Today's post is about taking your tea game to the next level. To recap, in case anyone needs a recap of how tea works (you never know...): Tea is made with a very small (1Tbsp max, usually 1-2tsp) amount of plant matter, steeped in boiling water for a very short (5min max) amount of time, and then strained to drink. Here in the United States, we have even less tea culture than in other parts of the world, so even those habits aren't set in stone. I was in my early 20s, living abroad for the first time in South Africa, when I was scolded for leaving my tea bag in my mug for the entire time I was drinking it. It's certainly not the barbaric act my host mother made it sound like, but a shorter steeping time does prevent tea, especially black, green, and white teas, from becoming bitter. This is due to tannins, which are an astringent chemical compound, leeching into the hot water after a longer steep. Tannins are also what make your mouth pucker in red wine and coffee! But this post isn't about tea, it's about tea PLUS. This post is dedicated to Nourishing Herbal Infusions.
Nourishing Herbal Infusions, under that name, were made popular by the herbalist Susun Weed. The concept is so simple, it might surprise you that there's a blog worth of stuff to say about it. Take one ounce of herb, cover it with 1 quart of boiling water, and let it steep for at least four hours, and up to overnight. Strain, and drink throughout the day. That's it! See how it's tea plus? Tea, plus more herb. Tea, plus more water. Tea, plus more time. Tea, plus more nourishment! Here's one of Susun's excellent YouTube videos explaining how to make an overnight infusion:
One more amendment to Susun's approach, and then we can all get brewing: one ounce is a lot of herb, especially for some of our fluffy, leafy plants. Susun has been drinking infusions for decades, and is accustomed to how they taste. If you brew one ounce of nettles, a truly amazing nourisher and basically magical plant that I love and would recommend to anyone, but which tastes a liiiiiiittle bit like swamp water... you might not like it at first. And that's fine. You can start with 1/4 cup and work your way up. Don't beat yourself up if you're not Susun Weed-levels of gung-ho about your infusions. Any amount is better than no amount!
To read a bit more about each of the plants Susun drinks daily, click here. The essay is framed around menopause, but, as Susun says at the beginning of the video above, these plants are for everybody, no matter where you are in your life.
Drink well, friends!