Healing with Herbs: A Guide to Medicinal Herb Teas

Learn about the many ways herbs can be used to help reduce common ailments. Includes a guide to frequently-used herbs.


| October/November 1993



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Drink away common ailments and frayed nerves with herb teas.


PHOTO: HORIZON PHOTOGRAPHICS

Ever wish you could drink a cup of magic potion to alleviate that headache or soothe those nerves after a long, exhausting day? Herb teas, called tisanes, may be as near a potion as you'll ever find, offering an incredibly wide variety of flavors and medicinal uses.

Old-fashioned horehound tea, for example, is considered good for colds and sore throats. Elder tea, which smells and tastes like lilacs, can be helpful to asthmatics and those with skin trouble. Spicy sassafras tea makes an excellent spring tonic. If your main interest is getting hooked on a delicious herb tea—as opposed to a caffeine-plagued coffee or tannic-acid-filled tea—you can try an assortment of teas, from lemon to licorice to apple. Serve them steaming hot in fall or winter, or refreshingly iced in summer—and sweeten with honey if desired.

To introduce yourself to herb teas, purchase a quarter-ounce of several different types of tea herbs. If you purchase them at an herb shop or farmers' market, make sure each package of herbs is labeled or otherwise marked so you'll know what it is when you get home. Most herb teas come in tea bags as well. Note: Use equal parts of caution and common sense when consuming herbs as you would with any type of medication. In the beginning, don't overdo the strength of your beverage mixture or the amount you drink.

Preparing Herb Tea

To use loose herbs, you'll need a tea bob or strainer and a glass or porcelain container with a tight-fitting lid. Add one teaspoon of the herb or herb mixture to one cup of boiling water and steep in container for five minutes. (Amount of tea and steeping time can be adjusted to taste.) If making only one cup, cover with a saucer while brewing. Metal teapots without linings, such as those made from aluminum, are not suitable because traces of the metal can contaminate the herbs.

For iced tea, add four to eight teaspoons of herbs (according to taste) to a quart of boiling water. Steep for approximately five minutes, let cool, and serve over ice. If you like a richer, stronger taste throughout the course of your drink, make and freeze some herbal tea in ice cube trays ahead of time to add to your glass.

Another refreshing option is sun tea: Add four to eight teaspoons of herbs to a quart or so of cold water in a clear glass container and place in the sun for two to six hours. Chill and serve over ice.

katydid_3
6/20/2007 9:43:45 PM

this article is a little confusing at the end. in the part about the "Garland of Texas" it ended up talking about straw-bale houses and the rest of the article on them too.






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