This is obviously the most universal method of using herbs, but many people are not aware of their powerful healing power. Teas are a direct way of getting medicine into your system in a fast efficient manner. Just the act of preparing and drinking your own tea sets you on the path of self-healing. They are especially effective in righting long term conditions or imbalances such as osteoporosis, weak immune system, or digestive issues, but are very helpful for acute issues such as coughs, fevers, and headaches.
I like to make tea in quart jars so it is easy to grab throughout the day. Drinking one cup four times a day is usually the preferred dose. This gives your body a chance to absorb the healing properties over time. Herb teas will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Drink cold or warm on the stove top-never in a microwave!
When using dried leaves, the typical rule of thumb is 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water, though depending on the strength or weakness of the herb, this may vary from ¼ teaspoon to 3 tablespoons. If you are unsure when using herbs that are new to you, information is readily available. Lobelia and valerian, for example, can cause nausea and should be used sparingly. Some herbs such as goldenseal, shepherd’s purse, and Echinacea are quite bitter, so you will want to use small amounts and combine them with more palatable flavors. The simplest method is to pour a quart of hot water into a jar with four herbal tea bags.
It is usually recommended to steep the tea for 3-5 minutes, however, when I drink a tea containing roots or bark, such as ginger or cinnamon, I leave them in my jar much longer to release all of the flavor and healing properties.
Some herbs are not recommended for long term use for a variety of reasons. Echinacea, for example, loses its effectiveness when taken over a long period of time. A general rule of thumb when ingesting herbs would be 5 days on and 2 days off. Check with a doctor if you are taking other medication to make sure the herbs are not counteracting its effect. It is important to only use organic or wild crafted herbs that are not growing in contaminated areas, as you don’t want to be adding toxins to your body!