Tisane: Herbal Teas
A steeped or brewed drink can be created from the leaves of many different plants, especially herbs. These are commonly called herb teas, but technically they are not "teas" because they are not made with any part of the Camellia sinensis plant. These types of herbal concoctions are called "tisane" (pronounced tizzann).
A North American favorite is blackberry tea. This can be made from dried blackberry leaves, but is also often flavored with dried blackberries. Raspberry leaves can also be dried and have a very tea-like flavor - without the caffeine. It is thought that raspberry tea should not be consumed by pregnant women because it is supposed to relax the uterus.
Chamomile Tea is made from the flowers of the chamomile plant which can often be found growing in the yard (those yards which have not been sprayed with herbicides), and is often grown in gardens for use in making tea. The tea is very easily made by adding two or three teaspoons of dried leaves to a cup. Add hot water and steep for three minutes. The blossoms can be removed by straining. Many people like to add sugar or honey to sweeten. Chamomile tea is thought to help induce sleep and help digestion. It is related to ragweed so allergic reactions are possible.
Of course, a variety of flower petals and herbs can be used to make tisane, from rose pedals to cilantro. Those making their own, however, should take care that the leaves or flowers of plants used are eatable. For example wisteria flowers and rhubarb leaves are both poisonous.
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