Medicinal TeasTea has been used to administer medicinal herbs for an eon! But we are gonna explore a little history, give you an idea of what tools you will need to make your own teas, give a couple of recipes, and explain why tea is the preferred method of administering medicine.
First things first, the proper terminology for a medicinal herbal tea is “Tisane.”Definition of Tisane: (pronounced tee-zahn)an infusion ( of dried herbs) used as a beverage or for medicinal effectsTisane is a term for any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion of herbs, spices, or other plant material.
Like drinks made from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis), tisanes can be served hot or cold.Tisanes have been used as long as history has been written, and probably way before recorded history .A lot of claims of origin are laid on the term Tisane, here are a couple of examples-*The Greek word ptisanē (originally referring to a drink made from the crushed grains of pearl barley).*For The French claims of coining the term, one could argue that Ti (Tea) and Sans (French for “without”) or Ti (Tea) and Sine (Latin for “without”) could mean “tea without tea”, as a tea without tea could be a hot drink with anything but tea leaves in it.Fun fact:Tea, Camelia Sinensis l, is easily one of the most popular beverages in the world, with water being the only beverage consumed more widely.History of tea as medicine:We find plant derivatives in almost all holistic medicines ranging from essential oils to food-based cures.The practice of drinking tea has a long history in the East. Popular legend says tea was discovered by Emperor Shennong in ancient China. Tea leaves were eaten as a vegetable and used in medicine. But, until the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, tea was a new drinkthroughout the East tisanes are extremely popular, especially in China.The traditional medicinal use of the tisane is seen as a natural cure for many diseases & ailments, it is also used for enhancing health.Fun Fact:In Chinese, the term “liang cha” means “cooling tea.” It is believed this beverage cools down the body when it is overheated by sickness or weather change.
Now we’re gonna head back even further in history, to a pretty famous herbal tea.This tisane had its begining journey in ancient Egypt, where the first recorded mention of Chamomile was in a document known as the Ebers Papyrus, dating back to 1550 BC.Fun Fact:Chamomile has endured a lasting fame as a mild sedative, it was originally used to honor the gods & embalm the dead.Far back in Grecian history, the caffeine-free home remedy Peppermint, was used for aiding digestion and soothing the stomach. Dining was made a little more perky and pleasant by rubbing the tables with Peppermint, too. Not all herbal teas from this time period were as pleasant. In fact, some were deadly.Fun fact:Socrates, the father of modern thought, was sentenced to death by drinking the brew known as Hemlock.When did Tea & Tisane merge?The beginning of “tea” as an interchangeable term in the western part of the world starts in the American colonies during the Revolutionary War.During that time, tea was a major staple of many people on both sides of the Atlantic. Taxation of its import was a hefty symbol of the control wielded by England over the colonial citizens.The colonists were well-motivated to find a substitute, and came up with something that they called “freedom tea,” or “herbal tea.” Funny enough, it had no tea in it, but could be 100% locally sourced, without pesky import fees-American ingenuity.That is when it is thought that “tea” and “herbal tea” became synonymous, after awhile people didn’t see a point in differentiating.
Tea is tea!And to answer some questions that I’ve been getting on Rooibos & Yerba Mate:Rooibos has boomed in popularity, in spite of being a newcomer on the tisane scene.Rooibos is also known as “Red Bush Tea” or “Red Tea,” was introduced as a substitute for black tea.Almost all of the supplies of Japanese and Chinese teas suddenly became unavailable, during World War II.Being mostly tea addicts, people of the Western cultures searched the world for an alternative, finally discovering caffeine-free Rooibos, which only grows in South Africa.*Rooibos blends quite well with a variety of flavors and has a rich, slightly sweet flavor that is also excellent alone.Yerba Mate is considered a new drink to the herbal market. Consumed throughout much of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and the far east, this South American botanical from the holly family, has been vaunted as a phenomenon that both energizes and remedies.Yerba Mate, or simply “Mate” is one of the few plants on earth (along with coffee, cocoa and tea) that contains caffeine. Drinking it from a hollowed-out gourd (the traditional way)- as well as the herby taste- is a little wild for the mainstream, but after a few sips, most folks can’t get enough.Once Mate was introduced to the US as a substitute for coffee, there was no going back!Tools for making Herbal teas:-Herbs-measuring spoons-cotton tea bags-teaball (yes, you need both!)-kettle (or hot pot or even a pan to boil water)-water (i prefer distilled for this, or at least filtered)-spoon to stir-cup or mug-Honey (sweetener)-Mortar & Pestle (optional)-Good Guide Book on herbs-Notebook & pencil
*(As you begin blending you will want to keep track of which ones that you liked and how you altered them for you personally.)Why is tea my favorite method?Because its easy, cheap, convenient, effective and food related. Plus, I just love tea!As an added bonus, along with any medicinal herbs that you are blending, you can use a black tea, green tea, yerba mate, rooibos or Oolong base for an extra flavor punch and the benefits of these tea bases in and of themselves….depending on how the herb properties are effected by caffeine and such.Recipes
(I mixed these up myself- feel free to create your own as you go):
You may be wondering why I didnt put any measurements on here. It is because I measure in pinches-dashes-smudges.****But don’t just take my word for it , get out there and research it!****~Alicia Anspaugh-Mccullough, DMNAS