What is a Tisane?

Tisane Herbal Tea

Tisane is the common term for any plant that is blended in boiling water to make hot refreshment – what is typically referred to as herbal tea. Although true tea can only originate from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which creates black tea, oolong tea, white tea and green tea; tisanes can be made from dried herbs, roots, nuts, flowers, and other natural flavors. Since the beginning of recorded time, Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Chinese civilizations have regularly enjoyed tisanes for their diverse flavors as well as their holistic medicinal properties.

Some types of tisanes include:

  • Herbal – Made from the leaves: mint, verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, etc
  • Bark – Made from the bark of a plant: slippery elm, black cherry bark, cinnamon, etc
  • Fruit/Berry – Made from fruits: apple, peach, blueberry, raspberry, rose hips, etc
  • Flower – Made from flower petals: hibiscus, chamomile, lavender, rose, etc
  • Root – Made from the root of the plant: chicory, echinacea, ginger, etc
  • Seed/Spice – Made from seeds: fennel, caraway, cardamom, etc

There are two approaches to preparing tisanes:

Decoction

This includes steeping the plants using the same techniques commonly used to brew teas.  Extended boiling time of 10+ minutes may be need for bark, root and seed tisanes in order to to extricate a greater amount of the flavor.

Infusion

This includes leaving plants in water for an extended amount of time with or without boiling. Herbs, fruits, and flowers can be infused without boiling, if sealed in a container with water and left to “cold brew” for 4 – 10 hours.

Caution

Despite the many benefits associated to tisanes, a few herbs can react adversely with medicines or can aggravate per-existing medical conditions.  It is there advisable to seek doctor’s advice before taking tisanes.

Drink to your health

What’s you favorite tisane?

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