Brewing a cup of herbal tea is one of the most simple things you can do to tend to your health!
Herbal teas support your well-being in several ways. An excellent herbal tea also referred to as a “tisane,” uses a specific blend of herbs and spices to create an aromatic and flavorful tea that can nurture and support overall health.
Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing system (literally meaning The Science of Life), regards warm water as a powerful “Anupan,” a vehicle or carrier substance to bring herbs and their healing properties deep into the system. Sipping warm herbal tea regularly is considered one of the most impactful methods of using herbs for health!
Effective herbal tea blends are created with the wisdom of our ancestors and modern science to help achieve a specific effect in the body.
8 Positive herbal tea benefits:
- healthy sleep patterns
- natural immune support
- strengthening metabolism and digestion
- alleviating pain
- reducing anxiety
- balancing hormones
- lowering blood pressure
- addressing grief and loss
Most Americans would not dream of starting their day without a cup of coffee. But what if you began your morning routine with a warm, comforting cup of herbal tea instead? Imagine the positive health impacts this practice would bring over the course of several days or weeks!
Ending your night with a botanical blend is also very much recommended and will ensure a good night’s sleep. Nightly tea habits also support the body’s detoxification and repair our bodies naturally while we sleep.
Most herbs typically used in herbal teas are safe for anyone in the family. (Pregnancy requires special attention). Children can enjoy the benefits and flavors of herbs, too but in lesser quantities. An adult dose is in one 8-ounce cup, then a child’s portion would be 1/8 to 1/2 cup depending on the age and weight of the child. The vast majority of herbs commonly used are naturally caffeine-free, so you can feel good about taking your “herbal medicine” as tea without the potentially unwanted effects of caffeine.
Let’s talk about preparing herbal tea, shall we?
Many different parts of plants are used in tea making. Bark, roots, flowers, berries, and leaves are all used in herbal teas. There are various ways of preparing your tea depending on the aforementioned parts of the plant present in your blend.
*Making an herbal tea INFUSION*
We call it an infusion when we steep herbs in nearly boiling water to produce tea. I recommended an infusion when most of your tea blend comprises leaves or flowering parts of the herb (like chamomile, elderflower, and peppermint). Leaves and flowers give up their medicinal properties more easily than the tenacious parts of the plant, like roots and bark… but we will talk about preparing those later!
To make an infusion, bring 1 cup of water to boil or near-boiling, and add about 2 teaspoons of herbs. I prefer 3 teaspoons (1 Tablespoon) because I like a nice, robust flavor. You may adjust this according to your own taste.
After adding your herbs to the hot water, cover your infusion; this prevents the essential oils in the herbs from escaping into the air via steam and keeps the temperature warm too. You may steep your herbs for as little as 10 minutes, but at least 20 minutes is recommended in herbalism to ensure maximum benefits. Those flowers and leaves need a little patience on your part if you want a potent brew. Some herbs, like nettle or alfalfa, can be steeped for hours or overnight, especially if you are trying to draw out minerals and vitamins! Unlike green tea or black tea (Camellia Sinensis), herbal teas will not become bitter with a longer steeping time.
You may add your herbs directly to the boiled water and strain later or simply use a tea infuser ball or paper tea filter. Either way, be sure to press all the water out of your herbs when straining. Adding some honey to your herbal tea is a wonderful idea to sweeten up your beverage. Local honey has spectacular benefits to offer your body, mind, and soul!
*Making an herbal tea DECOCTION*
A decoction is made by simmering your herbs in water (rather than a mere steeping), and this is how we prepare teas comprised of roots, barks, and berries (like turmeric, ginger, and peppercorns). We begin by adding 1-3 teaspoons of herbs to 1 cup of water in a small or medium saucepan. Instructions: Bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer your herbs on low for at least 15 minutes. Again, decoctions are made by *simmering* rather than *steeping* because those tenacious roots and barks require more heat to release their medicinal value and flavor!
Once you have simmered your herbs, covered, for 15-20 minutes, you may remove them from heat and strain. For making herbal decoctions, I prefer to simmer my herbs directly in the water and then strain with a handled tea strainer placed over your cup. Simply pour the liquid over the strainer into your mug and press down to completely strain. You may then add your honey or preferred sweetener and enjoy your herbal decoction!
If you own a French Press, these are great for straining your decoction! You can make an infusion in a French Press by adding your herbs and water (all-in-one) to your press. Getting comfortable with tea making requires a little practice, so I suggest DIVING RIGHT IN to see how satisfying and easy it can be!
Making herbal teas, or tisanes, at home is a beautiful way to connect to the plants God gave us for medicine and enjoyment! The joy and benefits you receive from this practice will (hopefully!) keep you coming back for more! Teaching our children these methods can help ensure that this ancient practice continues for generations to come!
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Thank you for reading!