The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
Herbal Teas - The Marriage of Herbs & Tea
Two of Nature's Powerhouses
Tea is an easy, natural, and flavorful way to introduce the healing power of
herbs into your everyday diet.  Tea is extremely healthy by itself, but by add-
ing various herbs to it you can knock out pretty much any ailment.

We have all seen the dis-
astrous effects of over pre-
scribing antibiotics.  These synthetic drugs
are now proving to be ineffectual in fighting
off bacterial infections because of their
massive overuse.

But if you investigate, you will find that like
tea, various herbs kill bacteria, viruses,
fungus, and microorganisms, effectively
fighting off cold and flu viruses, infections,
and many other common ailments that crop
up in our everyday life.

Tea and herbs share a very long and inter-
esting history.  Herbs predate tea to the
time of early man, when whatever was
found in the forest or on the ground was the  only means of preventing starvation.

                                                 The first recorded
history of tea dates back to China (2737 AD),
                                                 discovered by Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor and scholar, who
                                                 ironically was also the first person to identify herbs.  Shen Nung
                                                 wrote the first history of herbs in his book,
Pen T'sao Ching (The
                                                 Classic of Herbs), written around 3000 AD, and listing over 300
                                                 different plants and their medicinal value.

                                                 There are many prepackaged herbal teas to choose from, such as
                                                 chamomile or mint.  You have to be careful to read the ingredi-
                                                 ents label, though, because it is only herbal
tea if tea is present.
                                                 It may say "herbal tea" on the package, but it may only contain
                                                 the herb with no tea.

For example, I buy a popular brand of prepackaged peppermint tea that says "100% natural
herb tea" on the package.  But reading the ingredients label, it contains only peppermint leaves -
no tea.  So it's up to you to carefully read the ingredients label so you always know exactly what
you are getting.

Rather than buying prepackaged herbal teas, you may enjoy making your own,
blending favorite
flavors
, or maybe there is a specific nutritional or health issue you would like to address.

You can design your own recipes with hundreds, if not thousands of combinations, to address
everything from an upset stomach, to warding off a cold or
case of the flu.  

There are three ways in which to prepare herbal teas:
                  *  infusion
                  *  straining
                  *  and decoction

          Infusion is the same method you use when preparing tea.  You place the herbal tea into
          a cup or teapot, add boiling water and allow the mixture to steep for the alloted amount
          of time, until the flavors are completely infused with the water.  Simple.

          The second method-straining, is also
          an easy process.  Many
teapots and
          teacups already come with built-in
          strainers, or just use a regular strainer.
          You place the appropriate amount of
          herbal tea into the strainer, place the
          strainer over the cup or pot, pour the
          boiling water over and let the liquid
          seep through the strainer into the tea-
          cup or teapot.

          Finally there is decoction.  This method
          takes a bit more time as you are extrac-
          ting the flavor and medicinal character-
          istics from twigs, barks, stems, and
          roots.  Cooking times vary depending
          on the kind and quantity of plants be-
          ing used.

          Also, if the
type of tea you are using is one with multiple infusions, this process extracts
          all the flavor and important ingredients from the leaves during the cooking so it cannot be
          reinfused.

                                                              For decoction, you place the herbs and tea into a pot,
                                                              add water, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to
                                                              medium, cover, and simmer until the volume of liquid is
                                                              reduced to 1/3 of the beginning amount.  Strain and
                                                              drink while hot.

                                                              If making your own herbal
tea blends, you can use
                                                              either fresh, powdered, or dried herbs.  In fact, there  
                                                              may be some common herbs found right in your cup-
          board, such as sage, mint, rosemary, and thyme, as well as spices such as ginger,
          nutmeg, and cinnamon.

                                               
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accessories, visit:
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For more information or to learn more about tea, visit our other pages:

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Make your own blended tea recipes.

Yixing teapots - beauty meets function.

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in common?

How does tea help boost the immune
system and keep us healthy?

How do I calculate how much loose tea to use
for brewing either one cup or a pot of tea?

Try Mighty Leaf Teas fruity and delicious handcrafted herbal tea blends. Their Organic Berry Wellness
tea is a blend of blueberries, strawberries, cran, goji, & elder berries w/the sweetness of ginger and
licorice root. Click the link below to get yours and $1.00 goes to cancer research:  
For every purchase of Organic Berry Wellness, we will give $1 to UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
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If using fresh herbs, you can find most of the ones you might try using in herbal tea recipes at your local supermarket
or health food store.

When brewing, remember that one teaspoon of fresh, chopped herbs (including the leaf,
stem, or flower), is equal to approximately 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs or 1/4 teaspoon
powdered herbs.  This is an approximation as all herbs vary from one plant to another.  

Just as I advise when creating your own blended tea recipes, you need to experiment
to find the flavors and strength that is right for you.  
Enjoy.

NOTE:  A word of caution if gathering wild herbs or plants.  You need to be extremely careful and NEVER use wild
herbs or plants you are unfamiliar with or have not been able to properly identify.  Buy a good medicinal herb book
with clear color pictures to help you properly identify a plant, or ask advice about it at your local plant nursery.

You should also consult with your health care provider before starting any new treatments or that could interact
adversely with current medications or any ongoing care.