Herbal teas (tisanes or infusions) have been at the center of healing practices in many cultures all over the world. Made from herbs, fruits, seeds or roots covered with hot water, the health benefits depend on the plant used. Usually one picks the herb for the problem, like you would with medicine. Stomach aches? peppermint tea can do the trick. Want a goodnight sleep? Chamomille tea can get you in the mood to relax.
Drinking warm drinks in the winter helps our bodies cope with the cold, but drinking warm drinks in summer actually also has great benefits. Studies show that hot drinks lower body heat storage more than cool drinks.
Herbal teas don’t contain caffeine or theine and are therefore considered alkaline, because theine/caffeine is acidic for the body. But this difference from “normal tea” also shows us that herbal tea is technically not a tea. It isn’t made from the Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant). This is why herbal tea is often referred to as tisane or infusion.
Most tisanes should be prepared as a decoction or an infusion. A decoction is when we boil the plants in the water and an infusion is when we just pour boiled water over the plant. Decoction releases more essential oils and flavour. It is mostly used for tougher plants likes barks, roots and berries. Infusions are mostly used for leafs, flowers and seeds.
Drinking tisanes is a great way to hydrate and get your 3 liters of water a day. Whether it is Winter or Summer on your half of the world these 4 herbal teas will definitely do you good.
This sounds like an unusual mix, but the first time I drank this I was sold. It is a beautiful flavourful infusion. The relaxing benefits of lavender with the powerful medicinal benefits of thyme combined.
Lavender helps against indigestion, stress and anxiety. It also reliefs insomnia. Thyme reliefs indigestion and coughs. It is also a good source for Vitamin K, manganese and iron.
This is a great tisane to consume after dinner to help digestion and prepare for a good night sleep.
To prepare add 1 table spoon of dried thyme or a branch of fresh thyme to a teapot. Add 1/2 tablespoon dried lavender. Pour boiled hot water in the pot. Cover and let it infuse for 10 minutes.
Another soothing tisane is sage orange. Sage actually is an appetite enhancer so this is a great one to drink before eating. But also after eating a sage tisane can have it’s benefits because it also promotes digestion and works against bloating and stomach aches. For those of us worried in the summer about lots of perspiration, a cup of sage tea might be able to help you with the overproduction. A slice of fresh orange gives the tisane a tang and a sweetness.
To prepare add a tablespoon of dried sage to a teapot. Pour hot boiled water in the pot. Cover and let it infuse for 10-15 min. Add a slice of fresh orange to your teacup and pour the tisane over the orange to drink.
Ginger and lemon have energy boosting properties. A great infusion for during the day. But there is more to it. With a high antioxidant and vitamin level (A and C) it is also a great immune booster, great for skin and hair health. This tisane can also help in reducing pain, because of the anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger and mint are also excellent for digestion.
There are two ways to prepare the tisane:
Smash 2 inches of ginger flat using a mortar and pestle.
Add the ginger to a teapot with juice of 1/2 lemon and a branch of mint.
Pour hot boiling water over it.
Let it infuse for 10 – 15 minutes.
Chop up 1 inch of ginger ginger and add to a pot of water.
Boil the water.
When the water boils, lower heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the tisane to a teapot with a brach of mint and the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Let it infuse for another 5 – 7 minutes.
This is one of my favourite infusions. I first got introduced to it in Bali where it was served at the wellness resort for everybody doing a detox retreat. There I learned that lemongrass makes for a great detox tea. It helps the removal of toxins by relieving the body of fluid retention.
On top of that it aids digestion, helps with high blood pressure, is great for skin and hair health because of the vitamin A and C.
There are two ways to prepare the tisane using fresh lemongrass (you can also buy it frozen at Asian stores. Defrost it before using):
Smash the end of the lemongrass (thick root) using a mortar and pestle.
Add to a teapot and pour hot boiling water over it.
Let it infuse for 10-15 minutes.
Chop up the lemon grass and add to a pot of water.
Boil the water.
When the water boils, lower heat and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.