Our ancient ancestors developed remarkable medicinal solutions from nature. One of those was herbal teas.
Herbal teas involve an infusion of certain leaves, roots or bark in hot water to leach out certain chemicals and nutrients that have curative or medicinal value.
The symptoms and benefits we’ll address include:
- Immune support
An infusion is simply a combination of hot water with a source material like dried leaves or stems. The boiling temperature for water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. An infusion starts at 211 degrees. Typically, a blend of crushed leaves or greens are soaked for three to five minutes to create the tea or infusion. Anything can be added to this infusion, from honey to sugar to salt. It’s up to you.
Many infusions require you to dry the leaves or stems. This can be done in the sun or with a food dehydrator. This will give you a combination that looks like tea leaves.
With the exception of natural pain relievers like infused willow bark, most natural remedies take some time to show benefits. This is also true for many manufactured pharmaceuticals. The key is to stay the course and don’t expect that one cup is going to make everything alright. Healing takes time, regardless of the medicine; be patient and vigilant.
It’s difficult to know the exact amounts of source material to add to the water. That’s because the concentration of natural compounds in any wild herb or plant varies depending on moisture, temperature and soil. It’s best to start with a weaker solution and increase concentrations as symptoms appear to be relieved.
Here are some popular backyard plants that can be infused:
1. Hyssop or wild mint. This is an anti-viral decoction that is more of a preventative measure, but it can help if you have a cold or flu. Once again, this is not a cure, but it can help with symptoms and offset the advance of an illness.
2. Wild sage (purple sage). This plant covers the prairies across North America. It is a proven anti-inflammatory when infused into a tea. Dry the leaves and crush and soak in the infusion.
3. Willow bark. All willow trees contain a chemical element called “salicin.” It’s the active ingredient in aspirin. The white willow has the highest concentrations in the inner bark. When infused into a tea, this makes for a potent pain reliever. Use in moderation as you learn about the proper dosages.
4. Red clover. This one is easy to spot, and its signature three-leaves and the clover flowers are quite common. As an infused tea, this is a great treatment for coughs and colds. A little honey, maple syrup or sugar tops it off as a natural cough medicine.
5. Sweet violet. They come in colors ranging from white to purple, and the flowers are not only edible but make a great tea when dried in the sun or a food dehydrator. The tea has a natural sweetness and often was used by Native Americans as a treatment for headaches and muscle pain. A little bit of honey helps, but the sweetness of the flowers can suffice.
6. Burdock. The roots of the burdock plant are used to make an infusion when dried. The leaves and stems also can be used, but the roots have the highest concentration of elements that function as a diuretic and blood cleanser.
What plants would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below: