It’s that time again, where the air turns crisp, and then very crisp and damp if you live in the Northwest! What a wonderful inspiration to find nourishment through our green friends, in the form of a warm cup of tea.
The art of tea preparation can be a simple pleasure to engage the senses and the mind in a ritual of nurturance. When using the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, such as white, green, or fermented (black) tea, a short steep is required ranging from seconds to several minutes. Proper water temperature is another factor to consider. I will dive into the specifics of this another time. When using an herb to make tea, a short steep of 15 minutes in a covered vessel, will allow only some of the constituents in the plant material to be released into the water. A short steep works best with volatile oil rich plants such as peppermint or chamomile. This is the most gentle form of herbal medicine. Other options for preparing herbs in a water extraction include infusions (long steep) and decoctions (gently simmered). These are great preparation methods to allow more constituents to be extracted into the water menstruum.
Herbs can be a dense source of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and infusions and decoctions are perfect choices if you want these goodies in your tea. To make an infusion, place one ounce of herb in a quart jar, boil water, pour over the herb, and then cover the jar and let sit on the counter overnight. Strain in the morning and store in the refrigerator for up to two days, drinking a cup at a time, preferably warmed. To make a decoction, take an ounce of herb, place in a glass or stainless steel pot, pour one quart of water over the top, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain and enjoy! This tea can also be stored for up to two days in the refrigerator.
Some of my favorite mineral rich daily tonic herbs include Stinging Nettle, Oatstraw Green Tops, Red Raspberry Leaves, Red Clover, Dandelion Root, Burdock Root, and Licorice Root. Leaves, flowers, stems and seeds can be infused, whereas roots and barks can be decocted, generally speaking.
As always, please check with your practitioner or with me to consider any possible contraindications before beginning a new supplement or herb protocol. For more information regarding the best herb choice or formula for you, contact me via email and set up an appointment for a consultation.