Making Herbal Tea
Ahhhh -- Herbal Tea.
"There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea." - Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Delicious, Calming, Soothing, Herbal Tea.
Not only will it soothe our souls but it can
reduce our stress,
relax our muscles,
reduce our cholesterol, give us more energy, boost our brain power, enhance our digestion, strengthen our ligaments and joints, decrease our blood pressure, improve our sleep, and on and on.
Making it is almost the
same as making any old tea. The difference, however, is
that there are some guidelines and choices we need to make.
It is intended to be calming and soothing, to help us medicinally and to
bring gladness to our soul.
It can be extremely helpful with short-term health problems, but it is very best
used consistently, day after day, helping and improving chronic problems and promoting
long term health.
I have learned that making my daily brew keeps me focused and gives
me balance. I really enjoy this.
Why Make Your Own?
Many people enjoy using loose tea, but
most people make tea using tea bags. There is some herbal teas available in tea bags - things such as
chamomile and peppermint are probably the most famous. There are also many herbal blends
available in tea bags. So why not just purchase them at the store?
The main problem is that the products may have been sitting on the shelves for a long
time, and before that they may have been sitting in the warehouse for a long time. If
you care about freshness and quality, this is important.
What Herbs Do We Use? When you make your own tea, especially if you use peppermint, for example, from your garden, you know
that the herb is fresh and you are able to extract the most constituents possible from
the herb to help you in your quest of good health or recuperation.
The next best thing to gathering it fresh is purchasing it from a reliable company you know you can trust. I have found a company called
Mountain Rose Herbs
who carries the highest quality herbs available. They grow many of their own and those they purchase are inspected and examined for high quality as well.
Their herbs are guaranteed organic and pesticide free. They are continually receiving recognition for their high standards. You can read about them on their site. When you purchase from this reputable dealer, you can feel confident that what you are putting into your body is of the highest quality, fresh and pesticide free and are sent from the latest picking.
The other night my daughter and granddaughter and I had eaten something questionable and all felt a little bloated. I pulled out my bag of pepperment from Mountain Rose Herbs and fixed a pot of pepperment tea.
Both my daughter and granddaughter were sooo in love with it. They couldn't stop saying how much they loved the delicious taste - and then, of course - we all felt so much better.
They wanted more the next day just for the taste.
And then they ordered their own bag.
When making teas or infusions from herbs we use the more fragile parts of the plant.
The leaves and the flowers - called ariel parts - are considered the fragile parts. A few things to
keep in mind when gathering our own fresh plants are:
- Flowers. Flowers should be picked right after they have opened. Do this early so that the flower is in it's prime. Do not take diseased or bruised flowers.
- Leaves. Leaves should also be collected in their prime on a clear, dry day. They are best gathered in the morning after the dew has gone but before the sun is hot in the
sky. This is when they have the most volatile oils. Again, don't gather diseased or bruised leaves.
Remember: Do not pick flowers or leaves that have been sprayed with chemical pesticides.
Water. When you add boiling water to the herbs the water becomes a solvent or menstruum. Water
is good for you, nontoxic and user friendly. It extracts easily rendered vitamins, mucilage,
and volatile oils. It does, however, contain no preservatives, so plan on drinking your
herbal tea within 36 hours.
You will need:
- a tea pot
- a tea ball of some sort or your own sealable tea bags that you can put loose tea
- your herbs
Boil the water.
Place 1 -2 t. dried herb into teaball. Sit teaball in cup and pour water over the top.
If using fresh herb put 2 T. directly into the cup, pour water over the top, and
strain out the herb before drinking.
Cover your cup with a lid or a saucer so that the volitile oils don't evaporate
and allow it to steep 10-20 minutes so that the constitutents can be extracted.
Steeping time will vary with the herbs used. If the herb has a lot of tannins
they will be extracted quickly and sitting longer makes them bitter. You may know
this from letting your favorite black tea sit too long. With an herbal tea, we know
that "bitters" are good for your digestion.
Sweeten with honey or a tiny bit of stevia. Add lemon or cinnamon or cream or anything
you wish. Now find a relaxing place and sip and enjoy!
An infusion is a much stronger version of herbal tea and a
decoction is herbal tea made from the roots and bark of herbs. For optimal health, enjoy a cup of something tonight and every night from now on.
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For learning more about the different herbs to help with stress and energy
visit Loose Leaf Tea Spy.