Steeped in Wellness

By Ellen Zimmermann

Medicinal teas are a delicious and relaxing way to receive the healthy benefits from herbs, and once you master the technique it’s easy to create your own. Fresh plants or high-quality dried herbs are best for these two different types of medicinal teas. The first is a medicinal infusion, meaning an extraction arrived through steeping the soft parts of the herb (leaves or flowers). Try lemon balm, passionflower or nettles, for example. 
The second is a medicinal decoction, meaning an extraction arrived through boiling the hard parts of the herb (roots, stems or berries). Try a simple ginger root tea to start with.
Medicinal teas are brewed with hot water and commonly served warm, but the health benefits/medicinal qualities are present at any temperature. Remember to use only a stainless steel, glass or ceramic kettle/pot to prepare medicinal teas, as copper and aluminum can negatively affect the quality of the herbs.

Creating a Medicinal Infusion:

  • Use a tea kettle or a large stainless pot to heat the water.
  • In a separate teapot or pot, measure and add the herbs (2 teaspoons fresh herbs per cup of water, or 1 teaspoon dried herbs per cup of water).
  • Pour the desired amount of water over the herbs, cover and let infuse, or steep, for at least 20 minutes.
  • Strain and enjoy!
Note: Many herbs can infuse longer, even overnight for a stronger medicinal tea. Others, like chamomile, may require a shorter infusion time according to taste and desired strength.

Creating a Medicinal Decoction:

  • Add the desired amount of cold water to a pot.
  • Place cut roots, stems and/or berries (2–3 tablespoons per quart of water) in the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Strain and enjoy!