Tea

Page Summary:
Tea -
A tea is just a weak infusion but should not be regarded as less potent.

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Even some Herbalists confuse a tea with an infusion because they are essentially prepared in the same way (which is pouring boiling water on the dried herb) but a tea is normally drunk while still hot while an infusion is steeped until long after the liquid has cooled.

Some of the same rules apply (see infusion) but there are a few misunderstandings that need to be addressed:

Teas are not necessarily weaker than infusions. They may taste or look weaker but the medicinal effect of a tea is totally dependent on the nature of the constituent that delivers the desired property or properties. Some constituents dissolve freely and fast, others take time. Dosage with tea is therefore just as critical as any other preparation.

Some herbs contain harmful constituents that are often destroyed or rendered safer when heated. A tea that is drunk while still very hot has had less time for this reaction to happen, so it may be more toxic than an infusion while you think it is weaker and therefore safer.

There are some herbal teas that taste good as a tea (chamomile tea comes to mind) but most contain a bitter principle that makes them unpleasant to drink. Most of these can be made reasonably palatable by adding honey or other sweeteners or even mixed with fruit juice or cordial.

Teas should be made soon before consuming as they do not have a long shelf life.

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