Herbal Tea – Step by Step

The final taste of tea is influenced not only by the quality of the ingredients used and the way they are processed but also by the process of preparation.

Herbal teas, sometimes referred to as “tisanes” (in French), have been used for their medicinal or therapeutic properties for thousands of years. Herbal teas do not contain any leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is used to produce black, green, and white tea. Instead, tisanes stele various plant materials (most commonly dried herbs, flowers, fruits, and spices) in boiling water. Tisanes can be served hot or cold and are often used as a caffeine-free alternative to traditional tea or coffee.

In previous articles, we discussed herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, ginger, rooibos, herbal blends for digestive support (chamomile, lemon balm, fennel), and herbs beneficial during menstruation.

In this article, we will focus on the proper preparation of herbal teas and the steps that precede them. Proper preparation greatly influences the benefits of these infusions for our bodies; on the contrary, improper preparation can harm our bodies.

Step 1 – Ingredient Selection

Most herbs, plant roots, spices, and fruits you want to use in your herbal beverages can be easily found in health food stores, supermarkets, or online. You can choose between dried ingredients or fresh ones.

Dried ingredients are readily available as individual components or pre-mixed herbal and fruit blends specifically prepared to address specific health concerns or stimulate and support the body.

You may find fresh ingredients at your local market during outdoor fruit and vegetable market season. Many herbs, such as rosemary, mint, sage, and thyme, can also be grown in your garden, balcony, or windowsill. For plant roots such as ginger, turmeric, marshmallow root, dandelion root, burdock root, or licorice root, it is preferable to use fresh ones if possible. After all, fresh is fresh.

If you decide to gather herbs and other ingredients outdoors, be cautious. Avoid collecting from roadside areas where plants may be exposed to exhaust fumes, where your safety could be at risk, or where chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been used. If you are collecting roots, make sure you are not causing damage to other plants nearby. Never use flowers from florists for herbal beverages, as they are usually heavily sprayed with insecticides.

Step 2 – Storage and Drying

If you use freshly gathered ingredients, rinse them immediately under cold running water and gently pat them dry with a paper towel. Spread the plants or herbs on a baking sheet or place them in a basket and let them dry, covered with a lightweight cotton cloth or a clean kitchen towel in a warm, dry place. Drying can take several days, depending on the humidity. You can also dry them in the oven at a very low temperature or in a food dehydrator. Avoid using the microwave, as it can cause burns, and rapid heating may damage some of the aromatic oils in the plants.

For storing herbs – whether harvested and dried at home or purchased dried from a store – keep them in an airtight container made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel, away from heat and other competing odors.

TIP: Herbs, such as mint, are best dried in the air indoors as it helps preserve their flavor and color. An ideal place for drying is a warm and dry location.

Step 3 – Preparation

It is best to use fresh fruit. Although fresh plants can be used, they will not have the same strong flavor or aroma as dried ones. This is because drying concentrates the oils and other components more easily released when steeped in hot water. If using fresh herbs, use three times more than dried ones.

…Dried ingredients contain concentrated oils, and their beneficial compounds are released in hot water…

To prepare your herbal beverage from dried herbs, crumble the herbs into smaller pieces and measure 1 teaspoon of each herb per cup. Herbal beverages should be steeped with freshly boiled water and infused for approximately 5 minutes. Unlike “true” tea from the Camellia sinensis plant, herbal beverages do not require specific steeping times for each type. Since herbs are not oxidized or processed in any other way apart from drying, they do not require delicate handling.

To extract flavors and nutrients from roots and barks, they must be boiled in water, a process known as “decoction.” Bring the ingredients to a boil and simmer them for 5-10 minutes, then strain and let the beverage cool before drinking. Use only stainless steel or glass vessels for boiling herbs. Avoid using aluminum, iron, or copper cookware, as their chemical composition may affect the essence and integrity of the ingredients.

Finally, we provide you with a simple herbal guide that can help you address some of your concerns:


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