How to Make Herbal Teas or Tisanes
An herbal tea is not a true tea in the sense that it is derived from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Rather, an herbal tea is more properly called a tisane or infusion, which is nothing more than a "tea" brewed from a plant other than the true tea plant. The process is the same; the difference is in the terminology. A minor point perhaps, but a point nonetheless. For example, when you steep mint leaves in hot water you are making a tisane. And speaking of mint, check out these five flavored mints including orange chocolate believe it or not.
Tisanes are categorized by the type of plant part, flowers, berries, bark, roots, seeds, fruits, and of course leaves. Tisanes are viewed as being healthier alternatives to traditional caffeinated teas, and indeed many are used medicinally. However, many tisanes such as those made from the flowers of bee balm or the leaves of the lemon verbena plant are quite enjoyable.
Tisanes can be served hot or cold and are quite easy to make, but are a bit more complicated than steeping a tea bag for three minutes in boiling water. To make a tisane or herbal tea suing fresh leaves or flowers allow for 1 tablespoon of plant parts per one cup of water. Place the leaves or flowers in the cup and pour boiling water over them. Depending on the desired strength and the particular herb used, steep for 5 to 10 minutes, and then strain the herbs out of the tea.
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