Herbal Tea is an infusion prepared using various herbal leaves other than the regular Camellia Sinesis. This tea form is normally enjoyed as a rejuvenative drink and medicine. It can be prepared very easily by boiling flowers, herbs, fruits and roots of certain plants. Their form and taste largely varies from place to place depending on the availability of the ingredients. These teas are sometimes known as ptisan or tisane. The Chinese are also very much fond of this tea form and fondly call it liang cha or liong cha. Today, varieties of tisanes are sold at natural food stores and markets around the world.
History of Herbal Teas
The existence of this tea form can be traced to the time of the first written historical text. Several historical anecdotes suggest that this tea was valued throughout the Indian continent for its medicinal values. The Egyptians and Chinese have well documented historical records which mention the joys and utility of drinking this herbal infused tea.
Herbal Teas: Commonly Used Ingredients and Method of Preparation
There are no prefixed recipes for this kind of tea preparation. Camelia sinesis may or may not be used in the tea preparation but in either case the resultant beverage is known as herbal tea. Many classic tea blends involve botanical and florals derived from lavender, hibiscus, citrus blossoms, thyme, jasmine, orange, chamomile, etc. The teas are brewed by combining blends of different botanicals or they are prepared using any one of these ingredients. Normally the essences of these botanicals or fruits, leaves, roots, and flowers as a whole are boiled at varying temperatures during the tea preparation. These ingredients are normally boiled on a stove top or in a heavy pan to squeeze out the maximum flavor. If dried ingredients are used then they are either brewed by pouring the boiling water over the ingredients or steeping them in boiling water. Some cooks prefer to heat their herbal tea under the sun and love to call it sun tea. This tea is prepared by cooking the ingredients in the sun. The tea pot with herbs and water is placed in sunlight for long time allowing the ingredients to mix slowly.
Herbal Tea Benefits: Medicinal Benefits and Concerns
These teas are normally consumed due to their rejuvenative and stimulating effects on the body and mind. In many of the countries the makers of herbal tea blends are not allowed to make unsubstantial claims. They are bound by laws to announce the pros and cons of drinking their teas. Most of the herbal blends used in the preparation of tea are considered to be good for consumption but some teas involving herbs like comfrey and lobelia are not considered to be good for consumption. In China the teas involving hawthorn and oolong are normally consumed for weight loss. Similarly, in India the herbal tea variations involving citrus flavors are sipped for curing various bowel problems.