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Herb Teas

The subtle flavors of herb teas are distorted by chlorinated (tap) water, metal pots (especially aluminum), milk, honey, and reheated water. Use freshly boiled spring or bottled water and a glass, crockery, or enamel container which is absolutely clean and has been pre-rinsed in hot water. If you drink much tea, a stainless steel strainer or teaball, available in coffee and tea stores, is a worthwhile investment. The alligator type teaball which opens and closes at a touch is easier to use than the screw-top type.

Boil the water, while it is heating rinse the teapot and measure in 1-2 teaspoons of herbs for each measuring cup of water you will be using. Pour the hat water over the herbs and let them stand 5-15 minutes, until the tea is brewed to your taste. Because herb teas except yerba mate do not contain tannic acid or theine (caffeine derivative) in significant amounts, most do not become bitter with long brewing.

Hops, which have a strong sedative effect, become both bitter and more potent with longer brewing.

Fresh flowers including nasturtium, jasmine, honeysuckle and roses can be used in teas, provided you are absolutely certain they have not been exposed to pesticides or automobile pollution.

For larger amounts of tea, it takes about 3/4 C herbs to brew 1 gallon of herb tea. If your tea base includes aromatic spices (cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, coriander seed, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace, orange or lemon peel) less herb will be necessary.

Some culinary herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme make flavorful herb teas or herb blend ingredients.

Herb Blend #1

The herbs in this blend are traditionally reputed to have a sedative effect.

By measure, 1 part each:
lobelia, vervain or lemon verbena
Stir in:
4 parts peppermint

Use 1t per cup

Herbs to be avoided by pregnant women, reputed to induce or encourage abortion: Cohosh, goldenseal, pennyroyal, ergot, birth root, rue, tansy, motherwort, cotton root, thyme, yarrow, potassium permanganate, St. John's Wort, valerian.

Herb Blend #2

The herbs in this blend are reputed to have a good effect on muscle tensions, including menstrual cramps. Do not use during pregnancy!

By measure:
1 part uva ursi, called berberry or kinick-kinick
1 part willow bark
1 part hops
1 part motherwort
1 part crampbark (vibernum opulu?)
2 parts comfrey leaf
3 parts peppermint
5 parts raspberry leaf

Cold Herb Tea

Herb teas, especially those containing mints, lemon herbs, rose hips, make delicious iced teas.

Honey Lemonade

Since this is unadulterated carbohydrate, it is best used at meals, where some supporting protein is being eaten.

1 gallon

Mix till honey dissolves:
juice of 25 lemons (about 3 C)
1-1 1/2 C honey

water and ice to make 1 gallon
Red Drink Blend

This herb tea is delicious hot or cold:
2 parts hibiscus flower
1 rose hips
1 cherry bark
1 lemon grass
1/2 chamomile
1/2 peppermint

Use 1-2 t per cup of water, the larger amount if the tea is to be iced.

Four Friends Tea Blend

Equal amounts:
rose hips
lemon verbena OR lemon grass
Spiced Tea

Boil covered in 1 quart water:
peels of one or more oranges and lemons
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1 t whole cloves
OR 1/2 t ground cloves
piece of ginger root
OR 1/4 t ginger
1 whole nutmeg, cracked or grated
3-4 cardamon pods, broken open
1 t coriander seeds

Boil about 5 minutes, strain into a teapot and brew:
1 T black tea
About 3 to 5 minutes. Remove it at once, or strain again.

This tea may be served with milk in the East Indian style or plain with honey.