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Making Herbal Teas at Home
When making herbal teas, you can use fresh or dried herbs. Many herbs are easy to grow and can be grown inside or outside. When using fresh herbs, the typical dose per one cup of water is 1 tablespoon (finely chopped). When using dried herbs, the typical dose per one cup of water is 1 teaspoon (finely chopped).
It is best to avoid using tea bags. Most tea bags do not offer the same results as loose herbs. If you do not wish to grow your own herbs, you can buy them from most health food stores or online. Be sure you choose a reputable company that preferably sells organic herbs.
• Begin boiling water. Boiling water allows the tea to brew properly. It is best to use an electric kettle. It is faster than using a stove top. Using a microwave is not recommended. Add the amount of water you wish to use plus a little extra (since the herb will soak up some). Use freshly drawn water. Do not re-boil water. According to Lion Cross (a herbal tea company), the first boiling releases oxygen, so the second boiling results in flat, lifeless tea.
• Warm up your teapot and tea cup while your water is boiling. Fill both up with hot water from the sink and let them sit. Preheating the teapot maintains the brewing temperature longer and preheating the cup will allow your tea to stay warm longer.
• When the boiling water is almost ready, pour out the water in the teapot and add your herbs. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover with the lid, and allow it to steep for a few minutes. Generally, flowers and soft leaves steep for about 3 minutes, seeds and leaves steep for about 5 minutes, and hard seeds, roots, and bark steep for about 10 minutes. If you want a stronger tea, add more herb (don't steep longer).
• When the tea is through steeping, pour the water out of the cup and pour the tea into the cup using a strainer. Discard the herbs and allow the tea to cool to a safe temperature before drinking.
• If you wish to sweeten your tea, add a bit of raw honey. Sugar should not be used because it is said to negate the value of most herbs. If you add milk, choose a fat free or low fat milk.
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When making herbal teas at home, it is best to follow directions for the specific herb you use.
If giving to a child or if you are pregnant, are breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or take medications, consult with a health care provider before drinking herbal teas.
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Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nice_Cup_of_Tea.jpg (in the public domain)
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