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How to get the most out of your herbal tea

Updated: Mar 4

I am passionate about using herbs as medicine and one simple way is through drinking herbal teas. Here are some things to consider when making herbal teas to get the most medicinal value from your herbs.


1.     Quality of the herb: I prefer to use loose-leaf or whole flower teas over those in teabags. Generally speaking, the quality of loose teas is better than those in tea bags, although there are exceptions. Opening up your teabag and looking at the contents will quickly prove whether the contents have structure and colour and a fresh quality or whether they are dull, listless and dusty. Another reason I prefer loose teas is that as someone concerned about the environment, it saves on packaging.


2.     Storage: Keep your herbs in an airtight container in a cool, dry place out of the light.


3.     Dosage: This will vary depending on the herb you are using and the effect you are looking for. I usually prescribe between 1 to 3 tsp per cup of boiling water. I encourage you to experiment to find a dose that gives a flavour that is to your liking.


4.     Steeping/brewing time: Steeping your herb allows the freshly boiled water to pull out the water soluble ingredients from the herbs you are using into the liquid. Steeping times vary depending on the herb you are using. As a general rule, flowers are steeped for 3 to 5 minutes and leaves and stems for 10 to 15 minutes. Tougher woody roots like ginger and turmeric, are better boiled (decocted) for 20 mins or more.


5.     Using a teapot or a teacup with strainer and lid: Covering your tea while it is steeping will prevent the volatile oils from escaping with the steam. Volatile oils, or essential oils, belong to a group of plant compounds that help attract pollinators and defend against insects and herbivores and micro-organisms. These same oils confer beneficial health benefits to humans. At The Microbiome Group we use herbs such as Chamomile for its calming and soothing effect on the digestive system and Thyme for its antimicrobial action. I’ll share more on these and other herbs in a social media post on our Instagram and Facebook profiles. In the meantime, remember to cover your herbal tea while it is steeping to conserve as much of the beneficial volatile oils as possible.


Oh…and one more thing to share. The ritual. Why not have your tea-making be a special part of your day? A time to completely put down what you have been doing and focus on creating a nourishing drink for yourself. Choose a nice teapot and warm it with a little hot water before adding the herbs. Pour freshly boiled water over the herbs and enjoy the fragrance as you cover it. While it is steeping, find yourself a comfortable spot and let go. Perhaps it’s a good time to breathe and reflect on your progress so far today, or a time to gaze out of the window or do a little meditation or journaling. When the time comes, pour your tea into your chosen cup and engage fully with its colour, aroma and taste.


Pictured here is my favourite teapot, and two cups with strainers and lids.

Do you have a favourite teapot or mug that you use for your tea... or coffee for that matter?

Melanie Kulkarni Ad Dip Nat is a registered Naturopath and Microbiome Group Associate. You can book appointments with The Microbiome Group practitioners here.

A white china teapot with fruit patterns and two mugs
Melanie’s favourite teapot





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