Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Herbal Teas for Better Health
From a previous article I wrote on herbal teas:
Herbal teas, as well as being pleasurable to drink, can be used as a preventative measure. If drunk regularly, they can help to tone and balance the body. The transition to herbal tea (from your regular caffeinated tea or coffee) can be gradual. Lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, apple mint, and peppermint all make incredibly delicious teas and also add lovely flavor to otherwise less than pleasant herbal preparations. Try to drink 3 cups of herbal tea every day, after meals (to prevent interference with gastric juices and hinder proper digestion). Sweeten your herbal tea with honey or sugar if you like. A slice of lemon or orange is another tasty addition. Here are a few common herbs for tea preparations, with associated indications.
Basil Leaves: Soothing, cleansing, diarrhea, poor digestion.
Calendula: Indigestion, skin troubles.
Catnip Leaves: Headaches, restlessness, menstrual pains, hyperactive children.
Chamomile Flowers*: Headaches, nervousness, & indigestion.
Chickweed*: Coughs, colds, weight problems.
Dandelion Leaves & Root*: Liver & kidney troubles, fluid retention, constipation.
Elder Flower: Chills, fever.
Fenugreek Seeds*: Cleansing, soothing, excess catarrh, increase breast milk supply.
Lavender Flowers*: Headache, nervousness.
Lemon Balm Leaves: Headache, insomnia, melancholy.
Lemon Grass: Skin troubles, high in vitamin A.
Mullein Flowers*: Coughs, inflammation.
Nettle Leaf*: Kidney trouble, fluid retention.
Oatstraw*: Dry, brittle hair & nails, excessive mucus.
Peppermint*: Flatulence, nausea, stomach cramps.
Plantain*: Colds, diarrhea.
Red Clover Flowers: Nervousness, cleanser, whooping cough.
Red Raspberry Leaves*: Profuse menstruation, great for pregnant and/or lactating mothers.
Rosehips*: Coughs, colds.
Rosemary: Circulation, nervousness, depression, headache.
Sage: Fevers, tonic, sore throat.
Thyme: Colds, indigestion.
Valerian*: Tension, headache, insomnia.
Yarrow: Colds, indigestion, fevers.
Basic herbal tea preparation instructions:
1 T. dried herbs
½ pint water
Place herb(s) into a non-reactive metal or enamel pot with a lid. Bring water to a boil; turn off the heat and pour the water over the herb(s). Cover the pot and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain through a non-aluminum strainer. Herbal tea may be enjoyed fresh and warm or chilled. Honey, lemon, or milk can be added, although milk tends to mask the delicate flavors. Refrigerated unused tea to prevent spoilage.
There are no definite rules for combining herbs in a tea mixture. Taste is a major priority! Aromatic herbs such as peppermint, fennel, mint, ginger, lemon balm and lemon verbena will all enhance the flavor of a bland tea such as oatstraw, or a bitter tea such as valerian (valerian has a VERY strong odor which is unpleasant to some).
*Considered safe in moderation for pregnancy and lactation. Always consult your professional herbalist or naturopath before consuming any herbs while pregnant.
This information is for educational purposes only and not meant to prescribe, diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. It should not substitute the advice or recommendations of your physician or health professional, nor should it replace prescription medications without proper supervision. You are encouraged to seek professional medical advice from a qualified medical practitioner, naturopath or local professional herbalist, especially if you are pregnant, lactating, have a medical condition, or are taking prescription medication.