There are two different forms of brewing tea both are decoctions. When you pour hot water over the herb it is a hot water infusion. Sometimes, though, cold water is poured over the herbs and they are allowed to soak for several hours or overnight and then are heated or boiled, this is a cold water infusion.

Some herbs must be brewed without the use of great heat because of the need to protect certain substances. Wood pieces, roots and bark must be soaked for a considerable amount of time then brought to a boil and simmered for anywhere from three to ten minutes. The thinner and softer the herb part being used the shorter the time needed to extract its essence, likewise the harder or more impenetrable the substance the longer the extraction time.

A general rule of thumb when preparing tea is one to two heaping teaspoonsful of dried herb to one cup of water, depending on how strong you want your tea.

If you are using freshly picked use three times the quantity that you would use with dry and the extraction time will be much shorter because they are quickly penetrated by the water.

Cover the tea pot or cup with a lid or saucer while the tea is brewing. The active ingrediants and essential oils are able to readily escape into the air and need to be contained. Return the drops of condensation back into the vessel when finished steeping. Strain the tea before consuming. Sweeten with honey or sugar if so desired.

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