Healing with Herbs, PART 6
BREWING HERB TEA INFUSIONS AND TISANES
The most common way to turn healthful herbs into medicines is by brewing them. Medicinal teas barely resemble mild flavored packaged herb beverages. True medicinal herb teas are much more potent drinks than the prepackaged ones and most are quite unpleasant tasting.
Fresh herb teas are , generally, made by steeping about 1 ounce of leaves, stems and roots in 1 pint of water. Usually dried herbs are preferred to be used for medicinal purposes because of the higher concentration of oils in the plant material.
As a general practice, when you wish to substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs in a recipe, be sure to decrease the quantity of each herb by half. Similarly, is you choose to substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs, double the quantities called for unless the recipe directs otherwise. Fresh herbs contain much more water content than dried herbs and so they are proportionately less potent.
Commercially prepared herb tea bags contain only about one-seventh (1/7) the amount of herbs per pint of water.
When it is brewed for 15 minutes to several hours, the tea is called an infusion. Infusions are usually made in fairly large quantities, then kept in a bottle for use over a day’s time. One pint- if you drink 1/2 cup three times daily – should be enough for one day.
Herb tisanes are prepared one up at a time for immediate use. Tisanes are steeped briefly- for no longer than it takes to make a cup of tea- so they require more of the herb in order to make a strong enough concentrate quickly.
Cathleen V. Carr, JD, PhD is the editor of The Best Natural Health Directory and Natural Medicine Ink.