Herbal teas for airborne viruses

What’s the secret to brewing medicinal teas?

Ready to move beyond the tea bag and brew herbal teas for their incredible medicinal qualities? Here’s some “herbal tea brewing 101” advice, from a clinical herbalist.
The secret to effective medicinal herb teas is to use the optimalmethod and brew time, by preparing either an infusion for delicate plant parts (leaves, flowers) or a decoction for tougher plant parts (barks, roots, fungi).
How to make INFUSIONS – An infusion is a water extract used for delicate herbs; boiling water (or sometimes cold)* is poured over the herb and the herbs then steep, covered. It is typically used for the delicate plant parts like leaves and flowers – think, mints, rose, nettles; but there are exceptions. Herbal legend Michael Moore compiled this list as guidance.
Standard Ratio: 1-3 Tbs. herb to 8 oz. water, or for a larger batch: 1/4 cup-3/4 cup herb to 1 quart water. (If the plant parts are small/compact then less herb is needed; if they are fluffy then more herb is needed; a scale can also be used if you know how many grams/oz are suggested for the herb you are brewing.)
Boil water in a pot or use the instant hot water if you have it at your office or in your kitchen.
For a single serving: Place dried herbs into a tea strainer that fits your favorite ceramic, glass or stainless steel mug. (Tea balls are usually too small to accommodate the amount of herbs needed for a medicinal tea). If you need a strainer or infuser, lovely ones can be found at FORLIFE or look locally at your food coop, grocery store, kitchen shop or herb store.
For a quart batch: Place dried herbs in a quart mason jar, or in a french press (ideally one that is dedicated to herbs and not used for coffee).
Pour recommended amount of boiling water over the herbs and cover. Steep, covered for 10-30 minutes, depending on the herb.Remove herbs (this is important – keeping them in too long can affect flavor and bring out undesirable compounds) – use a strainer or press if using a french press.Add additional water to return tea to original volume.
*Certain herbs are better prepared as a cold infusion, like marshmallow root and comfrey root. Check out another helpful list from, Michael Moore.
How to make DECOCTIONS – A decoction is used for the tougher plant parts. Herbs are simmered in boiling water for 10 -20 minutes. A decoction is typically used for barks, roots and seeds, like Wild Cherry Bark or Licorice root, but again, there are exceptions. (here’s a great table of herbs that are best decocted) and another useful list from the generous Michael Moore is here.
Standard Ratio: 1 tsp – 1 Tbs herb (depending on desired strength) to 8 oz water, or for a large batch: 3 tsp – 4 Tbs. per quart of water
Place herbs in pot and cover with cold water.Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, then cover.Simmer, covered for 10-20 minutes.Remove from heat and strain out herbs.Add enough water to return to original water volume.
Now you know the inside scoop on how to properly brew a batch of medicinal tea.
Enjoy and be well, Tara
, MS Herbal Medicine, is a Clinical Herbalist in Seattle, WA.

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