Herbal teas are a tremendous way to get in your daily herbs. Aside from all of their health benefits, they are easy to make and just simply getting into the routine of drinking tea is good for the soul. Making an herbal tea is far from complicated and can greatly impact our health - so long as we make them correctly! So, today, I am here to share with you 4 basic tips on herbal tea making...
1. Use Enough Herb
In my eyes, this is one of the biggest reasons for someone having no faith in herbal medicine - because we grow up thinking that one tea bag is enough, when really we want to be using the herb in much higher amounts than offered by the average tea bag.
Tea to Water Ratios
For light, fluffy and easily broken down plant parts (aka flowers, leaves, aerial parts and very aromatic herbs) we want to use 1 tablespoon of the herb per 8 oz of water.
For hard, dense plant parts that are tough to break down (aka roots, barks, seeds) we want to use 1.5 teaspoon of the herb to 8 oz of water.
2. Steep It For Enough Time
This is probably one of the other biggest reasons we tend to give up on herbal teas. Steep time is crucial for the medicinal properties of the plants to be released into the water. These teas can be steeped anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, to even longer if you desire. As we separated the plants above, I will do so again here...
For light, fluffy and easily broken down plant parts (aka flowers, leaves, aerial parts and very aromatic herbs) we want to pour the almost boiling water on top of these herbs into a pot (or a french press or jar). We will then cover the tea and let it steep for at least 30 minutes. Then it is ready to be strained and consumed. This is called an herbal infusion.
For hard, dense plant parts that are tough to break down (aka roots, barks, seeds) we want to put the plant parts and water in a pot and bring it to a boil - at this point turn it down to a simmer and allow it to gently continue simmering for at least 30 minutes (can be longer) then turn the heat off and continue to let it steep for another hour or two. It is important to keep the cover on the entire time - you may have to pay attention so it doesn't boil over. This is called an herbal decoction.
3. Use Good Quality Herbs
I cannot stress this part enough - using good quality herbs is huge!! For me, using organic herbs is a go-to move, if I cannot get organic I use wild. Apart from the way the herbs are grown and processed, the way they are stored are important as well - in glass containers and away from light is a good rule of thumb for the apothecary you purchase from and your in-home one as well.
Here are some of my favorite places to get herbs from
4. Know The Herb
Knowing the herbs you are using is a very important part of making a fantastic herbal tea. There are small things that we may not realize about a plant before using it that can completely change the nutrients of our teas.
For example, we don't want to make a milk thistle seed tea, because milk thistle seed is not water soluble - it is best to fresh ground those babies and consume them!
Another example is the aromatic factor - let's take ginger, a root that we would only want to simmer for 10 minutes or even just use in an infusion because of its strong aromatic which come from volatile oils that can be easily ruined in high temperatures or evaporated in the steam, which is why we always steep with a cover!
Good Resources to learn your herbs:
-Rosalee De La Foret
-Michael and Lesley Tierra
I hope this helped clear up some confusion about the process of herbal tea making and why it is so important to understand how it is done in order to reap all the benefits of these wonderful plants.
Love and Light,