Years ago before there were pills to pop when one started feeling ill, the sufferer turned to herbal tea to relieve their symptoms.
These were home-made infusions rich in vitamins, minerals and other compounds. They were often harvested from the herb garden and used fresh or dried for later use.
Tea can be made from the aromatic leaves, flowers or roots steeped in boiling water. It’s the most ancient and most commonly consumed beverage after water.
Many herbs are available year round, depending where one lives. In milder climates, certain herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage and mint are available fresh through the winter. However dried herbs can always be used if fresh herbs aren't available.
Herbal combinations work synergistically to help heal. You can make up your own combinations based on an herb’s healing effects or start by making an herbal tea with one ingredient, what’s known as a ‘simple.’
Herbal teas are made from an infusion – basically pouring boiling water over leaves or flowers and steeping the tea. An infusion is slightly different from making black tea as the tea is steeped for a longer period of time.
To do this, start with 2 tsp. of the herb dried (use double if it’s fresh) and place in a tea ball or strainer. Pour over it one cup of boiling water and allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes.
Herbal teas take longer to steep than black teas, so you may want to cover the cup to keep it warm or simple put in a tea pot.
Peppermint is often a great herb to start with as it is so readily available. It soothes the stomach and can help lower a fever by helping a person to sweat and release toxins naturally. Peppermint is anti-viral and user friendly.
Another tea to try is ginger root, which is good for nausea, chills and aching muscles. Elderberry is good for the immune system and can be added to a tea or made into a syrup. These herbs can be combined with other herbs like chamomile, thyme or peppermint.Then add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. Experiment until you find the flavor and healing combinations you desire.
If seeds or roots are used, these should be ground or pulverized just before using and then made into a decoction. This is when one tablespoon of the crushed root or seeds are simmered in two cups of boiling water until it is reduced to one cup. To learn how herbs can be used in medicinal teas and how to make tea blends, join the Herbal Club and get access to more than two years worth of back issues.