Herbal Tea

DescriptionHerbal tea is made by steeping flowers, leaves, seeds, roots, stems or petals of plants and flowers to extract the health benefits offered by the plant. The health benefits of an herbal tea can be derived from a single plant, or a combination of various plants. For example, you may drink a simple cup of chamomile tea to help you fall asleep at night. Or you may want to combine 5-6 herbs to make an herbal chai tea that addresses and prevents colds and flu, promotes healthy digestion and relieves inflammation.   

Uses:  You can easily improve your health by regularly enjoying a delicious cup of herbal tea, specifically formulated by you for whatever your body needs. Most herbal teas offer some variety of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients derived directly from the plants used to make the tea.  

Herbal tea can be consumed for a wide variety of benefits, including relaxation, pain reduction, a boost to the immune system, improvement to digestion, sleep and cognitive functions. 

Ingredients/DosageAll that is required to make an herbal tea is water (the cleanest you can find) and herbs (fresh or dried). Water dissolves the substances contained in the plant. An herb is good to use if it looks, smells and tastes vibrant. You should know the properties of the herbs that you are using in order to understand how this tea will affect your health. Start with a small dosage to make sure this herb has the desired affect and that you are not allergic or otherwise intolerant of the herbal action delivered through the consumption of the tea. Dosage is measured by the amount of plant material, not the amount of water used.  An herbal tea can be made in as little time as five minutes (when using aromatic flowers), or as long as overnight (if using seeds or bark, or if trying to get a stronger tea).   

Tea Preparations: 

Simple/Quick – Infuse small amounts of herbs in hot water. Steep for 5 minutes, covered. Strain and enjoy while warm. You adjust the mount of herbs/water/time to taste. More herbs, less water, more time will give you a stronger tea.  Single herbs that work well for this method include chamomile, sage, rosemary, lemon balm, thyme, peppermint, and tulsi 

Infusion – Infuse 30 grams of herbs in hot water. Steep for 4-8 hours (or overnight), covered. Then strain and enjoy. You should drink this within 36 hours. It can be reheated, by bringing it just up to the desired temperature. Do not bring to a boil. The longer steeping time will make this a much stronger tea. This is the preferred preparation for nutrient rich teas like stinging nettle, mullein, red clover, plantain, hawthorne, or oats.   

Decoction – A decoction is used for roots, barks, and seeds. This involves simmering the herb for 20-60 minutes, or soaking the herb in cold water for 30 minutes before simmering. After straining, the herbal tea should be consumed within 48 hours. This preparation method would be used for dandelion root, astragalus, ginger, burdock, willow, or crampbark. 

Cold Infusion – A cold infusion is used with fresh, aromatic plants. It provides a refreshing beverage during the summer months, or is used with mucilaginous herbs (such as marshmallow root). Chop up a handful of fresh herbs, infuse in 32 ounces of cold water, and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Strain and drink within 24 hours. Try this with chamomile, sage, rosemary, lemon balm, fennel, peppermint, tulsi or lavendar.