<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> RowanTree -- Preparation of Herbal Teas
 
  PREPARATION - Herbal Teas   
 

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INFUSIONS

Just to keep our terms clear, your afternoon cup of tea is an infusion. When an instruction calls for a tea or tisane, infusion or decoctions are what is meant. (Decoctions are discussed below)

Infusions are used to draw out the active constituents of the aerial parts of an herb. Generally, roots and rhizomes are not used in infusions. Because of the density of the material, decoctions are used to draw out their constituents.

The following instructions are general and if an herb requires different handling, it will be spelled out on the herb page.

Fresh herbs are usually stronger than dried but dried herbs are available at all times so these instructions assume that the herb is dried. In most cases, one teaspoon of dried herbs equals 2 teaspoons of fresh. This is because all water has been removed from the dried, thus making a denser product.

Boil the recommended quantity of water. For general purposes, assume 1 cup of bottled or distilled water and 1 teaspoon of dried herb for one dose.

Take off the boil and allow to sit for at least 30 seconds. The whole point of an infusion is to draw out and retain in the water the volatile elements of the herb. If the water is actually boiling, you will lose some of these elements. This is also the reason to keep the liquid covered while the herb soaks and after the tea is made.

Add the recommended quantity of herb to the water, stir once or twice, cover and allow to steep at least 15 minutes.

Strain the herb from the water and discard. This material can be put into your compost heap.

The tea can be drunk hot, warm or cold. If a particular temperature is best for a specific herb, this will be mentioned on the herb page.

Infusions should be made fresh daily. Store the unused portion in a closed container in the refrigerator. Discard any that is left after 24 hours.

HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL INFUSION

  1. Boil 1 cup of water. Allow to stand 30 seconds.
  2. Add 1 heaping teaspoonful of dried herb. Stir briefly and cover.
  3. Allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain out herbs and discard.
  5. Dosage: Depends on herb and application.

 

DECOCTIONS

The following instructions are general and if an herb requires different handling, it will be spelled out on the herb page.

Fresh herbs are usually stronger than dried but dried herbs are available at all times so these instructions assume that the herb is dried. In most cases, one teaspoon of dried herbs equals 2 teaspoons of fresh. This is because all water has been removed from the dried, thus making a denser product.

Some herbs, roots and barks will only give up their water-soluble volatile components when subjected to a more vigorous extraction process than infusion. These require a decoction. Infusions are made after the water is off the boil. Decoctions require that you simmer the herb, usually for a longer time, in order to achieve the desired extraction.

As a rule, extractions require 30 minutes of simmering time. A decoction is also a tea as it is water-based.

The herb is then pressed to remove as much water as possible and the exhausted herb is discarded - a perfect candidate for the compost heap. For large quantities of herbal material, I'd recommend a home wine press. For smaller quantities (perhaps 2 cups or less), I just place a strainer over the mouth of a large measuring cup, line it with several layers of cheesecloth and pour out the simmered ingredients. When liquid stops dripping from the bottom of the strainer, I twist the corners of the cheesecloth together and wring out the contents.

For some herbs and some applications, it is necessary or desirable to further reduce the liquid, thus increasing its strength. Another method is to pour the decoction liquid over a fresh batch of herbs and repeat the decoction process. Tinctures of the herb can also be used to fortify the tea.

NOTE: Stronger herbs = stronger response. This is not always a good thing! Please be sure that you know what you are doing. If you have any doubts, please consult your health-care provider before proceeeding.

If more delicate parts such as flowers or leaves are also to be used, do not add these until after all simmering is done and the liquid is beginning to cool.

The tea can be drunk hot, warm or cold. If a particular temperature is best for a specific herb, this will be mentioned on the herb page. Store any remaining decoction in a covered container in the refrigerator. Discard after 48 hours.

HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL DECOCTION

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  2. Turn down to a simmer.
  3. Add 1 heaping teaspoonful of dried herb.
  4. Stir briefly and cover.
  5. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain out herbs and discard.
  7. Dosage: Depends on herb and application.

COMING SOON -- TINCTURE-BASED TEAS

 
 
     
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