Herbal teas can be used either short term for an acute illness, or for long term benefits. Herbs work on a slow and steady basis and are most effective when used consistently.
This method is best for extracting the medicinal constituents from the more delicate parts of the herbal plant with a high concentration of volatile oils, such as fruits, flowers and leaves. The following describes two methods for infusing medicinal teas.
Place 1 quart(4 cups) of fresh filtered water in a glass pan with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add 4-6 tablespoons of herbs. Quickly place the lid on the pan so the valuable medicinal properties can’t escape and allow to steep for 10-20 minutes. Strain and store in glass. Refrigerate after you enjoy your first cup! For the best effect, drink your tea throughout the day, making a fresh batch each morning. Use within 2 days.
The length of steeping time is determined by the herbs that you are using and the active plant constituents you wish to extract. For example, tannins are extracted quickly and if allowed to steep longer than 4 minutes you will have a very bitter tasting tea. Ask your physician about specific herbs and time needed to extract active ingredients.
Place the 4-6 tablespoons of herbs in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Fill the jar with a quart of fresh filtered water and secure the lid. Place directly in the warmth of the sunlight and allow this subtle, yet powerful heat source to extract the medicinal properties for several hours. Strain & enjoy! Store as above.
Decoctions are used to extract the medicinal constituents from the more tenacious plant material such as the bark, nuts, non-aromatic seeds, and roots. The exception to this general rule is for those roots that are high in volatile oils, such as Hydrastis & Valerian. These roots are better infused than decocted because their delicate oils are easily destroyed with high temperatures.
How to decoct herbs
Place 1 quart (4 cups) of fresh filtered water in a glass pan with a tigh fitting lid and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and add your 4-6 tablespoons of herbs. With the lid firmly in place, allow the herbs to simmer gently for 14-20 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain and enjoy your tea! Refrigerate the remainder for enjoyment throughout the day!
For a stronger medicinal brew follow the above instructions through step 4, then remove from the heat with the lid still on. At this point, allow this decoction to steep overnight in the covered glass pan to prevent any valuable nutrients from escaping with the steam. Strain in the morning.
As a general rule, you can use your decocted herbs 3 times before discarding them. The medicinal properties are so concentrated in the roots, and the barks are so tenacious, that you can still benefit from the plants’ chemical constituents with each subsequent brew. In between brews store the herbs in a glass covered dish in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that with each decoction the brew will become milder, so you may wish to add a few fresh herbs each time or simply enjoy the tea’s more subtle flavor!