Your dinner is over, the table is cleared and the last tasks of the day completed. The fireplace crackles gently and you’re ready to enjoy your evening. What could be more enjoyable than a moment of relaxation and taste with a herbal tea?
Autumn is the perfect time to resume this habit that can be perpetuated all year round.
Beyond the very cocooning side of the herbal tea by the fire under his favorite plaid, there are good reasons to get started.
A herbal tea, of many virtues
First of all, let’s think it’s a good way to hydrate. Too many people drink too little during their day, and evening tea can help fill the water gap.
Hot drinking has considerable benefits: increased intestinal peristalsis, transit regulation, liver decongestion.
The “simple” used to prepare your herbal tea will release their aromas and active molecules by infusing in hot water. The heat of the water allows a better extraction of the active ingredients of the plants as well as their better assimilation by the body. Indeed, “the power of dissolution of plant active ingredients is increased by heat. This allows the dilation of plant tissues and thus promotes a greater release of certain active molecules as well as mineral salts.»
Thus, to the olfactory and taste pleasure of a herbal tea is added a beneficial effect for our health.
How do you prepare your herbal tea?
A good herbal tea is prepared with quality water and plants.
Use low mineralized spring water (the lowest possible dry residue, less than 150 mg/L if possible) to preserve the liquid’s purifying potential and not over-solicit your kidney function.
The medicinal plants chosen must come from organic farming because as water extracts their active ingredients, it also extracts toxic products contained such as pesticides…
The drying and conservation technique is also to be considered. The plants you buy must have retained their colour and smell. Trade infusers, despite their practical appearance, will keep for less time.
To keep the plants you have harvested or purchased, opt for a glass jar or cloth bag, and leave them in a dry place away from the light. Depending on the plant, the shelf life can range from 1 to 3 years.
- The preparation technique depends on the density of the part of the plant you want to use:
for tender parts such as leaves or flowers, an infusion should be made to bring the water to a boil before dipping the plants, then to be infused for about 5 to 10 minutes before tasting.
- for denser or more woody areas such as bark, bark or roots, the plant should be immersed in cold water and heated to the boiling point. From this point on, you have to boil for another ten minutes.
- to preserve certain components of the plant, it may be useful to macerate. For example, vitamin C, which is found in interesting proportions in some plants, is destroyed at 60 degrees.This involves soaking the plant in cold water (from a few hours to several days depending on the species), and then filtering the contents that can be cooled.
Which plants to choose?
The range of simple ones is wide and your choice will be based on your needs and tastes.
Active molecules act on specific functions and their action can be digestive, dethrifying, relaxing, circulatory, etc.
The association of several medicinal plants can sometimes be interesting, but beware of antagonistic associations. For example, a lime-mint mixture is inconsistent. On the one hand the mint will have a nervous and gastric stimulating effect, while the lime tree will have the opposite effect.
In all seasons and at any time
Despite the title of the article, drinking herbal teas is a habit of astonishing simplicity that can be practiced in all seasons and at any time of the day.
During the fall and winter, hot herbal tea will help the body maintain body heat and will be energizing (“yang” if we refer to traditional Chinese medicine).
During the summer, hot drinking will also support the body in its thermal regulation effort, causing a slight sweating that will result in a refreshing action. Just think of the Berbers Tuareg who consume hot tea despite high outside temperatures, or the Chinese who drink hot or lukewarm even during their meal.
Herbal teas are consumed at any time of the day and will be a great substitute for exciting alkaloid-rich beverages.
Does herbal tea really have a therapeutic power?
The healing power of a herbal tea is obviously very light. On the other hand, making a cure by choosing a specific plant over a period of at least 3 weeks by consuming 5 to 6 cups of herbal tea a day will undoubtedly have a therapeutic effect.
Delphine L., naturopath