So your herbal tea has arrived! Now you’re probably wondering two things: What’s the best way to prepare it? And how long will it take to feel the benefits? (assuming it’s medicinal in nature).
In this post we'll answer some of the common questions we get, including:
- What is the history of herbal tea?
- How do you prepare herbal tea?
- How long until you feel the benefits from medicinal tea?
- How can you set the scene around your herbal tea?
Our herbal tea guide has everything you need to make herbal tea drinking a positive and sustainable addition to your daily routine....
The History of Herbal Tea
Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is tea? Tea is any beverage prepared by soaking plants in hot water. We can divide teas into two types. The first is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The second, also known as tisanes or herbal teas, are infusions made from any other plant or plant parts - think fruits, leaves, roots, seeds, flowers or even bark. Herbal teas have been enjoyed around the world for thousands of years - for their flavour and their health benefits.
Around 2000 years ago, scholars published the first Chinese book on pharmacology called Shen Nong’s Materia Medica. It detailed the second type of tea above, with 365 plants and their medical properties. Ever since, the list of medicinal plants has been expanding.
Extracting the Beneficial Properties from Herbal Tea
Each herbal tea provides different benefits depending on its ingredients. There are steps you can take to maximise these.
To get the best benefits from your tea, it’s important to:
- Choose quality herbal blends with carefully selected, quality ingredients. If you have a Zen Maitri tea, we've done the hard work on this part for you!
- Learn how to brew tea properly and drink it while it’s still fresh.
- Create a mindful tea drinking habit.
- Store your tea in a dark, cool place - preferably in an airtight container away from strong odours and moisture. This will prolong its lifespan and maintain the potency of each ingredient.
The Perfect Cup: How to Brew Herbal Tea
Brewing herbal tea is easy…
- Bring fresh spring water to a boil
Water quality and mineral content play an important role in preparing a perfect cup. They may enhance the flavour and extraction rate of different nutrients. Don’t boil more water than you need.
- Preheat your teapot or a mug with hot water (before rinsing)
Preheating your teapot or a mug will help maintain the water temperature and extract more nutrients.
- Use a proper loose herbs/water ratio
Measure 1 teaspoon of loose herbs per cup of water (around 200 ml) or follow the instructions on the packaging. Using the right herbs:water ratio will help you infuse the right amount of nutrients.
- Cover and steep for 5 minutes
Add boiling water and cover with a lid or a saucer. Covering your teapot or mug will help maintain the water temperature. 5 minutes will be enough brewing time for most herbal teas.
- Strain and enjoy while fresh
To prevent over-brewing and avoid any potential bitterness, strain the herbs once the infusion is ready. Enjoy it when it’s freshly brewed. Infused tea may lose its potency as it cools down.
How Quickly Will You Feel the Benefits?
There are more than 50,000 plants that offer medicinal properties. Some have immune-boosting benefits, some are natural sedatives. With so much variety in the natural world, professional medical herbalists are on hand to determine the perfect ratio of ingredients and create a functional blend.
Each blend may take different time to show efficiency. Some teas may offer results immediately, while others could take a few weeks or even a few months or regular use.
For example, some benefits you will see immediately are:
- An energy boost from green tea or ginseng
- Cough relief within 10 minutes of drinking marshmallow root
- Same day relief from nausea when drinking ginger
Some benefits you will see after a few weeks or months are:
- Improved sleep after a week or so of drinking a tea with passionflower
- Better sleep quality with long term chamomile tea
- Improved immunity when you incorporate tulsi into your routine
Blends that contain different ingredients may offer both immediate and long-term results. For example, a blend of ingredients in our Night Time Tea helps you wind down right after drinking, but it will also improve the quality of your sleep in the longer term.
Teas that ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and immunity need longer to show their effectiveness. Introducing these teas into your daily routine for the long term is the best way to see results.
So how do you turn a tea with medicinal properties into a seamless part of your routine?
Creating the Perfect Environment for Drinking Tea
We know, it’s hard to find time for yourself. But developing a routine of mindful tea drinking is the perfect place to start.
Put simply, mindfulness means being present in both mind and body and noticing the world around you. Building a routine around your tea drinking can help you develop a habit of being present and in the moment. Here are some straightforward steps…
1. Find the perfect spot
You can drink tea anywhere, but we recommend a tidy, peaceful space that will help you relax.
2. Choose a perfect time
If you want to incorporate mindful tea drinking into your daily routine, find a time and stick to it. The best times are when you won’t be distracted. Early in the morning or late in the evening are perfect. Developing a mindful tea ritual can be a building block to having a better day, every day.
3. Choose your teaware with care
It may sound trivial, but why not choose a mug that’s just for you and your mindful tea moments?
4. Take time to follow brewing instructions
Don’t skip any steps. Immerse yourself in the scent, beauty and colour of the blend and allow yourself to taste each sip. Notice how it makes you feel.
5. Be greatful
Your tea moments can be so much more than a tasty or medicinal infusion. Why not use the time to be mindful about the things you are grateful for. Studies suggest that simple gratitude exercises can make you happier and improve your mental wellbeing.
Now it's over to you...
In this short guide, we’ve covered all the steps you need to live a better and healthier life with tea. Now it’s your turn to start incorporating these steps into your daily routine...