Monday, May 11, 2009

Tips for making herbal teas from ACHS President Dorene Petersen

ACHS President Dorene Petersen showed workshop participants Saturday, May 9, how to harvest fresh garden herbs for making herbal tea.

When making herbal tea for pleasure, the selection of herbs included is personal. To help make herbal selections, though, Petersen invited participants to first rub the herb between their fingers, which releases the volatile oil and aroma, then to place a small piece of the herb on their tongue. Both exercises help gauge the strength of the herb. For example, rosemary has a fairly pungent taste; therefore, when making an herbal tea blend, you may want to include smaller amounts of rosemary than, say, peppermint.

Making balanced herbal teas from fresh herbs takes a bit of practice. However, during the workshop Petersen offered these tips:

1. You can make herbal teas from fresh or dried herbs at a 2:1 ratio, because fresh herbs contain more water. (For example, 1 teaspoon dried peppermint or 2 teaspoons of fresh peppermint.)

2. If using fresh herbs, Petersen prefers an individual teapot with a built-in strainer.

3. If using dried herbs, purchase empty tea bags so you can make and store your own blends. (This is also useful when traveling. For example, you can make a stress-relieving tea if you are a nervous flier.)

4. Pour your water while it is boiling.

Here is a list of some herbs you can try for herbal tea and their use:
  • Lemon balm leaves: Headache and insomnia
  • Calendula flowers: Indigestion, skin troubles
  • Chamomile flowers: Headaches, nervousness, indigestion, ulcers, arthritis, and infection prevention
  • Lavender flowers: Headache and nervousness
  • Nettle leaves: Kidney troubles, hypertension, gout, hay fever, PMS, and scurvy
  • Thyme: Colds, indigestion, cough remedy

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