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Popularly, drinks that are made with herbs placed in boiling water are called "teas", however, only one type of plant produces true tea. Tea is the beverage prepared from the Camellia sinensis plant, which can give rise to green tea, black tea, yellow tea or red tea, for example, depending on when the plant is harvested.
All other preparations that are not made with Camellia sinensis are actually called infusions or decoctions. Infusions are made using the most fragile parts of the plant, such as leaves or flowers, while decoctions are prepared using the hardest parts, such as bark or roots.Depending on whether it is an infusion or decoction, the time and method of preparation also vary.
See below how to properly prepare a tea, an infusion or a decoction:
1. How to make tea
Teas are always prepared with the Camellia sinensis plant that gives rise to green, black, yellow, blue or oolong teas, white tea and the so-called dark tea, also known as red tea or pu-erh.
The type of tea varies according to when the plant is harvested, as well as where it was planted. To know that you are using the correct type of Camellia sinensis, it is best to buy the leaves of the plant in a he alth food store, for example.
How to: Just add the Camellia sinensis leaves to a cup of boiling water, cover and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The longer the leaves sit, the stronger the flavor of the tea and the more compounds are present in the water.Finally, it is only necessary to strain, let it cool and drink the tea.
2. How to make infusion
Infusion is a drink prepared with the most fragile parts of plants other than Camellia sinensis, such as chamomile, lemon balm, dandelion or horsetail, for example. This technique preserves the essential oil of plants and is normally used to prepare "teas" from ground leaves, flowers and fruits.
How to: bring the water to a boil and, as soon as the first bubbles are formed, turn off the heat. Pour boiling water over dry or fresh plants, smother and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Finally, strain and drink.
3. How to prepare decoction
The decoction is made when the plant is boiled together with water, which is usually necessary to do with parts of the plant that are harder and more resistant, such as the roots or bark, for example.
How to: add the hard parts of the plant in a pan with water and let it boil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the water becomes darker and aromatic. Then, turn off the heat, cover the pan and let it cool.
Be careful when preparing teas, infusions or decoctions
The main care when preparing a drink with medicinal plants is always to have the guidance of a phytotherapist, doctor or other he alth professional accustomed to the use of plants. This is because the use of medicinal plants can bring several he alth benefits, but it can also be quite dangerous, especially when the plant is used incorrectly or in doses higher than those indicated.
The ideal is always to consult a professional before using any type of plant, to know which part of the plant to use, how much and how many times to consume per day.