What is tea? All tea ~ white, green, black, yellow, oolong ~ comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Everything else referred to as ‘tea’, is not! Herbal ‘teas’ are actually Tisanes (the French word for ‘herbal infusion’).
Tisanes are made from the fresh or dried leaves, bark, roots, seeds, fruits and flowers of various plants ~ other than Camellia sinensis.
There is a marked difference in the brewing process of teas and Tisanes. Green tea for example, needs water that has cooled down from the boil and a steeping time between half a minute and two minutes. If the water is too hot, or the steeping time to long, your tea will become bitter.
Tisanes on the other hand need water that has just boiled, and the steeping time (depending on the herb) is anything between four and fifteen minutes. Both the boiling water and the length of steeping, release the aroma and the health properties of the herb.
Tea contains caffeine ~ the different colours have different amounts (1) ~ whereas generally Tisanes are caffeine free. (There are some exceptions though, such as yerba mate and cacao, so if you are caffeine sensitive, please check with your herbalist first.)
Two examples of flavoursome and highly beneficial Tisanes are Chamomile and Rooibos.
Chamomile is a calming, soothing herb, highly beneficial for both the nervous and digestive systems ~ making it a lovely after dinner or before bedtime drink (2).
It also has excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. And because it contains ‘spiroether’ (a strong antispasmodic) it is extremely effective at alleviating tired muscles, cramps generally, pre-menstrual cramps, and overall tension. Comforting, nurturing and aromatic, a Chamomile Tisane is a delightful addition to a relaxing day.
Rooibos is a Tisane brewed from an indigenous herb grown in South Africa.
It is high in minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
It contains a flavonoid called ‘chrysoeriol’ which improves blood circulation and reduces high blood pressure. It is wonderful for heart health generally, is an anti-inflammatory and is currently being used as a supplement for treating diabetes and cancer (3 and 4).
Please note: I do not offer the above as instruction, only as information. Always check with your doctor or health practitioner for any ailment you may have.
Of course there is also hibiscus, lavender, ginger, peppermint, lemon balm, lemongrass, Echinacea (5), holy basil, milk thistle, dandelion, fennel, raspberry, rosehip… so many Tisanes, so many blogs, tis a busy little life isn’t it, but I will get to them eventually…
In the meantime, in amongst blissfully sipping green tea, you may want to add Tisanes. They are part of the healing power of herbs, and a soothing, enjoyable way to help sustain the energy of your body, mind and spirit. ~ GreenWitch Tea
If it is the greatest truth that you seek, the plants can direct you. ~Goethe