Young Woman preparing her winter tea and welcoming new day©GettyImages
Tea Tips

How to get the most out of herbal teas

With the huge variety on offer, there are bound to be some you want to try.

Health food shops have always been full of herbal teas -often called tisanes or infusions - and now many supermarkets have shelves full of them too. They offer all sorts of benefits, from better digestion to better sleep. You can buy tea bags, loose teas, or even make your own mixtures with fresh or dried herbs, plants and spices.

Whatever your choice, you want to make sure you’re using the tea in the right way, so that you reap all the health benefits while avoiding possible pitfalls.

Pharmacist Meritxell Martí shared some key do’s and don’t points to keep in mind.

The do’s for making herbal teas

Do: Make sure the water is boiling.

Do: Let it stand for around four minutes - long enough for the effective ingredients to be extracted, but not so long that the tea will taste too strong.

Do: Drink straight away, because with time the active ingredients tend to settle to the bottom as sediment.

Cup of herbal tea from the leaves of passiflora on rustic background.©GettyImages

Do: Consider what and how much you are taking. Plant ingredients can be as active as drugs, so we should take care when consuming them. This is especially important when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do: Be aware of any possible interactions with medicines you are taking.

Three don’ts to remember when making herbal teas

Don’t: Combine herbs whose effects act against each other, for example, mixing an energizing plant like mate or ginseng with a relaxing one like lemon balm or passionflower.

Don’t: Drink infusions just before bedtime. You may think they’re relaxing you, but many are diuretics, so will force you to get up at night to go to the bathroom. It’s better to drink them at least an hour and a half before going to bed.

Don’t: Add sugar. You’re just adding calories, with no nutritional benefit.

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