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Brewing Medicinal Strength Tea

Updated: Feb 4

We all know a soothing cup of tea can be a comforting part of a healthy routine. But did you know that when it comes to brewing tea for medicinal purposes, we want to make sure it's prepared correctly in order to get a potent, rich brew that will maximize benefits.

Forget the flimsy teabags, we're making seriously strong teas here!

Choose Your Extraction Method:

  • Infusion: This gentle method is ideal for delicate herbs like leaves, flowers, and aerial parts of plants. Simply pour just-boiled water over the herbs, cover, and let it steep for at least 20 minutes, or longer if desired. Aim for 4 hours or even overnight for a super-potent brew. This preserves fragile aromatics that can be damaged by boiling.

  • Decoction: If you're working with tougher herbs like barks, seeds, and some berries, opt for a decoction. Here, simmer the herbs in water for at least 20 minutes, or longer, to break down their cell walls and extract the potent medicinal compounds within.

If your medicinal tea has a mixture of roots and leaves, decoct (simmer) the root/seeds/berries first for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and add the aromatic herbs and let the infusion begin.

Go big:

  • Dried herbs: We typically use a 1:4 ratio for dried herbs, meaning 1 ounce (roughly ½ cup) of dried herbs per quart (4 cups) of water.

  • Fresh herbs: Fresh herbs generally have less concentrated medicinal properties than dried herbs. Therefore, you'll typically need to use 2-3 times more fresh herbs compared to dried. So, for 1 quart of water, you might use 2-3 ounces (1-1.5 cups) of fresh herbs.

As a personal preference, I typically use dried herbs rather than fresh when I need a potent remedy. Since fresh herbs are already fully hydrated, the hot water has a harder time breaking down the cell wall of the plant, and the resulting tea usually looks and tastes lighter to me, even if I up the amount.

Strain and Drink Throughout the Day:

Once strained, the quart of water will be closer to two cups. This brew of medicinal strength tea is intended to be consumed throughout the day.

Remember, true strength often comes with a unique flavor! Medicinal teas, brewed to harness the full power of the herbs, may taste different from the familiar blends designed for pure enjoyment. Embrace the earthy, robust, or often bitter notes as a sign of the potent goodness within. 

If you don't finish the tea within the day, prioritize freshness and safety whenever possible and refrigerate what remains. Discard after 48 hours.


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