Herbal Teas for the Beginner

Herbal Teas for the Beginner

Herbal Teas

Charak, one of the greatest masters of Ayurveda, claimed “There is no such plant on earth completely devoid of medicinal properties”.

Every plant, creeper, herb or shrub we see, marine or land, can be used to our benefit, when used in a controlled manner. Even grasses are a great sources of nutrition. The organic compounds found in these plants are quite similar to the ones we have in our bodies. So, we can substitute them in our diet for good health or for therapeutic requirements. Being chemicals, these have a certain effects on our constitution, either helpful or harmful.

Most of these compounds are very volatile in nature and start the decomposition process shortly after the plant is rooted out. If we detach a leaf, flower or bark, the compounds in the detached portion meet the same fate. The only solution to preserve most of the compounds is instant dehydration. Humans have found out by trial and error, the suitable method of extraction of these compounds.

One of these methods use boiling of the dried part for extraction. When we use this method of extraction for the compounds, the “tisane” is called herbal tea.

The origin of herbal tea can be traced back to herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, and phytotherapy. Phytotherapy can be regarded as “alternative medicine” by much of today’s western medicine.

Herbal teas are a decoction made from fresh, dried or fermented leaves, roots, flowers, fruits or seeds even crushed seeds, generally by boiling or pouring boiling water over the assortment of parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. The tisane is then strained, the decoction then sweetened as deemed fit for the occasions. Some even include fungal and bee products, minerals, shells and certain animal parts.

Herbal teas are popular because of their fragrances, antioxidant properties and therapeutic applications. One can find a specific combination for relief from common complaints as well as improvement in important body functions.

Two of my favourite formulas I can give here.

For warming up of body and mind in winter. Equal Parts of lemon grass ginger fresh leaves and flowers of black basil, green tea, a pinch of fresh stevia steeped for a few minutes

The decoction then decanted and added with few drops of honey. Caution – no frequent use please, maximum twice a week to 5 times a month is safe.

For relaxation and rejuvenation

1 part of dried calendula flower

1 part of dried jasmine flower

1 part of crushed grape seed

2 parts of organic green tea

2 parts of fresh lemongrass

2 parts of raw amla steeped for a few minutes.

The decoction then decanted and added with few drops of honey. Caution – no frequent use please, maximum twice a week to 5 times a month is safe.

Add honey to the decoction

Benefits:

Free radicals are unstable molecules produced in the body as by-products of pollution, stress and aging. To combat the harmful effects of free radicals we use antioxidants. Herbal teas and green teas are a great source of these antioxidants. Herbal teas assist in convalescence and improve metabolism and assist in weight loss. For healthy people, moderate use of suitable a one invigorates body organs and enhances system functioning. Some, with ginseng boost energy level of body and mind both; some have aphrodisiac properties.

A word of caution; inappropriate and indiscriminate use of powerful herbs can create adverse and painful symptoms for a long time, which a very very skilled and knowledgeable herbalist can remove.