Herbal Teas

How to make your own infusions at home. Homemade herbal infusions, or teas, are simple, cheap and effective remedies for a range of ailments.

How to make them

1. Select an appropriate herb. Organic (pesticide-free) ones are best. Those from gardens, hedgerows or window boxes are fine if they haven’t been exposed to car fumes.

2. Pick the leaves and chop finely or shred by hand.

3. Place one to two heaped teaspoons in a china cup and fill it with freshly boiled water.

4. Leave to infuse for five minutes, then drink slowly.

You can add a teaspoon of honey as a sweetener, if desired. If you’re taking the infusion for medicinal purposes, repeat three to four times a day.

Some herbal infusions
  • Thyme – pull some leaves off the stalk and infuse as above. Good for easing congestion and may be used to ward off colds.
  • Ginger – cut three or four slices of peeled, fresh root ginger. Chop one teaspoon finely, then infuse as above. Improves circulation and relieves sore throats.
  • Feverfew – select two or three small leaves and chop or shred and infuse. Reduces fevers and eases migraine.
  • Garlic – chop one clove finely and infuse. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties help to ward off infection. It also improves circulation and can benefit the cardiovascular system.
  • Peppermint – chop or shred three to four peppermint leaves and infuse. Aids digestion and freshens breath.
  • Valerian – chop or shred four to five fresh leaves and infuse as above. Has a relaxing effect and eases anxiety and insomnia.
  • Parsley – select three to four small heads of fresh parsley, chop finely and infuse. This herb is rich in minerals and naturally diuretic, so relieves water retention.
  • Nettle – take three to four young leaves (use gloves when picking), chop and infuse. Nettle is rich in trace elements and minerals, and promotes healthy nails, skin, hair and bones. It also has a diuretic effect.

This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Stephen Hopwood in April 2009.