Collecting wild herbs or growing them in your garden and harvesting them for making medicines can be very rewarding and uplifting. If you don’t have access to fresh plants, dried herbs are available or choose from the many brands of herbal teas available. My favourite herbal teas are the Pukka tea selection.
Herbal infusions are simple water-based preparations that extract the medicinal properties of herbs, used either fresh or dried.
When we make a herbal infusion, the water-soluble phytochemicals are extracted from the herbal material and may exert a very gently action on the body.
Infusions are best prepared with the non-woody parts of the plant, generally the leaves and flowers. They are more often enjoyed hot especially if you are treating a cold or a fever.
It you are treating the urinary tract or have a gastric reflux issue I would recommend drinking your tea look warm or cold. There are also certain plants that need to be infused with cold water, such as marshmallow. This herb contains a lot of mucilage which dissolves very easily in water.
Woody plant material may need to be prepared on a high heat and simmered for a while to extract the phytochemicals. Barks, seeds, roots and rhizomes are all examples. We call this a decoction.
One of my favourite herbs to use in my herbal tea blends is chamomile. Both Roman chamomile and German chamomile are native to Europe. Chamomile is known as a nervine properties or sedative effects.
Phytochemicals include volatile oils, flavonoids, coumarins, fatty acids, cyanogenic glycosides, choline and tannins.
What action do all of these phytochemicals have on the body?
Did you know that chamomile tea is great for the digestive system? It is well known in Europe to give cold chamomile tea to babies to relieve colic and digestive upset.
Chamomile has mild bitter properties, helping to stimulate bile flow and aid digestion.
Chamomile is good for the immune system and has a mild antibacterial action.
It is however best known for calming anxiety, promoting sleep.
My favourite tea from BodeWell Botanicals is my ‘Dream tea”. This tea contains a gentle blend of nervine herbs to help the mind relax. This can be consumed day or night. Daytime as a relaxing ritual or in the evening as part of your bedtime routine.