Brewing Tea and Other

Herb Preparations

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Green tea is made from green leaves, whereas black teas are made from fermented leaves and are not recommended for consumption.  Although green tea has many cancer-fighting and other benefits, it does contain caffeine, so use in moderation and only steep 1-2 minutes. 

Herbs are nature's medicine, therefore herb teas are best used in wide variety for their multitude of benefits, and no one specific herb tea should be used continuously for a period of time longer than two weeks to treat any ailment unless directed by your physician.  Seek balance and harmony -- everything in moderation.  Too much of anything can be harmful.

When brewing herb teas, steep in very hot -- not boiling -- water, as it may destroy some of the medicinal qualities of the tea.  Always cover your teacup to keep volatile oils from escaping and steep herbal tea for at least 5 minutes (15-30 minutes if using medicinally).  A glass or porcelain teapot and distilled water is recommended.  Never steep herbs in aluminum containers.  Besides using teabags, you can make your own herbal infusions and decoctions:

Tea Infusion (Infusion = Tea made from leaves and flowers (light materials)) Put 1-2 teaspoons of herbal tea material into a brewing utensil of your choice and place in a 6-8 oz size cup. Add 6-8 oz of boiling water and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Increase the quantity of material accordingly if using a teapot. For a more "medicinal" effect steep 15-30 minutes. Will keep refrigerated for 24 hours.

Tea Decoction (Decoction = Tea made from bark, roots, seeds, twigs and berries). Put 1-3 tablespoons of cut herb, seed, root, bark, etc into a pot of 16-32 oz of water and allow to sit in cool water for at least 5-10 minutes. Bring water to a slow boil then turn down to a simmer for 10-30 minutes. (This depends on the strength of the tea you enjoy). Strain and drink. Will keep about 72 hours if kept refrigerated.

Poultice To make a poultice, you simply crush the medicinal parts of the plant to a pulpy mass and heat. Mix with a hot, sticky substance such as moistened whole grain flour or corn meal. Apply the pasty mixture directly to the skin. Wrap a hot towel around the affected area and moisten the towel periodically. A poultice will draw impurities from the body.

Ointment For a quick ointment, combine thoroughly one part of a powdered remedy with four parts hot petroleum jelly or lard. For a more proper ointment, you may alternatively add the decoction of the desired herb to olive oil and simmer until the water has completely evaporated. Add beeswax as needed to get a firm consistency. A little gum benzoin or a drop of tincture of benzoin per ounce of fat will help preserve the ointment.

Cold Extract Preparing herbs with cold water preserves the most volatile ingredients, while extracting only minor amounts of mineral salts and bitter principles. Add about double the amount of plant material used for an infusion to cold water and let sit for about 8 to 12 hours, strain and drink.

Essence Dissolve 1 ounce of the herb's essential oil in a pint of alcohol; this method preserves the volatile oils of many plants which are not water-soluble.

Herb Bath Herbal baths include the use of various herbal additives to enhance the natural healing power of the water. They are baths to which plant decoctions or infusions have been added. There are full and partial herbal baths. For a full bath some of the medicinal plant parts should be sewn into a cloth bag and then boiled in a quart of water; the strained mixture is then added to the bath. Sometimes you can put the bag right into the tub for a more thorough extraction of the herbal properties.

Powder Grind your dried plant parts until you have a powder. The powder can be taken with water, milk, soup, or swallowed in gelatin capsules.

Juice Chop and press fresh plant parts to make juice, then add a bit of water and press again. This is excellent for getting vitamins and minerals from the plant. Drink the juice right away for the best results.

 

 


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