When it comes to brewing the most amazing, healing cup of herbal tea, it’s important that you start with the best possible herbs. Plants were once alive, and even in their fully dried state they are quite delicate and susceptible to damage, contamination, and loss of potency and flavor. When you know how to choose herbs for tea that are of the highest quality, you’ll end up with a more active and enjoyable herbal tea brew that will deliver the flavor, color, aroma, and healing properties that will keep you smiling. Today, I’d like to share a few basic points with you that will help you always select the very best herbs so that every cup of tea you brew will be the very best.
The first and possibly most important step in choosing the right herbs for tea is going organic. Organic herbs have been grown in clean, natural soil without the use of harmful or toxic pesticides. This is important because herbs are extremely delicate and easily absorb anything that gets sprayed on them. Organic herbs ensure that when you brew your herbal tea blends you are only drinking pure plant medicine goodness without anything your body won’t like.
Ethics Are Integral
While most herbs are grown on dedicated farms, some are wild harvested or imported from foreign lands. Before you buy herbs, take some time to research the company that supplies them and ensure that they only use fair trade practices, ethical harvesting practices that honor the lands where wild herbs grow, and other important aspects of keeping people and places healthy and respected. For more information on what fair trade is all about, look here.
Many herbs, especially those that have traveled via mail, may be subject to irradiation. This is no good. Irradiation is meant to kill off any bacteria, mold, fungus, or other things that tend to show up where plants are, but when it comes to medicinal herbs an irradiated product is simply not worth using. Working with a reputable herbal supply company means that they go above and beyond to harvest, dry, and store their herbs which is what we want to do to cut down on any foreign matter getting to them.
The Whole Story
While many herbal tea enthusiasts swear by buying pre-pulverized or powdered herbs, it’s really a loss in the end. Powdered herbs have an increased surface area which leads to the evaporation and decay of volatile healing oils, breakdown of color and aroma, and possible damage to essential healing elements in the plants. Whole herbs are more protected and tend to break down much slower. Crushing your herbs as you bag or brew them is a great way to open up their full potency while keeping them fresh up until the moment you use them. Some herbal tea companies have started to crush and bag the herbs they use in their blends as they are ordered. This is a great option and something I fully support!
In addition to knowing about the healing properties, folk and traditional remedial uses, and other information about the herbs you use in tea, it’s also wise to cultivate an actual relationship with them. Take time to see what the herbs you use look like when they are growing in the ground. Learn about where the thrive, how they like to be treated, how they’ve been worked with over time, and how they’ve been studied and used in modern times. I’ve found that cultivating a friendship with the healing herbs you use most in tea actually opens you up to receive their gifts more fully.