them. They can often cause healthy cells to mutate into cancer cells. The result is the development of various diseases. Antioxidants, on the other hand, counteract these free radicals and neutralize them before the free radical attacks take place.”
- Antimicrobial properties. I know that white tea has been shown to have an abundance of antimicrobial properties. It appears that lettuce leaf does as well.
Given all the evidence of potential health benefits, I think it’s reasonable to add this healthy plant into our wellness routine. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen lettuce leaf tea for sale, but fortunately, we have google to lead the way. Remember that with all plants and food products, organic is always best.