Added/Modified on October 19, 2013
Also Known As: tisane, ptisan, herbal infusion
Herbal teas aren’t made from leaves of the tea bush, so theoretically they shouldn’t be called teas.
Made from the leaves, flowers, roots, and stems of numerous herbs and plants, the proper name for these concoctions would be tisane, or herbal infusion.
There is a world of variety when it comes to herbal items that can be used in tea.
Some of the most well known herbal teas are Chamomile, Peppermint, Ginger, Jasmine, and Lemon Balm. The list is long. Besides using one herb per tea, there are many combinations.
For instance Chamomile and Peppermint are often combined. Some times herbal elements like Jasmine are combined with green or oolong teas.
What is Herbal Tea? An herbal tea is really a tisane or herbal infusion made from any plants leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, and stems—other than the leaves of the tea bush, Camellia sinensis.
Herbal Tea Preparation:
The amount of ingredient in proportion to water, steep times, and water heat will vary dependant on the herbal flower, leaf, stem, or root that you utilize to make the tea.
Sometimes the ingredients are fresh (like ginger), sometimes they are dried, some come in bulk and some in tea bags, and some ingredients like peppermint, you might simply pull from the flower bed.
Generally you pour boiling water over the plant part and let them steep. Some seeds and roots might be boiled on the stove.
Then the concoction is strained with cheesecloth or a small metal strainer. Some can be sweetened or milk added for taste. Some herbal teas work well as iced tea.
Benefits of Herbal Tea:
Dating back thousands of years, herbal teas are one of the oldest remedies used by mankind. Many medicinal uses have been passed down throughout the ages in cultural traditions and folklore.
Today there are many uses for herbal teas. They are prized for their sedative or stimulant effects, can be used to treat colds, sore throats, and flu, even as a treatment for cancer.
Ginkgo teas are utilized to treat poor memory; Echinacea can ward off illness and boost your immune system, while Chamomile is often used to relax.
There are herbal teas used specifically for pain, to help with the side effects of chemotherapy, insomnia, and menopause.
Side Effects of Herbal Tea:
Most herbal teas are safe for regular use. But there are some herbs that can have toxic or allergenic effects. Make sure to try a little at a time and test any allergy’s you may have to the plant.
There are some herbal teas that should only be used occasionally and in small amounts. Among these is Comfrey. Comfrey contains alkaloids that may cause permanent liver damage if used too often over a long period of time.
Lobelia is another herbal tea to be careful with as it contains toxins that have a similar effect to nicotine.
Check each tea for side-effects and drug reactions as some herbal teas may react with other herbs or prescriptions. Some teas should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, and children.
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