Tea Time

Fall

Tea Time 

There is nothing more simple and fulfilling than sitting down and drinking a cup of tea.  In this fast paced world we live in today, tea time is often overlooked.  Taking time to brew and drink a cup of tea awakens the innate ability for self healing.  Preparing tea can be as simple as pouring hot water over roses, or as complex as a multiple herb formula.

 

Tea Preparation 

General Measurements
1 TBSP herb (leaves, flowers) to 1 cup of water
1 TSP herb (root. bark, seeds) to 1 cup water 
Heat water to 208 degrees Fahrenheit, pour over herbs and let let steep for 5 minutes or longer.  Strain, and add honey for sweetness.  
 
Infusion/Tisane:  An infusion or also known as a tisane (lovely french word) is an herbal tea that has been steeped.   Infusions are generally used for more delicate plants parts like the leaves + flowers.  Steeping times may vary according to plant part and strength desired.   To make an infusion, pour hot water over herbs, cover, and let sit for 5 min for a lighter tea to overnight for a stronger, medicinal brew.
Decoction: A decoction is a tea that has been simmered.  Decoctions are usually for denser plant parts such as roots and barks.  It is challenging to extract all of the constituents from these parts so a slow simmer in water for 20-45 min should do.  The longer you simmer the herbs the stronger the tea will be.  
Solar infusions/Sun tea:  Made with the warmth of the sun to infuse the herbs makes a lovely, light tea.  Generally made outside using a clear jar.  Pour room temperature water over the herbs (you may need to use a bit more herb than a standard infusion) and let steep in the sun for 3-4 hours and strain.  Aromatic and sweet herbs make great sun teas!
Lunar Infusion:  Lunar infusions are made when the moon is bright and full.  Pour room temperature water over the herbs and let steep under the moonlight in a clear glass jar and enjoy in the morning light.  If you wish to have a more potent lunar tea, prepare first as a infusion or decoction, then set out in the moonlight.  
Living Tea:  Take a jar of water to the plant.  Bend the plant over into the water and infuse for 3-4 hours.  Adjust the plant back to its original position, shaking out the excess water. 

To combine an infusion and decoction, first decoct the herbs, turn off the heat, then add leaves + flowers.  Infuse, strain, enjoy.  

 

Making your own Herbal Tea Blends

When making an herbal tea keep in mind what you want the formula to do.  Consider what flavors you enjoy, the color and texture.  Get to know you herbs and their actions and nurture your intuition. 
When building teas for illness, consider the phase.  Is it acute or chronic? Is it specific or general? Do you want to eliminate or build? Here is a simple guide to help you formulate a tea for you.  
Specific (60%): Herbs specific to the situation.  One that have the main action you are looking for.  
Activator (10%): Helps direct the action of the specific herbs.  Often is called a stimulant.  Examples: ginger, peppermint.
Demulcent (20%): Soothing a lubricating the mucus membranes.  Anti inflammatory, nutritive, building.  Examples: Comfrey, Marshmellow, slippery elm, licorice.  
Nutritive (10%): Feeds and nourishes the nervous system.  Calming, cooling, uplifting.  Examples: chamomile, oat straw, hops, lemon balm, lavender.  

For a medicinal tea to be effective, it should be administered in small amounts, several times day.  Herbs are gentle, and they need to kept in the body consistently to work.  Many are used to Western medicine,  oftentimes just popping a pill and then don't have to think about it for another 8+ hours.  Herbs do not work like this, and that is why some don't believe that herbs are effective.

Resources:
Dandelion Herbal Center: The Simple Art of Tea Preparation by Jane Bothwell 
NW School for Botanical Studies: Herbal Tea Formulation by Christa Sinadinos
Tea Forte: Tea Notes
Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar


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