I am a nursing mother and I am very concerned about taking any medications for illness. I have used Echinacea very successfully to fight a sinus infection and a bad cold. The Echinacea had no ill effects on my baby or my milk supply. I feel that the herbs helped my body fight the infections better than an antibiotic prescription would have. The antibiotics attack both the good and bad organisms in my body creating the opportunity for thrush or yeast infection in either me or my baby, whereas the herbs help my body rid itself of only the bad organisms and to heal with no worry of any kind of secondary problem. S.E.
Different types of herbs require you to make tea in different ways. The information below outlines the different types of herbs and how to make a tea with them:
Leafy (soft-textured) herbs - use 1 tsp. herb to 1 cup of water. Boil the water. Remove from heat. Add the herb, cover and let steep (let sit) for 10-15 minutes. (The longer you let the herb sit, the more medicinal properties will be released.) Do not boil the herb. Strain the herb matter out and enjoy! This is the "infusion" method. Use this method when using leaves, flowers, aromatic seeds (such as Fennel and Anise) and other more fragile plant parts. You will also use this method when using Goldenseal Root and Valerian Root, as they have a high concentration of volatile oils. You can also use a teaball infuser with leafy herbs, as they require no boiling. Fill the teaball infuser with herb. Place into a hot cup of water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove infuser and enjoy!
Rooty (hard-textured) herbs - use 1 tsp. herb to 1 cup of water. Place the herb in the pot with cold water. Cover, and bring to a low boil. Simmer at a low boil for 15-30 minutes. Strain, and cool to the desired temperature to avoid a burn. Enjoy! This is the "decoction" method. You will use this method when using tougher parts of the plant, such as roots, barks, and non-aromatic seeds. Please note that you do NOT decoct Valerian Root or Fennel. They are an exception to the rule and must be infused instead.
Combination Leafy & Rooty herbs - using only the root part of your tea, make the tea according to the directions under "rooty (hard textured) herbs" above (decoction method). After allowing your tea to simmer at a low boil for 15-20 minutes, remove from heat and then add the leafy part of your tea. Cover and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. Strain and enjoy!
Medicinal - to make a medicinal tea, fill a Ball or Kerr canning jar half full with root or dried herb, or filled to the top with loosely packed fresh herb. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water, cap tightly and let it sit overnight. Strain and enjoy! This method will result in a stronger tea, which is more medicinal in nature than the other methods described above.
Other Helpful Information
- Do not use aluminum or copper pots or utensils when making your teas. All others are fine.
- All teas can be made in large quantities and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- Do not reheat your teas in the microwave! This will kill the medicinal and beneficial qualities.
- You may add honey (never give honey to a child under 1 year of age), lemon, orange, or other flavorings as desired, and you may drink them hot or cold.
- Other companies may recommend a shorter steeping time, but that will only result in a weaker tea.
Using fresh herbs (even if they’re dried - they can still be fresh!) will give you a much better tasting and more effective tea.
Enjoy and have fun with your tea!
written by Pam Caldwell
Certified Herbalist --- Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum & Lactation Specialist