Water InfusionsHerbal Teas(Tisanes) Sun/Moon Tea Decoctions
Herbal Teas - This method is commonly referred to as a "standard brew". Making herbal tea is almost the same as making a cup of Camellia sinensis, the herb we refer to as just "tea", with some important differences. It is not usually necessary to strain most herbal infusions as the leaves will settle to the bottom in ten minutes time. In fact it is a good idea to just let the herbs steep, as this will extract more of the medicinal properties. You need not throw out the leftovers either, and may want to reuse them as a "starter" for another fresh batch. Herbs that have a lot of tannins, or are bitter will get even more so the longer they steep and can be strong and bitter to drink.
Herbal tea making is just as much of an art as it is a science. Color, taste, aroma all will signal you when the brew is "just right".
- Ratio : Pour two cups boiling water over one ounce dried herb, (1 to 2 tablespoons), or 1 cupped handful of the fresh herb.
- Brewing time : 10 to 20 minutes. Depends on the material. Generally, leaves and flowers will take less time than seeds, roots, or barks.
- Average Dose. The average dosage is usually 3 to 4 cups in a day. Bitter medicines need only be taken in small doses, usually 1/2 cup at a time.
- Variations : Spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardomom, cloves, and allspice add heat and energy to the infusion. Almond and vanilla extracts, raw honey, fresh lemon, or a pinch of stevia add flavor and zest.
- Tools : You dont need anything fancy, the most important tea tool is a non-aluminum pot with a tight fitting lid. Add a strainer and a tea cup and you are good to go.
Solar/Lunar Infusions: Commonly know as "sun tea". Put fresh or dried herbs in a glass jar filled with water and place in a hot, sunny windowsill for several hours. You can also harness the mystical power of the moon with a lunar infusion. Place the herbs in an open crystal glass or bowl, using fresh herbs when possible. Cover the herbs with fresh water and place directly in the moon light, a full moon being the best time. Do not cover. Allow to infuse overnight and drink first thing in the morning. These infusions will be subtle, and work best with fresh, aromatic herbs like chamomile, mints and balms.
Decoctions: Unlike infusions,
decoctions are boiled. Woody roots, non-aromatic seeds and barks are
suited to this method. To get more of the "good" out of the
herbs you can place them cold water over a low heat and slowly bring
to a simmering boil. Keep the pot covered and simmer for 20 minutes. I
often let the mixture set all day or overnight without straining, you
can use the same herbs over again 2 or three times, adding a bit more
fresh material if you wish.
Overnight Method : Use this method when the material you want to extract is a bitter, or mineral salt. The whole herb, roots or seeds, or the bark of a woody plant are soaked in cold water for several hours, then brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes. The correct proportion if not otherwise specified is one ounce of plant material to two cups of water.
Embrocation: This method is useful to soaking a sprained ankle, swollen foot or finger. Dilute a decoction with water (apx 1 cup/gallon).