Is herbal tea really that good for you?
Yes! Herbal tea is one of the best natural remedies available because of its ability to quickly absorb and influence the body. Whether you enjoy a cup of herbal tea on occasion or use it medicinally to treat a specific condition, herbal tea is a great way to nourish and support health.
What exactly is herbal tea?
Herbal tea (also referred to as an infusion or decoction) is simply steeping a plant in water to extract the medicinal properties from it.
What herbs are used to make tea?
Herbal tea is made with fresh or dried plants, usually with herbs and spices but other plants such as trees are also used. Depending on the plant, teas can be made from leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, stems, roots and bark.
Making Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is simply plants steeped in water. There are two methods of making herbal tea, an infusion or decoction.
What’s the difference between an infusion and a decoction?
An infusion is when water is poured over herbs and left to steep. It is used for delicate parts of a plant such as flowers and leaves.
A decoction is when water and herbs are boiled/simmered together. It is used for tougher parts of a plant such as roots, seeds and bark.
How to make a herbal tea infusion…
- Measure 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of water (or one tea bag per cup)
- Pour hot water over herbs
- Cover with lid or small plate (keeping medicinal properties from evaporating)
- Steep for 10-15 minutes
- Strain and enjoy
Special note: If using caffeinated tea such as black or green tea, be mindful that your tea will become more bitter tasting the longer it steeps. Black and green tea only need a few minutes to steep whereas other teas steep for 10-15 minutes.
How to make a herbal tea decoction…
- Measure 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of water
- Add both plants and water to a pot
- Bring to a boil, reducing heat to simmer
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes (keep covered to keep medicinal properties from evaporating)
- Remove from heat
- Strain and enjoy
How do I get medicinal properties from herbal tea?
Medicinal properties are in every cup of herbal tea. Stronger is not necessarily better. It is best to follow recommended dosing, especially when first getting to know herbs.
The medicinal strength of your tea depends on two basic things…
- What’s the plant to water ratio? The more herb you add, the stronger your tea will be.
- How long did it steep for? The longer you boil/simmer (decoction) or steep (infusion), the stronger your tea will be.
How do I use herbal tea as medicine?
The medicinal properties of plants offer a passive way of healing, providing essential nutrients for health and wellness. Read about my deep dive into herbalism.
Every herb has its own medicinal properties. When first learning about herbs, it’s easiest to first understand the energetic properties of a plant. Is it warming or cooling? Drying or moistening?
Why does this matter?
Think of a health condition, such as a head cold where there is sinus congestion, excess mucous and stagnation (everything is stuck). A herbal tea that is warming and drying will help balance the body using heat (which stimulates and gets things moving) and drying properties (which helps absorb excess moisture).
However, a dry sore throat would be better balanced with a herbal tea that has cooling, moistening properties.
Intuitively we already know this. Think of how we eat depending on the season; on a hot summer day, we crave light, cool foods just as we crave warm, hearty foods in the middle of a cold winter. Our bodies naturally strive for balance.
Tea bags or loose leaf tea?
Tea bags are the most common and easiest way to make a cup of tea. Simply add one tea bag to one cup of water, cover and steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove tea bag and enjoy.
Tea bags are pre measured (approximately 1 teaspoon). If you prefer a stronger tea, use two tea bags per cup.
Loose leaf tea is not contained in a tea bag. You can use a tea infuser, tea filter or simply pour through a strainer after its been steeped. Loose leaf tea is measured (1-2 teaspoons per cup), pour hot water over herbs, cover and steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove tea infuser, tea filter or strain loose leaf tea into a cup to enjoy.
This website contains affiliate links to certain products or services where an affiliate commission is earned at no added cost to you. We only share products or services we believe offer value. Visit our affiliate disclaimer for more information.
Supplies for making loose leaf tea…
There are many different ways of making loose leaf tea, it is ultimately your own personal preference.
- Tea Infuser
- Tea Filter
- French Press
- Tea Pot
- Pot (Tea Decoctions)
- Kettle (Tea Infusions)
You can find tea making supplies online or at specialty tea and gift shops.
An Easy Herbal Tea To Make – Peppermint Tea Recipe
Benefits of peppermint tea…
Peppermint (Mentha X piperita) is a great herb for the beginner herbalist. Part of the mint family, it’s easy to grow (whether grown in a container or garden) and readily available from your local grocery or health store. It’s cooling and moistening in nature, acts as a stimulant, anti-spasmodic, anti-emetic and anti-inflammatory. Peppermint is useful for hot/dry conditions, as a stomach remedy for flu and nausea as well as inflammatory conditions and muscle spasms.
- 1-2 teaspoons of dried peppermint (or a handful of freshly chopped leaves)
- Add one cup of hot water
- Cover and steep for 10-15 minutes
- Strain tea leaves and enjoy
Can I add flavour to my herbal tea?
I recommend first experiencing a plant on its own to get to know the taste and how it influences your body. However, it’s also nice to add a boost of flavour.
My favourite ways to add flavour is with other herbs and spices. Peppermint, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper are all great options. When using spices, especially something as strong as cayenne pepper, you only need a little dash. Cayenne is an amazing circulatory stimulant, hot and dry in its energetic properties. This can help balance a cooling herb like peppermint or enhance a warming tea like ginger.
Lemon juice and honey are also great options for adding flavour as well as adding extra nutrients to your tea.
How can I learn more about herbs?
- The best way to get to know your herbs is by experiencing them. If you’re enjoying a cup of peppermint tea, pay attention to the smell, taste and how your body reacts.
- Grow them. Get to know your plants by growing herbs in the garden.
- Spend time in nature. Pay attention to the wild medicine around you.
- Start small. Get to know a few herbs really well before introducing more.
Where do I buy herbal tea?
- Health Stores
You can find a variety of herbal teas and blends (both loose leaf and tea bags) at most health stores.
- Grocery Stores
Grocery stores often have a selection of herbal teas and blends (usually tea bags).
Explore the medicinal plants in your area. Please reference professional advice for proper plant identification or work with a local plant expert to learn the wild edibles in your area. Take caution to know the plants you harvest, taking care not to over harvest and never harvest a plant that is endangered. Be informed if the area has been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.
Starting a small herb garden is a great way to access and learn plant medicine. There are many, easy to grow plants that will do well growing in containers or in the garden. Peppermint, lemon balm, chamomile and calendula are just a few to get started. Read my gardening for beginners guide to get started or you can purchase a herb planter (already started for you) from your local greenhouse.
It’s time for tea!
Let’s stay connected, I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below, sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Pinterest.