Herbal Teas: Their Preparation & Use

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By: Unknown Author
From the Aurum Foundation Home Care Course

The plant world gives gifts of healing to humans in many ways. In the making of a special herbal tea, we may use different methods of heat­ing in order to extract benefi­cial qualities of the herb. Here are some ways to use differ­ent parts of a plant in making tea in general, and some guidelines as to what herbs help what problems.

Whenever possible, use plants grown bio-dynamically, or organically.* If you grow herbs, harvest and dry them before mak­ing teas. (This is a science and art in itself.)

Taste the tea before you drink by smelling its aroma, and seeing its color. Then taste it in your mouth and begin to develop the ability to taste it in your stomach, so that a while after a tea is drunk, you can ask your system, "How did this tea taste to me overall?" This is the beginning of a more refined sense of taste. Our taste sense has been dulled by the added sugar and salt in foods, and processed or stored foods, where is nothing subtle left to taste. It is important to use biodynamic or organic food which is grown to pre­serve the vitality, the life-giving character of the food, if we want to refine our taste sense. We might not find a subtle taste in food less care-fully handled.

To make tea from flowers such as chamomile: pour boiling water over the flowers and, as the water turns color, strain the tea, (this is pretty quick). A different character is present in some plants if left to steep longer - chamomile goes from light yellow to brownish yellow and be­comes bitter, but linden flow­ers turn from yellow to reddish, and still taste good with longer steep­ing.

Tea made from leafy leaves such as nettle is made by pouring boiling water over the leaves, and straining within three minutes. (You may be directed specifically in preparation instructions for a medical reason. These are general guidelines for enjoy­ment and nutrition.)

When making teas from coarse leaves such as thyme and horsetail, put them into cold water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer till the leaves fall to the bottom (for horsetail this is three to seven minutes).

Tea made from roots or bark such as oak or birch bark, and valerian root must be soaked over­night, and boil ed for a few minutes the next day.


CHAMOMILE TEA is good for stomach aches, sleep­lessness and, (in Europe) for grief or difficult love affairs.

NETTLE is used for circulation and mi­graine, warming the circulation with the sulfur component in the leaves.

MELISSA (lemon balm) warms the stomach, kid­ney, and liver.

FENNEL SEED is simmered briefly, and is indicated for intestinal gas, and as a com­press for conjunctivitis.

YARROW and DANDELION, or other bitter plants, like (taraxacum) are health-building for the liver.

LAVENDER is used for relaxing, and high blood pressure.

ROSEMARY is used to help awaken and invigorate.

BIRTH LEAF tea helps the body's excretion process. It is used as a spring cleanser, and in arthritic (abnormal deposition and excretion) processes.


Blue Cohosh

Description taken from the Homeo­pathic Pharmacopea of the United States, 8th edition.

(Caulophyllum Thalictroides) Natural Order -Berberidaceae

Synonyms -

Latin: Leontice thalictroides, Leontopetalon thalictroides;

English: Blue cohosh, Blue­berry Root, Leontice, Papoose root, Squaw root;

French: La Leontice;

German: Loewenblatt.

Description: A deciduous, perennial herb, having a con­torted rhizome, with many knots, showing scars of previous stems. The stem, 1 to 2-1/2 feet high, arises from several scales and terminates in a large, tri-ternately compound leaf, without any long petiole, the leaflets obovate, wedge-form. The purplish or yellowish-green flowers ap­pear in April and May, in a loose raceme or panicle.

Habitat. - The United States, from Canada to Carolina and Kentucky, low moist grounds, mountains and shady hills, near running streams or on grounds which have been overflowed, common westward. Fig. Millspaugh, 16.

History. - The name is derived from kaulos, a stem, and phyllon, a leaf, as the stem appears to be a leaf-stalk. Mentioned in homeopathic lit­erature by Dr. E.MN. Hale, N. A. J. of Hom. VI 372 (Allen's Encyc. Mat. Med II 34.)

Part Used. - The fresh root.

This plant was used by Native Ameri­can women to facilitate labor and birth. See also the study done by the Dolisos Company.


The Chamomile

From Caring For the Sick at Home courtesy of the Anthroposophic Press, Hudson, NY

Matricaria chamomilla grows by the roadside, on building sites and amidst rubble. It does not require a soil rich in humus, but a poor, chalky soil. It needs light, air and sun, and cannot survive in shade or a damp environment. The seeds fall out in autumn and de­velop into a leafy ro­sette. It remains dor­mant through the win­ter and, in the first warmth of spring, the rosette grows into a finely feathered plant. The sun can shine right down to the foot of the plant through its deli­cate network of leaves. A cross-section of the leaves reveals that the borders are rolled down, which means that the leaf, though it appears very light, still contains a lot of mesophyll. The long-stemmed flower heads consist of petals fused together to form a tube. The yellow heart is hollow inside. In this it is distinct from other types of chamomile. The white florets turn down when they have been in the sun for a while so that the high coned heart is even more striking. Chamomile flowers profusely and for a long time, from the spring to the autumn. The volatile, etheric oil from the flowers has a blue color, not yellow or reddish yellow like most etheric oils. The chamomile plant is totally satu­rated with light, air and sun. It assimi­lates the warmth completely. Hence, chamomile has a re­laxing and regulat­ing effect in com­plaints in which the healing mechanism is disturbed.


* Sources of biodynamically-grown herbs are:

Bullard and Shedd Pharmacy, Keene, NH 03431. (603) 352 0021.

Raphael Pharmacy, 7957 California Ave., Fair Oaks, CA 95628. (916) 962 1099.

Weleda Pharmacy, 175 Rt. 9W North, Congers, NY 10920. (914) 268 0287.


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