Have a cup of HERBAL TEA

Fresh or dried, the leaves and flow­ers of many herbs can be in­fused in water to ex­tract their ben­e­fi­cial health prop­er­ties to treat ev­ery­day ail­ments.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Herbs For Health & Wellbeing -

Atea, also known as an in­fu­sion or ti­sane (a French word for herbal in­fu­sion), is a sim­ple way to access the health ben­e­fits of herbs – and en­joy their re­fresh­ing flavour. When steeped in water, the water sol­u­ble con­stituents of the herbs are ex­tracted. Water is also the best way to ex­tract polyphe­nols, in­clud­ing flavonoids, from herbs. Polyphe­nols have an­tiox­i­dant, anti-in­flam­ma­tory, anti-car­cino­genic and health­ful prop­er­ties.

How to pre­pare a herbal tea

There are two ways to pre­pare a herbal tea. The first is by in­fu­sion, which uses the del­i­cate plant parts, such as leaves and petals. It’s sim­ply a mat­ter of adding freshly boiled water to fresh or dried plant ma­te­rial and al­low­ing it all to steep for a pe­riod of time, usu­ally 10-15 min­utes.

The sec­ond is a de­coc­tion, which in­volves boil­ing the herbs in water. This method is usu­ally used for the tough woody parts, in­clud­ing the roots, bark, twigs and seeds. A slow sim­mer is usu­ally re­quired to ex­tract the ac­tive con­stituents from these tougher parts of the herb.

Put your herb in a saucepan, cover with cold water, put a lid on and heat slowly. Let it sim­mer for 20-45 min­utes.

The longer you sim­mer the herbs like this, the stronger your tea will be.

Some of the ac­tive con­stituents in herbs are not water sol­u­ble, so de­coct­ing or in­fus­ing the herb won’t ex­tract these con­stituents. How­ever, they may be sol­u­ble in oil. In such cases, herbal­ists usu­ally ex­tract the ac­tive con­stituents in olive oil or an­other veg­etable oil.

Oil sol­u­ble (fat sol­u­ble) com­po­nents in­clude fatty acids, carotenoids, lipids and vi­ta­mins A,D, E and K, among oth­ers. If you’re look­ing to ex­tract Vi­ta­min E from your herbs, as an ex­am­ple, then an oil ex­trac­tion is the way to go.

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