Preparing Herbal Tea by Simmering

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,716
    Herbalist Deb Friedman discusses how to manage your stress levels with herbal tea, including how to prepare the tea by simmering.

    Deb Friedman

    Deb Friedman is a trained Herbalist with a master of science degree in herbal medicine from the Tai Sophia Institute (located in Laurel, Maryland). She recommends herbs to people with problems as diverse as arthritis, allergies, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a number of other health issues. She also writes, gives talks, and teaches classes on herbal medicine. Believing that herbal medicine is the medicine of the future as well as the past, Deb bases her herbal practice on both evidence-based scientific research and on a 1000-year-old-plus tradition of herbal medicine use throughout the world. Deb also has a master’s degree in Botany from the University of Massachusetts and enjoys searching the woods and fields for medicinal plants.

    Deb Friedman: Hi! I'm Deb Friedman. I am a clinical herbalist, and I am showing you how to make herbal teas to help you deal with stress. The teas are made from herbs called nervines because these are herbs that help support the nervous system. Most nervine herbs are made from the leaves, flowers, and stems of herbaceous plants, but sometimes teas are made from the tougher parts of plants such the roots, the seeds, or the bark of the plant, and it s little harder to steep them.

    Now, most of the nervine herbs actually can be made just by steeping; one exception is valerian root (actually the rhizome). Valerian is a great nervine herb. It s very relaxing and relaxes your muscles; it s a very nice herb when you are tense, for example. Now, valerian is what's called a generally recognized as safe herb -- most of the common nervine herbs are generally recognized as safe. To make a decoction, you will need a pan to simmer the herb in; decoction being how you prepare the tougher parts of the plant. Just add some water. I like to use filtered water. It's not important as long as you have a nice clean source of water. Use about a quart of water or maybe a little bit less. That's not how much I put in there, but that's how much you would generally use. Put just a handful of the herb right in the water, cover, and turn on the heat. Now, you want to bring it to a boil with the herb in it and once it comes to boil (we'll just assume it has), then you want to turn it down and just let it simmer. Okay, you simmer it for about 20 minutes. The lid ensures that the aromatic oils, the volatile oils don t escape because they are actually part of the medicinal constituents of the plant.

    If you don t like the taste of the herb, you can always add other herbs for flavoring. There are a lot of good-tasting herbs you can add to your decoction. Generally, you would add those after you had finished simmering. Then you would just add a tea bag or something else that you like, mint for instance and so on. Then when you are all done after 20 minutes, now you've got a tea, but it still has got all the herb in it, so what you need to do is pour it through a little strainer into your cup (it's okay if a little bit of herb gets into the tea; it s not going to hurt anything), and you are all ready to drink it. If you make more than you can drink at one time, it's fine to put in the refrigerator and warm it up later. Just don't leave it for more than a couple of days, that's about the limit. Okay now, I am going to show how to dry your own herbs. If you have a garden where you have been growing some medicinal herbs, for instance, you can pick the herbs and dry them yourself.