Herbal teas for everyone! - a good alternative to tea and coffee

Preparing herb teas and infusions

Herbal teas or infusions are simple to prepare using dried flowers and leaves. You need a glass or china teapot (not metal) and a strainer. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried herb (or a teabag) and pour on 1 cupful of boiled hot water. Cover and infuse for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain and drink. Experiment with different strengths and, if need be, you can add honey to taste. If you are using fresh herb then tear the leaves roughly and use about twice as much as the dried herb.

Chamomile flowers (Chamomilla recutita)
This herb was considered sacred by the Egyptians. It has daisy-like flowers and a strongly fruity scent. A popular drink in Europe, often used as an after-dinner digestive tea. Chamomile helps to relieve mild digestive upsets and inflammation and is very safe for use with children. A particular use is to aid relaxation and restful sleep. When making Chamomile it is best to cover the pot to keep in active principles formed in the steam. Do not over brew as the tea can then taste unpleasant.

Elder flowers (Sambucus Nigra)
A pleasant drink of special benefit for sufferers of colds, catarrh and sinus problems. Often used in blends to improve flavour and a special mixture is Flu tea consisting of equal parts of Elder flower, Peppermint and Yarrow.

Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora)
A highly fragrant and pleasantly refreshing drink, acting as a mild digestive.

Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica)
This tea is thought of as a tonic which will stimulate the circulation and help to cleanse the system in eczema, arthritis and rheumatism.

Peppermint leaf (Mentha piperita)
One of the most well known herbal drinks, it is excellent for relieving flatulence and indigestion. Peppermint tea is refreshing and can be helpful in the early stages of a cold.

Rosehips (Rosa canina)
A very common herb tea, due to its lovely fruity taste. Rosehips are an excellent source of Vitamin C and can be drunk daily, especially over the winter months. The tannin content can be valuable for relieving mild diarrhoea.

Sage tea (Salvia officinalis)
This herb was dedicated to Zeus and Jupiter by the Ancients. It has been used as a remedy for many ills from menopausal hot flushes to sore throats and colds. An infusion of dried or fresh leaves sweetened with honey and flavoured with the zest of a lemon is said to reduce the unwanted milk of nursing mothers. This tea should not be taken for more than a few days at a time.

Important: Advice from this site is for general guidance only. If symptoms persist, or if you have any doubts, you should always consult a medical herbalist or general practitioner.