Thursday, August 16, 2007

How to Make Herb Teas

In my August 14 post, there's a list of cooling herbs to help beat the heat.

If you are not familiar with making herbal teas, I strongly suggest that you do a little research on individual herbs before using them. This is important, especially if you are prone to plant allergies, or are pregnant or nursing. If you are taking medication, or are suffering from any medical condition, consult a medical health professional before using any herbs.

Make certain that your herb IS what you think it is, especially if you are gathering it from the wild. Poisonous lookalikes can be deadly! Herbs can also be purchased from a health food store, mail order catalog or from the internet.

These folks have great prices, fast service and free shipping:

Herbalcom, 1520 Ranier Ave.
Napa, CA 94558

When taking new herbs for the first time, be alert for allergic reactions, side effects, and even interactions between the herb and medicines and even with food. If you feel nausea, dizziness or headache, stop taking the herb. If you develop any allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, within a half hour of taking a new herb, food or drug, call 911 immediately. Fortunately, reactions are extremely rare.

Basic Rules for Making Herbal Teas

Most herb teas made from leaves and flowers are usually steeped in hot water, not boiled. Boiling is for extracting the goodness from roots and bark, but it would be destructive to the more delicate leaves and flowers.

A standard strength tea can be made with one ounce herb to one pint water, or one teaspoon dried herb (or 1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh herb) to each cup of water. Boil water, remove from heat source. Stir in the herb. Cover and let brew for about 3 to 5 minutes for flowers and leaves. Up to ten minutes for roots, bark and hard seeds. Strain, sweeten if desired. Herb tea can be enjoyed cold or hot. Refrigerate. Use within 2 or 3 days.

A stronger, medicinal tea is steeped longer, for twenty minutes. Dosages vary with the herb and treatment, and should be researched before use.

Standard adult dose for herb teas:

1 cup three times a day for normal conditions
1 cup up to six times a day, or every two hours, for acute conditions
1 cup twice a day as a long-term tonic

Children's dose: Reduce proportionally. Give a seven year old child about half the adult dose. At six months, use one teaspoon of the standard strength tea. For breast feeding infants, give the tea to the mother.

This copyrighted material may be reprinted by you for noncommercial use, if the following credit is given:

This article and recipe is an excerpt from Mrs. Tightwad's Handbook #2: HOW TO MAKE HOME REMEDIES THAT REALLY WORK. For more information, see the left sidebar on this site:

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