When you begin using herbs, one of the many ways you can enjoy them is by making teas and tisanes. This is simple enough as most herbs can be dried and mixed with green or black tea. Alternatively, they can be taken as a pure tea on their own.
Before you begin brewing, there is a difference between teas and tisanes that it’s important to know. Here are a few key points to help you differentiate between the two.
What Goes Into Herbal Teas and Tisanes
The first and most important aspect that determines if you are making a tea or tisane is the type of material used.
If you are using tea leaves (black, green, white) then you are making or drinking a simple tea. That is, the base of the tea is an actual tea leaf.
To make a the tea ‘herbal’, herbs are added to the tea leaves, usually in dried form. You can also add flowers, or fruits and while they aren’t herbs, it is still called a ‘herbal tea’.
If you are drinking a tea that has been made with no tea leaves and is only a flower, fruit, or an herb then that is a ’tisane’.
Tisanes use no tea leaves and are made from steeping fruit, flowers, or herbs in hot water for a duration of time. The steeping extracts the medicinal properties of that material.
Medicinal Use of Teas and Tisanes
Most herbal teas and tisanes are used to soothe, calm or heal the body in some way. Depending on the herb, flower, fruit or spice added, the effects on the body will be different. The way they are prepared will also make a difference on how effective they are.
For example, you may purchase a chamomile tea that is cut with black tea or green tea. Chamomile tea is generally used to help soothe the body before sleep or help calm an upset stomach. Though it can have medicinal properties, these will be dulled by the use of the tea leaves.
So, if you are using the tea for a strict medicinal purpose then you it is best to use a tisane. This is because you don’t want to reduce the properties of the herb or plant you will be using. It’s important to get the full potency that you can extract. For this reason, a tisane is best.
How To Prepare Herbal Teas and Tisanes
As you can imagine, the preparation for the tea versus that of a tisane is a bit different.
For example, a black tea may take as little as three minutes to brew and steep. A green or white tea takes as little as two minutes.
When you are extracting from an herb, plant, flower, or fruit to get the medicinal properties of that material you may brew for longer.
You want to extract as much as you can.
A tisane is also generally brewed at a lower temperature for a longer period of time before drinking. This is to ensure that you are not actually cooking the material, but instead extracting from it.
One final point. When buying tea leaves or herbal materials for teas and tisanes, make sure to buy the best quality you can afford. Organic is best to ensure they have the greatest medicinal properties.
Now you know the difference between teas and tisanes, it’s time to get brewing.