Herbal Infusions will Make Your Day
I offer a very wide selection of herbal teas to kick-start your day in Frann's Alt.Health Shop. There are more than 150 different remedies, both as loose herbs and in teabags. Herbal infusions have many different properties, from rejuvenation and detoxification to helping with depression and insomnia.
Herbs have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The use of herbal tea purely for refreshment (sometimes called a tisane) is a much more recent development. To find herb teas for refreshment, please go to the drinks page. You'll find herbs used in cooking on the ingredients page.
There are several ways of preparing herbal infusions, depending on what type of herb you are using.
Tisanes are almost always made from leaves, flowers or a mixture of the two for use as a beverage in a similar way to regular tea. The normal recommended amount is 1 teaspoon (or teabag) per cup either in a teapot or using a single-cup infuser direct in the cup. If making in a pot, warm it first by pouring in some boiling water, swirling it round and pouring it away, then add the herbs. Add boiling water, allow to brew for 5-10 minutes, strain off the leaves (or remove the infuser) and it is ready to drink.
A standard infusion is a remedy made in a similar way. Use 15g/½ ounce herb per cup (8 fl oz/225ml) (which is likely to be at least 2 teaspoons for heavier herbs and up to 7 or 8 for lighter ones!). Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours (the longer you steep it, the longer you can store the resulting remedy in the fridge). This allows the medicinal properties to be extracted into the water. Strain off and discard the herb before using the remedy or putting it away in the refrigerator.
Remedies from woodier parts of the plant, such as bark or roots are usually prepared as a decoction. You can also make decoctions of leaves, flowers or other parts. To make one, use 15 grams/0.5 ounce of herb to 500ml (2 US cups, 16 fl oz) of cold water. Put the herb and the water into an enamelled, glass or ceramic pan and bring to the boil.
For a decoction of green parts, boil for 3-4 minutes, then cover and allow to stand for a further 2-3 minutes. For harder (woody) parts, bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by half.
Strain the decoction and use in the same way as an infusion.
You can also make a cold extract from green parts. Add 25-50 grams of dried herb to 500ml (2 US cups, 16 fl oz) of cold water in a non-metallic container. Cover and leave to stand for 8-12 hours. Strain and use like an infusion.
Most remedies can be consumed at any temperature, and may be sweetened with honey if preferred. It is not generally recommended to add dairy products such as milk, however.
Many other types of remedy can be made from different herbs. For full information on these, read Home Remedies and How to Make Them by Frann Leach, available exclusively on Amazon.