One of the most widespread method of using herbs to maintain good health and ward off illness is by drinking herb teas, or tisanes as they are known in France. For medical purposes, when treating an actual ailment, stronger preparations such as infusions or decoctions are prescribed, but in general it is possible to make a simple tinsane at home.
Herbal teas can be used as everyday hot drinks, to replace tea and coffee and hence reduce the caffeine intake in the diet. As each herb differs greatly in taste and flavour, it is very much an individual choice. A couple that have some of the taste qualities of ordinary tea are rooibosch and mate. The former has long been the daily drink for many people in South Africa, and is now grown in several countries; it makes a very enjoyable, low caffeine tea. Similary mate is well-known in South American countries for its refreshing effect, with a smoky reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong tea.
In general, it is essential to vary herb teas, not only to enjoy a variety of flavours but to ensure that their medicinal properties are not overdone. Some, can however be drunk over sonsiderable time, to maintain health adn prevent ailments. In winter, especially in cooler climates, rose-hips might be a good choice. These contain considerable amounts of Vitamin C, which is an excellent way to sustain resistance to colds, flu and so on. Vitamin C can have something of a laxative effect, but the tannin content of rose-hips helps to balance this out.
A pleasant summer tea can be made from fresh lemon balm leaves; gather a few sprigs of the leaves, and make a tea, leaving it to stand and anxiety on the system, especially where nervous indigestion is involved, and its balancing effects make it suitable for morning or evening drinking. The dried herb can be used too, but its flavour is inferior.
Dandelion are a diuretic and can help to reduce water retention and bloated feelings. They can also help rheumatism. This tea acts as a mild laxative so should not be drunk in large quantities.
1) Remove any stems from the dandelion leaves. Tear them into strips and place in the botom of a mug. Pour on enough boiling water to fill the mug and leave to stand 5-10 minutes
2) Strain, discard most of the dandelion leaves and drink. If you prefer a sweetner, add a small teaspoonful of honey.
In hot weather, keep a jug of the tea in the refrigerator, perhaps with a slice or two of lemon for added flavour, and drink as you wish.
Peppermint and rosemary are both good pick-me-up teas, to prevent or overcome tiredness, and may be made from either fresh or dried leaves as a morning cup of tea-many blends of herbs in tea-bags are based upon the taste of peppermint. Peppermint tea is becoming more popular as a digestif drink to replace coffee after a havey metal. Cinnamon and ginger make pleasantly warming drinks, separately or mixed together, for colder weather; just coarsely break a cinnamon stick into the teaport, while fresh ginger root may be sliced or grated. Chamomile flowers are one of the best digestive remedies, and the tea is often drunk in the evenings to aid restful slep, or to soothe upset stomachs. Elderflowers make a thirst-quenching drink, with beneficial properties for warding ff colds and catarrh, which is best made from dried flowerheads. All the above herbs can be used in combinations for extra lavour and medicinal effect.
Used regularly herbsl teas can make a significant contribution to a person's quality of health and wellbeing, not simply as replacements for stimulants such as tea or coffee, but for their general heath-giving properties and specific medicinal benefits.
HEBR TEA CHART
||Relaxant, digestive, anti-inflammatory
||Settles digestive, aids restul slep
||Carminative, warming, diaphoretic
||mproves digestion and good when cold/chilled
||Clears catarrh, reduces fevers by sweating
||Relaxant, digestive, anti-depressant
||Relieves nervous dyspepsia, good tonic
||Eases tension headaches or aching colds and flu
||Antispasmodic and digestive
||Reduces flatulence, is good for head colds too
||Contains Vitamin C
||Helps build resistance to colds and flu