Monday, September 01, 2008

Herbal Teas

Herbal Teas
People have been consuming herbal teas for as long as they have known how to heat water – since well before recorded history. Unlike green, black and oolong teas, herbal teas can be made from virtually any plant, and from any part of the plant, including roots, flowers, seeds, berries or bark. These are some herbs, such as Echinacea, ginkgo leaf, saw palmetto and milk thistle, which are not effective at healing when taken in tea form because their active components are not water soluble, and the concentration needed for medicinal potency is so high it can be obtained only from an extract, pill or capsule.

Different herbal teas, which sometimes contain thousands of beneficial active compounds, have their own distinct healing uses. Herbal teas are very good for relieving mild to moderate ailments such as upset stomach, sore throat, coughs, stuffy nose and insomnia.

Many herbal teas are available in tea bags form. They can also be prepared from the raw herbs. To make an herbal teas gently crumble leaves and flowers and break roots and bark into pieces and place them into ceramic or glass container. Cover the herb part with boiling water and allow them to steep.

Most herbs should be steeped for four to six minutes, although some herbal teas, such as chamomile, need to be steeped for fifteen to twenty minutes in a covered container in order to deliver their full therapeutic. Other herbs, such as ginseng roots, can be boiled. Astragalus can be lightly simmered for several hours. In fact, in Asia, ginseng root, astragalus, dong quai and other herbs are added to chicken broth to make a tonic soup that is both food and medicine.
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