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Making Your Own Tea Garden: A Señora's Infusions and Decoctions

Posted by Ann Dunning on
Making Your Own Tea Garden: A Señora's Infusions and Decoctions

Making tea from herbs grown in your own garden is such a wonderful way to enjoy the benefits of fresh, natural ingredients. Not only does it taste great, but it's also a way to connect with nature and take advantage of the healing properties of plants.

Señoras of the past relied on teas to guide their days: when they awoke, it wasn't necessarily coffee first thing in the morning - it was un tecito. Some of them had their own tea garden

If you haven't, and if you're a lover of tea, a tea garden is absolutely something you need to start. Chamomile, mint and other tea's that you're probably a fan are also some of the easiest things to plant. You can even grow them inside an apartment, in a warm, dry place, with lots of light. 

What do you do once your tea garden has a "harvest" and your little flowers are in full bloom or your leaves look ready? You can either use the infusion or decoction method. 

Herbal infusions and decoctions are two different methods of extracting the beneficial compounds from herbs. Both have their own unique benefits and uses, and understanding the difference between the two can help you make the most of your herbal creations.

Herbal Infusions

An herbal infusion is made by steeping herbs in hot water for a certain period of time. This method is best for extracting the volatile oils and delicate compounds found in herbs such as chamomile, mint, and lemon balm. To make an herbal infusion, simply add your desired herbs to a teapot or infuser, pour hot water over them, and let them steep for 5-10 minutes.

Herbal Decoctions

On the other hand, a decoction is a method of extracting the beneficial compounds from harder, woody, or roots herbs. This method involves simmering the herbs in water for a longer period of time, usually around 20-30 minutes. Decoctions are best for extracting the medicinal compounds found in herbs such as ginger, turmeric, and licorice root.

Here's a recipe for thyme and marshmallow tea - a decoction that's delicious but that can also help soothe sore throat from the cold and dry air conditioning. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of dried or fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of dried or fresh marshmallow root
  • 4 cups of water
  • Honey (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a pot, combine the thyme and marshmallow root.
  2. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and let it steep for another 10 minutes.
  5. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  6. If desired, add honey to sweeten the decoction.
  7. Drink the decoction warm.

To sum up, herbal infusions and decoctions are two different methods of extracting the beneficial compounds from herbs. Both have their own unique benefits and uses, and understanding the difference between the two can help you make the most of your herbal remedies. Herbal infusions are best for extracting the volatile oils and delicate compounds found in herbs, while decoctions are best for extracting the medicinal compounds found in harder, woody, or root herbs.

What are your favorite teas to plant? 

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