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Herbal Teas - How to make Tisanes

The extract of medicinal plants or herbs in boiling water is called Tea, or more precisely tisane (a French word for ‘Herbal Infusion’). Tisanes are usually made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds, roots, fruit or herbs steeped in boiling water – no actual tea leaves are included. Seeds and roots can be boiled for 10 to 15 minutes to extract the therapeutically active substances from the herbs.

As a guide, crush, grind or reduce the herb to smaller pieces or powder, add a teaspoonful of herbs per cup of water used, the quantities and brewing times can be adjusted to suit your tastes. Leave the herbal tea too steep for 10 to 15-minutes then strain using a strainer or fine clean muslin cloth, sweeten using honey, sugar, lemon juice or spices if required, and serve. Tisanes can be served hot or cold.

Normally herbal teas prepared with fresh herbs require three times the quantity of herbs as compared to herbal tea made with dried herbs.

Never use an aluminium pot to prepare an herbal tea. Aluminium is a reactive metal that can react with the herb and, depending on the herb type; it may produce a toxic beverage. Always use stainless steel or glass vessels.

Tisanes are categorized by the part of the plant used. To get started here are examples of the main types of tisanes:

Leaf tisanes: uses lemon balm or mint or lemongrass leaves
Flower tisanes: uses lavender or hibiscus or rose or chamomile flowers
Fruit/Berry tisanes: uses blueberry or peach or apple or raspberry fruit/berries
Seed tisanes: uses caraway or cardamom or fennel seeds
Bark tisanes: uses cinnamon or black cherry bark or slippery elm bark
Root tisanes: uses chicory or Echinacea or ginger roots

Herbal Teas should not be confused with true teas e.g., Black, Green, White, Yellow and Oolong, which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), as well as decaffeinated tea.

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