We all know that herbs are great medicines. And a wonderful way to unlock the medicinal qualities of herbs is through teas.
When making an herbal tea, many people want to know how much in herbs to add to the water. The traditional way that you'll find in most recipes is to use one teaspoon of dried herbs or two tablespoons of fresh herbs to one cup of water. But Rosemary Gladstar in her book Herbal Healing for Women believes that you should use your "sense of taste and your knowledge of the herbs as a guide about how much to use."
Before you can make hot tea, you need to know what herbs you can include. Common varieties used in teas include:
- Chamomile: Chamomile is very popular for teas (even commercial teas) because it is highly versatile. It is extremely easy to grow and its white flowers are used for teas. Chamomile can be used to ease menstrual cramps, all digestive issues (cramps, nausea, diarrhea), fever, congestion, headaches, insomnia, and general stress.
- Anise: Anise has a similar taste to licorice, and is an easy herb to grow. As a tea, it can be used for digestive issues and coughs/congestion.
- Lemongrass: This is another versatile herb when used for teas. It is also easy to grow in your own garden and has become popular in the news since it may help decrease cholesterol levels. It can also help with coughing, bladder problems, digestive issues, headaches and fever, and it also promotes perspiration.
- Mint: Mint is an extremely easy to grow and extremely hardy plant. (It may actually take over your garden if you're not careful with it!) It is a great herb to make into a tea for digestive problems. Many herbalists recommend drinking a cup of mint tea every evening. It also tastes great and is very gentle to the body. It can be added to some herbal teas to make the flavor more palatable.
Feel free to grow your own fresh herbs or use quality dried varieties.
Fore more information about how to use herbs in teas, precautions for herbs or for recipes, check out Gardens Ablaze, Mountain Rose Herbs or read Herbal Teas: 101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health&Vitality by Kathleen Brown and Jeanine Pollak, and 20,000 Secrets of Tea: The Most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature's Healing Herbs by Victoria Zak.
As you continue to learn more, you will discover how versatile herbs are and how easy it is to make a tea using several different methods. If you are using your tea for its medicinal qualities, remember to always cover it while it seeps. Here are some tips for making these beverages at home:
- Pour boiling water over herbs placed in a nonmetal container with lid and allowed to seep for a set amount of time. The amount of time is dependent on the herbs you are using; some will become bitter if allowed to seep for too long, while others require a longer time to get the medicinal qualities out of them. Taste your tea to determine the length of the time to seep. Strain the herbs before drinking. If it tastes harsh, or you simply don't like the flavor, feel free to add a squeeze of lemon, lime, a sprig of mint or a touch of honey.
- You could also place the herbs in a pan of cold water and slowly bring the water to boiling. As soon as the water boils, take it off the heat, strain and drink.
- If you want to make a stronger brew, take the tea off the heat after the herbs have had a chance to infuse into the water and let sit overnight. Strain and drink.
- These brews can ferment after a few days, even if they're stored in a refrigerator. If your tea has bubbles in it or an odd taste, throw it away.
Once you know how to make tea, you can show off your skills to your friends. You may also want to try experimenting with more types of medicinal and healthy tea.