Herbal infusions have a long history
In my household we are long time tea drinkers, which is a big tradition in all of my cultural heritages! In the Caribbean herbal teas are often referred to as ‘bush tea’, often drunk for medicinal purposes, in India tea growing is a fine art, and in the UK tea is a huge cultural tradition.
That said, I have to admit that at any one time there is a huge selection in my kitchen of loose tea combinations that I select from depending on my mood, most of which have medicinal properties by default, but also have great flavours too.
My favourites are the most naturally made, fresh ginger which I can chop up for infusion, or mint or thyme leaf herbs from the garden. Dried flowers like hibiscus and spices like lemon grass, cinnamon or cardamom are also a delight.
If you want to, the combinations you can create are endless, or you can choose just one plant or flavour at a time.
What are herbal teas?
A herbal tea is a beverage made by soaking fresh or dried herbs in hot water, so you extract the herb’s properties, scent, flavour, and color into the water. Thus, the water is infused with the herb’s properties.
However there is a perceived difference between what we call herbal tea and a herbal infusion. According to the herbal academy, ‘herbal teas use less plant matter and are steeped for a shorter period of time than infusions, while herbal infusions use a larger amount of herbs and are steeped for a longer period of time’.
Using essential oils:
Recently I have been exploring the use of therapeutic grade essential oils to add to my herbal concoction. Adding essential oils to beverages is one of the easiest ways to enjoy their potent, refreshing flavours, plus their packed with anti oxidants too.
When you want to brighten up any of your favourite teas, only a small amount of essential oil will be required to provide your tea mixture with potent flavour, so make sure that you do not add too much, especially if you are drinking from a small cup or using strong oils.
Here are some of the essential oils that go great with tea:
How to make the perfect herbal tea:
To make a herbal tea infusion you will need:
A quantity of herbs or plant material, dried
A quantity of water
A few drops of essential oil* (optional)
Follow theses seven steps:
Boil Some Water.
Place Herbs In Tea Strainer.
Pour Hot Water.
‘Steep’ Your Tea.
Strain Your Tea.
Sweeten Your Tea (optional).
Add an essential oil* (optional).
Essential oils also work well in smoothies, slushies, lemonades, hot cacao, flavoured water and many more of your favorite drinks. *But remember, not all essential oils are safe for consumption! You must check the manufacturers recommendations and cautions before use.
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