Brew your own medicinal teas
Drinking your own brewed medicinal teas is one of the simplest and most ancient ways of using natural herbal remedies.
Medicinal tea infusions are prepared by steeping fresh and dried flowers or the leaves of herbs in hot water. These herbal teas are drunk without milk, although a little honey may be added to sweeten them. The most effective infusions are made from the soft new growth on top of herbaceous plants such as chamomile flowers and peppermint leaves.
Decoction is another method of brewing your own medicinal tea. It is a type of infusion that is made by simmering bark, roots and seeds in boiling water. This method of extraction is necessary to soften the woody parts of the plant to release valuable nutrients. The roots of such plants as ginger and ginseng, the bark of cinnamon and seeds such as fennel are all suitable for decoctions.
Herbal teas help to nourish to mind and body. An excellent spring tonic can be made from nettles, an invigorating tea from rosemary, while chamomile and elderflower are soothing and sedative.
Ideal herbs for medicinal teas are:
Nettle makes a wonderful spring tonic and is detoxifying and restorative. It reduces waste retention and relieves cystitis and aids in lowering blood sugar.
Ginseng is a valuable tonic and improves vitality. It strengthens the immune system and balances hormones. Ginseng relieves, fatigue, lethargy and depression.
Peppermint is an excellent digestive tonic, relieving heartburn and diarrhoea. It eases nausea and headaches and combats feverish colds and chills.
Clove relieves anxiety and nervous tension. It wards off respiratory infections and has an expectorant action for coughs. Clove has antihistamine properties useful for hay fever and rhinitis.
Cinnamon’s warming action helps aching or tired muscles. Stimulates a sluggish digestion and is effective against fevers and colds.
Feverfew promotes menstruation and tones the uterus after childbirth. It eases arthritis and rheumatism and is excellent for migraines.
Brewing your own medicinal teas is not difficult. All that is need is a teapot, fresh or dried herbs and a little honey.
1. Choose a porcelain, enamel or glass teapot with a well fitting lid. Warm it with hot water then empty it.
2. To the teapot add 70 grams of finely chopped fresh herbs or 25g dried herbs.
3. Pour over 500ml of hot, not boiling, water and cover with the lid and leave to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Strain some of the tea into a teacup and store the remainder in an airtight jug.
5. Add a little honey if desired, then relax and sip slowly.
Try this nightcap blend of sedative herbs that will promote relaxation and sleep.
Add 10g each of dried chamomile, lemon balm and linden flowers to a warmed teapot. Infuse in 300ml of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.
The beneficial effects of these soothing herbs are cumulative, so make this tea as part of your bedtime routine every night.
To make a cold busting decoction to keep respiratory infections at bay:
Break 2 to 3 long cinnamon sticks into pieces. Peel and slice 4cm ginger root. Simmer the spices in 50ml of water for 15 to 20 minutes then strain and ass a tablespoon of honey or a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
Drink 2 to 3 cups a day during a cold to strengthen and warm the body. The honey has the added benefit of being antiviral.
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