My Herbs Blog
I have to agree with some of my favorite herbalists, Dr. John R. Christopher, Rosemary Gladstar and Victoria Zak as they all teach that one of the best ways to find healing from herbs is through an herbal tea.
Hippocrates said "Thy food shall be thy medicine." In Hippocrates time herbs were the only medicine. Throughout the ages, people in every culture have taken herbs for healing. (1)p.7
"Teas are herbal drinks, and because of that, they can do much more than quench your thirst or calm you after a long day. Teas are the ideal way to get the healing power of herbs into your everyday diet."
There are immunity-building teas to strengthen your own body's natural defenses, or to rebuild your strength after antibiotics, illness or surgery. There are stress reducers, nervous system soothers and antianxiety teas. You'll find natural antacids for indigestion, natural antihistamines to fight hay fever and allergies, and natural antidepressants. (1) p.7 There are even teas to enhance your vital energy, stimulate an all-over glow and bring love and joy to the hear and soul.
Herbal tea can be drunk, hot, cold, warm (although I do not prefer warm, but hot or cold). They can be brewed on the stove, simmered, steeped, set in the sun or even set out into the moon light. There is no one way to make an herbal tea and each method elicits a different constituent base, and energy for healing. Herbal teas that are steeped one time and light in color can be very pleasing, light and refreshing with honey. Teas that are simmered and steep for 12 hours are potent medicines.
The most amazing aspect of herbal teas is that so many can be made from the plants, flowers and herbs you grow in your garden. This can literally be your pharmacy. It is perfect, brilliant design by a loving Creator. If you want to get into the world of herbs and plants, you need to learn the art of making a wonderful cup or numerous cups of tea at once. I want to help you by sharing the tools I suggest and love to make my teas.
Let's get started:
1st- you need a tea kettle. Well actually you could go without a tea kettle and use a pot with a lid. I have both, and I probably use my small pot, with a lid more than my tea kettle that whistles. The tea kettle that whistles is great because you can hear when the water is ready. The pot with a lid, sort of has to be watched. I like this method because I often put my herbs in as the water gets hot, and then I cover with the lid, and just before a boil, I remove from the stove. This makes a stronger tea and is immediately ready to drink.
I use the tea kettle more if I am going to pour a cup of tea and use a teabag, which I do not do that often. If you follow me on YouTube or even read my posts, I often talk about how teabags are inferior quality teas. (For the most part). There are some yummy tasting teas, and I do like Traditional Medicinals, but for Healing- I do not use teas in boxes, bought at the grocery store.
1 Zak, Victoria. 20,000 Secrets of Tea: The most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature's Healing Herbs. Dell Publishing, 1999.
Let me make sure you understand what I have described so far. Your tea kettle and/ or pot with a lid are for the stove. They are used to heat up your water to make your herbal tea. The tool I want to describe next is pictured above, and there are MANY different beautiful types you can choose from. This is your teapot. The teapot is a decorative way to steep you herbal blends and serve at a pretty luncheon, or tea time with cups and saucers. The above teapot is beautiful in that you can see the tea and herbs through the clear glass. Many other types are pottery and do not show the tea steeping, but are just as functional.
The teapot is not meant to go on the stove at all. What I do is put my herbs in the bottom of my teapot. I boil my water on the stove in my tea kettle, and then pour the boiling water over my herbs and put the lid on my teapot. After steeping for 10 minutes you can serve to your friends and guests. However you will need the next tool if you plan on steeping your herbs in you teapot, because without it the herbs will be poured out into the tea cups and that is not desirable.
To master the art of making herbal teas, from loose leaf herbs, you most definitely need a strainer. In fact you will probably want a number of different types of strainers and different sizes. In the above picture, this strainer is perfect for setting right on top of your cup. Then you pour the tea from the teapot into the cup and the strainer catches all of the herbs. There are other hand held strainers that can be used, and I have many sizes. Large ones are used if you are making a large amount of tea, and want to pour into a gallon jug for storage in the refrigerator.
This brings me to the next item- which maybe should have been the first. The type of tea I am talking about is HERBAL loose leaf tea. This means you are making tea with the actual plants that have been dried. They are Red Raspberry leaves, Lavender petals, Calendula flowers, Nettle leaves, and Red Clover Blossoms to name a few. I am excited to say that soon I will be putting some of my own tea blends up on my website in a new store that is being created right now. You will be able to purchase the loose leaf blends from me. Or, you can go down to my footer on each of my pages and click on the Mountain Rose Herbs banner. This company has high quality, delicious herbs that you can buy to mix your own blends. They also have tea paraphernalia that I am describing in this post.
Next you will need a variety of tea cups, and saucer and mugs. I recommend using porcelain tea cups and true ceramic mugs for you tea. They are fun to collect, and even more fun to make if you can find a place for pottery classes. I find that just like fine wine tastes better in the proper glass, herbal tea tastes better in a mug or cup made from high quality materials. I think my favorite are the hand thrown larger mugs, that hold 2 cups worth of tea, because I drink a lot during the day. Pretty little teacups are fun for a little luncheon with treats and snacks. It just depends on my mood.
I am not going to get into the WAYS and skill for making tea in this post. This has just been about the tools. But if you want to see how to make herbal tea with dried or fresh herbs, head over to my YouTube Channel: Sheep Hill Herbs. I have 2 videos on that topic. How to Make a Really Good Cup of Tea with Dried Herbs 🌿 Herbal Infusions, Tisane - YouTube
Oh- how I am already missing the plants of spring, and look forward to the next time I see them bloom. When you can not enjoy a fresh plant, or fresh root, dried is the next best thing. What I have learned, and also experienced is that herbs are the best medicine in tea form. There is something spiritual, earthy and so natural about making a tea/ tisane/ decoction or infusion of plant matter.
Let me first define those for words for you: An Herbal Tea is plant material extracted into water, by sun, heat, or even lunar rays.
Tisane- This is actually another word for Infusion, and is employed when working with the delicate parts of a plant, like the flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, and roots that have volatile oils.
"Infusing extricates the easily rendered vitamins, minerals, tannins, mucilage, delicate volatile oils, and many of the plant's chemical constituents."
-Rosemary Gladstar (The Science and Art of Herbology)
A Decoction- Is a type of infusion, but is used for roots and barks. The plant matter that is harder, and stubborn and needs some more time in slightly boiling water to extract the important materials.
To make a really good, and strong Dandelion Root herbal tea, you will employ the decoction method. Dandelion roots, can be dug up and I do have video on this process you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E71XwW0i03k
Chances are you have not already dug up roots, or enough for an entire winter. I know I have not. I usually use my dandelion roots pretty quickly and have to rely on those I buy. Look for herbs that are strong in smell, color, and taste. It may be hard to taste before buying but if you are able to sample from a small farm, then I would recommend that. More than likely if you buy from a small farm your herbs will be good!
Dandelion roots smell so good! I love opening a bag and taking a deep breath. I think I crave dandelion in all forms, the leaf, the flowers, the roots. My body must need them!
I also learned from Rosemary Gladstar's teachings to never make just a cup of tea. (Unless you are using tea bags). I am going to do a link here for Traditional Medicinals Dandelion tea. This was Rosemary Gladstar's company in the beginning and truly I think the only box tea worth drinking. If you do not want to buy the roots, but want to enjoy dandelion root tea. Try Traditional Medicinals Organic Roasted Dandelion Root tea.
Anyway let us get back to the directions. You will need a large pot with a lid, 1 cup dandelion root (dried), and 1 gallon of water. That is it! Three ingredients. I like to make my dandelion tea strong. It is much tastier, and more effective herbally. Pour your water into the pot and put on the lid. Turn the heat on medium high for a few minutes. Add the dandelion roots and replace the lid. You will want to keep watch on the pot, as soon as the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium, or a simmer and put the lid back on. Simmer the roots for 25 minutes (with the lid on).
When the simmer is up, remove from heat and let stand another 10 minutes to "steep" further. At this point you can serve the tea hot with honey and milk, or let it cool further and put in a gallon jar in the refrigerator to drink cold. I personally like it both ways.
Lastly- I think it would be prudent for me to share the virtues of dandelion roots, as it is most fitting for this post. According to Dr. Nicole Apelian in her book The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies (which is a great starter book by the way) "Dandelion root is used to aid digestion and benefits the kidneys, gallbladder, and the liver. It stimulates bile production, helping with the digestion of fats and toxin removal. It removes toxins from the body and restores electrolyte balance, which improves liver health and function."
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