Monday, March 18, 2013

Medicinal Teas

One of the newest products I've added to the Boline store is Medicinal Teas*- I have six varieties to choose from with more formulations on the way. Why would I offer teas? (Well, first off- they aren't actually tea (which is a specific plant)- they are medicinal herbs that you would steep with boiled water to make what we herbalists know as "decoctions" or "infusions".)

They are a fantastic way to get nutrients and medicine into your body! When I am taking a tea as a tonic (meaning that I take some every day to keep it in my system- like with my Preggers Tea- which I used myself when pregnant with Rowan), I often make a huge batch and drink it iced from the fridge.

The teas I offer come in these bags- and inside are fresh,
organic herb blends and an unbleached cotton muslin bag for steeping.

When I am taking a tea for a temporary condition (like Dream Well or Kid Calm tea for insomnia for example), that's when I tend to drink it hot.

Many people are used to drinking tea that comes in prepackaged tea bags, even the medicinal herbal teas. It is much better for you to take loose tea. Sure, you could buy bags of herbal teas that have similar ingredients at the grocery store, but they will not work as well. Why? The main difference between loose teas and tea bags is obviously the size of the leaves. When producing the tea bags, whole leaves are chopped, sliced and diced into small particles ranging from 0.2 to 1.5 millimeters called fanning and dusts. With all this slicing and dicing, the plant compounds interact with moisture and oxygen, leading to rapid quality loss.

Whole leaves contain natural compounds that are good for you and different essential oils which are what we would call the basis of the amazing tea flavor and taste. When the leaves and flowers and roots are broken up, those oils tend to evaporate, leaving the fannings with a dull aroma which will lead to a tasteless beverage.

Further, who knows how long that tea has lived in those bags, in that box, on a shelf somewhere? All of the teas I sell are fresh! So choose fresh (medicinal grade) loose teas!

There are several ways to make yourself a potent decoction. Just making a single cup for yourself? Then I prefer the infusion cup method:
These three cups are mine- all have the mug, an infuser insert,
and a lid. The lid keeps in all the important bits!
The lid is necessary, even if you don't have a cup like this- all the essential oils from the medicines will escape with the steam if you don't cover your infusion. The longer you steep (I do 15-30 minutes, depending on the blend- ones with roots will take longer), the more medicine is in the brew.

There are also other ways to make a small amount:
Unbleached cotton muslin bag (like the ones that come with Boline teas),
tea ball, spoon, infuser, and larger infuser for a larger pot.

Disposable or compostable versions are also available:
These are unbleached paper tea infusion bags.
And of course, there's the ubiquitous tea pot:

If all you have is a mug, you can always heap the herbs into it, pour water over, cap it with a saucer or small plate, and then strain it before drinking. I just tend to drink so often that I have specilty equipment lying about to take pictures of!

What are my favorite herb blends at the moment? Anything with nettles (it is green, yummy and sooooo good for you!, chamomile is lovely when fresh, and I grow lots of peppermint (trying some chocolate mint and pineapple mint this season too).

Currently Boline offers Dream Well (for those of you looking to relax and have productive dreams), Kid Calm (which is for stress, insomnia and anxiety- and safe enough for kids), Preggers Tea (for those expecting), Fertili-Tea (for women trying to conceive), Menopause Tea (for hot flashes and other symptoms and nutritional needs of that phase), and Allergy Tea (for seasonal allergies like hayfever).

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