Making medicinal teas at home can be very rewarding because of the great benefits that come from them. It can also be quite easy. You can turn this into fun hobby, especially if grow some of the herbs to use in the teas yourself.
Using plants, flowers, roots, barks, and plant seeds for healing has been going on since the beginning of man. Even many modern medicines have their basis in the chemical compounds of plants. Creating teas from these organic materials is the best way to get the full medicinal benefits from the plants and the advantage of making your own teas is from the freshness you get with a just-brewed cup of tea. Believe it or not, there is a medicinal tea for almost any ailment you can think of.
How to Brew a Medicinal Tea
A medicinal tea is made from the stems, leaves, or bark of the herb. Brewing these herbs provides the “patient” with the true taste of the herb. The taste is critical to the curative effect of the tea. The bitterness tends to trigger the production of saliva by the taste buds and then the creation of gastric juices by the stomach. These juices aid in digestion, which allows the body to absorb all the great antioxidants that provide the therapeutic benefits being released into the system.
One method of brewing a tea is called infusion. When brewing a tea, be sure not to break up the leaves. This can cause the tea to be very bitter tasting. Put the herbs in a ceramic or glass container that has already been warmed and then pour boiling water directly over the herbs. This should steep for 10 or 15 minutes to allow the therapeutic compounds to release into the water. Strain the tea with cheesecloth. You might be tempted to use a metal teal ball like you do for regular tea, but avoid the temptation. The holes are too small to saturate the leaves properly.
If you are using barks or roots, the process for making the tea is called decoction. Wrap the ingredients in cheesecloth and tie it. Put this bundle into boiling water for 10 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let this steep for another 15 minutes.
Commonly Used Herbs for Medicinal Teas
Here are just some of the dozens of herbs that can be used in your own medicinal teas and what their benefits are.
· Blackberry – Blackberry tea has beneficial effects for diarrhea and can be used as a gargle for throat inflammations or even put on a compress to help heal rashes and minor wounds. These teas are very tasty and are great for soothing gastrointestinal issues.
· Peppermint – Peppermint tea is known to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), soothe headaches, and counteract the effects of motion sickness. It has the added benefit of freshening your breath.
· Catnip – This is not just for Fluffy anymore! Catnip tea is a member of the mint family and like peppermint, can help relieve stomach issues, menstrual cramps, and headaches. It can be very effective for cold and flu relief, even in children.
· Lemon balm – A tea made from lemon balm has very calming effects. It can alleviate nervous digestive disorders like IBS, help you sleep, and calm headaches from tension. Lemon-balm tea can help improve concentration and lessen depression.
Medicinal Tea Recipes
Most medicinal teas have a variety of different herbs in them besides just the main herb you want to use for a particular malady.
To make a cup of catnip tea for colds and the flu, use:
· 1 teaspoon of catnip
· ½ teaspoon yarrow
· ½ teaspoon angelica
· 2 cups of boiling water
If you want a catnip tea for indigestion:
· 1 teaspoon catnip
· ½ teaspoon fennel
· ½ teaspoon lemon balm
· 2 cups of boiling water
For a medicinal tea for intestinal cramps, combine:
· ¾ ounce peppermint leaves
· ½ ounce camellia leaves
· ¼ ounce gingerroot
Use one teaspoon of this mixture for every cup of boiling water.
Chamomile is a very popular tea with a lot of benefits, one of which is clearing up skin problems. To make this type of tea, mix:
· 1 ounce chamomile
· 1 ounce dandelion
· 2/3 ounce fennel
Use one teaspoon for each cup of hot water.