herbs for health
Many pharmaceuticals are built off and inspired by the primary structures of proteins found in herbs. However, because they are isolating specific molecules, they often have substantial side effects. The medicinal properties of a plant is more complex than just a single molecule. In many cases, one part of an herb can be slightly toxic, while other proteins within the same herb act as buffers to balance the more harmful alkaloids enabling it to be edible. In general, herbs are much safer and can be taken for a more extended period than that of pharmaceuticals.
Another primary aspect of taking medicinals is how they change the underlying structure of the body. By doing so they do not create a dependance on the body, but rather liberate the body from a specific condition. In Western medicine this is not the case as often times the drugs cause severe side effects that need to be mitigated by other drugs.
Teas are a simple, easy, and delicious way to incorporate herbs into your everyday life. Below are some examples of medicinals that I love.
The general rule of thumb for steeping herbs is as follows:
Flowers: 2-3 minutes
Leaves/Stems: 3-5 minutes
Roots: 5-20 minutes
You can always steep your herbs for longer. The general idea is flowers are more delicate than that of roots, and so do not need as much time to brew. Roots, on the other hand, are thicker and dense in nature, allowing you to cook them at higher temperatures for more extended periods of time to extract the beneficial qualities. Just remember, the longer an herb cooks, the stronger the taste.
Ginger is a great way to increase digestion, warm the body, and decrease nausea or morning sickness.
Fresh ginger will be milder in nature than that of dried and is my preference of choice when making teat. To prepare, peel a piece of ginger (roughly the size of your thumb) with a spoon, removing all the skin. Next, thinly slice the ginger and place in a small pot of water, cover and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, add honey and lemon to taste. The tea can be stored for five days and reboiled several times.
This type of ginger is what you'll find in your average bag of tea. It's been dried, cut then sifted to allow maximum potency. However, for many, this type of ginger can be too warming.
Dried ginger can be steeped for several minutes to create a light, refreshing drink or simmered for 5 minutes to enhance its natural warming and spicy properties.
Tulsi (holy basil)
This tea is not only deliciously aromatic but yields exceptional benefits to the body. Its taste is similar to that of mint but more subtle in flavor. Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, in that it targets and balances the central nervous system. It can be taken in the morning to get going or enjoyed at night to calm down and help with sleep. You can never have too much Tulsi.