What is Ivan tea good for? Ivan tea: composition and benefits

What is Ivan tea good for? Ivan tea: composition and benefits

Ivan tea (fireweed tea, willowherb tea, ivan chai, iwan tee, иван чай) is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Onagraceae family, which is widely distributed in many regions of the Northern Hemisphere. According to one version, the name "Ivan" was given to the flower for its ability to strengthen men's health and vitality. In phytotherapy, infusion and decoction of Ivan tea are used internally and externally as anti-inflammatory, healing, antispasmodic, and soothing agents.

Disclaimer: Ivan tea is not a medicine. Do not use Ivan tea to treat any disease or medical condition. Do not use fireweed tea as a substitute for medication prescribed by your doctor. If you have questions about whether you can drink Ivan tea and whether it can help your condition, first consult with your doctor.

The composition of Ivan tea

Studies of the chemical composition have shown that Ivan tea contains many biologically active substances in different parts of the plant. For instance, carbohydrates (starch, mucilage, sugars, pectin), alkaloids, tannins, phenolic acids (chamerionin, ferulic, gallic), flavonoids, and fatty oils are found in the rhizomes. Stems contain tannins, while the flowers are rich in vitamin C — six times more than lemons.

In phytotherapy, primarily the leaves of Ivan tea are used, which contain a large number of bioactive compounds: pectin, lycopene, lignin, chlorophyll, carotene, sugars, organic acids, coumarins, flavonoids, alkaloids, anthocyanins, tannins, triterpenoids, essential oils, phenolic acids, vitamins A, B group, C, and carotenoids.

In samples of the vegetative part of the plant, 16 free amino acids and 24 macro- and microelements were identified, including iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, molybdenum, boron, and other nutrients.

Benefits of Ivan tea

Thanks to its rich composition, Ivan tea possesses a wide spectrum of biological activity. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its binding, enveloping, and wound-healing effects, have been scientifically proven. Several studies have also shown Ivan tea's ability to reduce pain, boost immunity, and improve blood parameters.

1. Antioxidant activity of Ivan tea

The high antioxidant activity of Ivan tea is due to the biologically active compounds it contains. It has been found that water and water-alcohol extracts of the plant contain flavonoids such as quercetin and myricetin. Researchers are also highly interested in Enotin B - a polyphenol, which is one of the main biologically active components of Ivan tea. Studies have shown that Enotin B exhibits high antioxidant activity.

Ivan tea's ability to neutralize free radicals has been confirmed by numerous scientific experiments, during which scientists found that the degree of inhibition of cation-radicals DPPH and ABTS+ by Ivan tea extracts depends on the concentration of ethyl alcohol. A 1% ethanolic solution of quercetin was used as a standard for comparing antioxidant activity. The maximum effect was observed with 50% water-alcohol extracts of Ivan tea.

2. Anti-inflammatory action of Ivan tea

The tannins and mucilage present in Ivan tea exhibit anti-inflammatory activity, with finely ground plant leaves having more pronounced properties due to the combined action of tannins and mucilage. The combination of mucilage and gallotannins in Ivan tea contributes to reducing inflammation of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, prostate, bladder, kidneys, and other internal organs.

Research on animals has demonstrated that methanol extract of Ivan tea may exert anti-inflammatory effects without causing allergic reactions or side effects on internal organs.

3. Antimicrobial and antifungal activity of Ivan tea

In in vitro and in vivo experiments, it has been established that the biologically active components of Ivan tea possess antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Belarusian scientists investigated the antimicrobial and antifungal activity of decoction, water, and alcohol extracts of Ivan tea against five pathogens: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida fungi. The experiment demonstrated the antimicrobial activity of all tested plant extracts against the selected test cultures. Decoction of narrow-leaved Ivan tea inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, while water and alcohol extracts inhibited all bacterial strains. Regarding Candida fungi, all tested extracts exhibited antifungal activity, with the decoction of Ivan tea showing the greatest effect.

4. Improvement of digestion of Ivan tea

Due to the presence of pectin, tannins, polysaccharides, and vitamins in Ivan tea, it contributes to the improvement of digestive organ function and may exert binding, healing, enveloping, anti-inflammatory, and cholagogic effects.

In this regard, decoctions and extracts of the plant can be recommended as an adjunctive treatment in the comprehensive therapy of various gastrointestinal pathologies: gastritis, peptic ulcer disease of the stomach and duodenum, motor disorders and inflammatory lesions of the small and large intestine, cholecystitis, cholangitis, and gallstone disease.

5. Calming effect of Ivan tea

Due to the presence of B-group vitamins and magnesium in the plant composition, Ivan tea has a positive effect on the nervous system, possesses mild sedative properties, and contributes to the reduction of psycho-emotional tension and stress. In mood swings and emotional imbalance, Ivan tea infusion can help calm down and increase performance.

Moreover, due to the absence of caffeine, Ivan tea does not have a stimulating effect on the nervous system, so it can be taken in the evening. A weak decoction of Ivan tea before bedtime can help relax and fall asleep faster.

In what conditions can Ivan tea be useful

As an adjunctive treatment, Ivan tea can be beneficial for:

  • Pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and gallbladder;
  • Disorders of the genitourinary system in both men and women;
  • Viral infections and immunodeficiency states;
  • Disorders of the endocrine system;
  • Psycho-emotional disturbances;
  • Metabolic disorders.

Healthy individuals can consume Ivan tea as a general strengthening and tonic beverage. It can have a positive effect and strengthen the body during physical, mental, and emotional stress, during periods of high viral activity, and after recovering from infections.

Warning: Ivan tea is not a medicine; do not use it instead of medicines and do not refuse to take medications prescribed by your doctor.

Side effects and contraindications of Ivan tea

Prolonged continuous use of Ivan tea may cause gastrointestinal disturbances. Due to its high content of ascorbic acid, Ivan tea infusion is not recommended to be consumed on an empty stomach.

Ivan tea is contraindicated in cases of individual intolerance to the plant components, in children under six years of age, in patients suffering from thrombophlebitis, thrombosis, and other circulatory system disorders. Pregnant and lactating women should consult a doctor before consuming Ivan tea.

If for some reason you doubt whether you can drink Ivan tea, consult your doctor first.

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