Perhaps you already know the difference between ‘true tea’ and tisanes, and that tisane just means ‘herbal tea’ or ‘herbal infusion.’ Did you know infusions or tisanes
are one of the best ways for your body to accept help. These natural herbs are very effective in boosting the immune system, increasing the body resistance to infections, healing allergies, and raising and renewing the body vitality. Herbs are not like pharmaceuticals, they act more gently and on a deeper level, but need to be taken daily (3 times is best) and consistently to really reap the benefits.
There are a wide variety of categories of herbs to help the body. Nourishing herbs provide high-level nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, proteins, phytoestrogens and phytosterols, to name a few. They may generally be taken in any quantity for any period of time. Side-effects. even from excessive use, are quite rare. It is generally considered safe to use nourishing herbs in water bases with prescription drugs. Nourishing /nutritive herbs can be easily integrated to an already established herbal routine. Tonifying herbs act slowly in the body and have a cumulative, rather than immediate, effect. Adaptogens are herbs that help us face and handle stress as it happens. These herbs restore overall balance and strengthen the functioning of the body as a whole without impacting the balance of an individual organ or body system. Alteratives have an herbal action often secondary or tertiary to another action within the same botanical. Alteratives can support your body’s own natural processes and help restore proper elimination and other functions. They help to keep us healthy and restore vitality. Astringents are herbs that dry, draw, or shrink tissue, which helps to create a barrier. You may know it’s an astringent if you feel that “puckered” feeling. Topical astringents can be used to help pull out splinters and tone the skin and can have a protective effect (thanks to the tannins present in many astringents). Internally, astringent herbs help to tone mucus membranes and dry up conditions of excess. Bitters are herbs that help stimulate appetite and digestion by encouraging the production of gastric fluids and peristalsis. Nervines are herbs that specifically support the nervous system. Many times, nervines are calming. Calming nervines can ease the worry we all experience from time to time and can be helpful for occasional sleepless nights. Carminative herbs are often aromatic and help to keep our digestive systems happy by reducing or preventing excess gas. Diaphoretic herbs help raise your body temperature to make you sweat, which stimulates circulation and can also cool the body through increased perspiration. Simply put, diuretics are herbs that help you urinate. Expectorants are herbs that encourage productive coughing by breaking up mucus in the lungs and expelling it more effectively. Some expectorants are mucilaginous or soothing, while others can be irritating or stimulating. Demulcents are herbs that are mucilaginous or oily and produce a “goo” that coats, soothes, and protects mucus membranes. This slime action triggers a reflex that helps promote natural moistening secretions within the body. Best extracted as an infusion in water rather than in alcohol tincture form.
Yes, it’s amazing how extensive the powers of herbs are, wouldn’t you say? So, after that mouthful, how do we get the benefits easily into our food? This is a little study that is a companion or addendum to the Cooking with Herbs 101 class and culinating booklet where there are more guides and simple recipes.
What follows is a guide to put all this together. You can use it to simply drink certain teas with the foods as a meal or put the herbs in the boiling water for pasta, etc., in the last five minutes. You can crush the dried herbs or chop fresh herbs to use in sauces, or sprinkle over or rub into foods before cooking. They are especially great to add to vinegar and oil dressings.
In summary, we got great reviews on the Cooking with Herbs 101 Class we ran at the Missoula Valley Winter Market, so this inspired me to take things one step further so people could really have a practical way to experience the benefits of incorporating all herbs into their lives. You can have the culinating booklet for your kitchen counter here:
The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D. 1997 Rodale Press
The Complete Book of Herbs by Andi Clevely & Katherine Richmond 1994 Smithmark Publishing Inc.
Guide to Basic Herbal Actionsblog.mountainroseherbs.com
Various Google searches on foods for each concern