Aromatic plants for self production of herbal teas and decoctions
A small cultivation of aromatics has innumerable advantages. First of all we will always have fresh leaves available to flavor our dishes in a healthy way. However, we will be able to fully exploit their potential by using them for the preparation of herbal teas and decoctions, useful for alleviating minor ailments or simply for a moment of relaxation. Moreover, they are extremely simple to grow and herbaceous shrubs and will require an excessive and constant effort. During the summer we can use them fresh; at the arrival of autumn we will commit ourselves to harvesting and drying so as to have a good amount of it available for the cold season.
How to make infusions and decoctions?
There are many ways to use aromatic and medicinal plants. The simplest preparations at home are infusions and decoctions. An infusion is obtained by pouring a teaspoon of dry product or two fresh products into a cup of boiling water. The decoction instead has the particularity of being able to be applied also to more woody parts such as roots, stems, bark and stiff leaves. For a good result, put about 20 g of dry product (or 40 of fresh product) in a pot; we will add 750 ml of cold water and we will bring it to the boil as slowly as possible, leaving it then for about 10 minutes.
Here are some of the most common plants and their uses
Very common plant in its natural state, known for its unmistakable, sweet and citrusy aroma. In the kitchen it is mainly used raw (or last minute) to give a special touch to salads or at the last minute in omelettes. However, it is an excellent ingredient for herbal teas and decoctions, especially for those suffering from insomnia, headaches and nervousness. It is also used successfully to relieve gastric problems, menstrual pain and neuralgia.
The indication is to make an infusion with 1 tablespoon of leaves in a cup of boiling water, waiting 10 minutes. Let's drink it after meals in case of digestive problems, in the evening before going to bed in case of insomnia. However, we are not exaggerating: instead of calming the symptoms, in large doses you can exacerbate them.
Rosemary is a shrub typical of the Mediterranean basin. Its leaves are almost indispensable in the kitchen to flavor meat and fish dishes, but also cheese and vegetables.
In the field of herbal medicine, essential oils are obtained and the leaves, dry or fresh, are used for herbal teas. They can be used alone or in combination with other plants: for example, the combination with thyme is very common.
It has anti-inflammatory, expectorant properties and is an excellent digestive. It is commonly used but also against anxiety and depression.
The herbal tea is obtained by infusing a tablespoon of fresh or dried leaves in a cup of boiling water. We suggest sweetening slightly, given its bitter taste.
Mint is universally known for its aroma and aroma and has always been used to give freshness to infusions, drinks and various dishes. It also has many medicinal virtues: it is rich in antioxidants and is capable of stimulating digestion and the urinary tract. In winter the dry leaves can be used in combination with thyme, rosemary or sage to fight sore throat and constipation.
To get the maximum aroma and beneficial virtues we recommend leaving it to infuse for a few minutes and cover the cup with a saucer
Sage is a very widespread and very simple shrub: it is an evergreen and its leaves are always fresh at our disposal. In the kitchen it is essential: it goes well with meat, fish, pasta dishes, but it has also been used successfully in confectionery.
In the field of herbal medicine it finds many uses: it is ideal for promoting digestion, but it also has effects on excessive transpiration and on hot flashes related to menopause.
To make an excellent herbal tea we suggest to collect 20 apical leaves and to put them in infusion for ten minutes in boiling water, covering with a saucer. Finally, add a few drops of lemon and, if you like, a sweetener. It is ideal after a meal or before going to sleep.
Aromatic plants for a home production of herbal teas and decoctions: Timo
Aromatic typical of the Mediterranean scrub, it forms a low bush. The leaves are rich in essential oils and are used in the kitchen, particularly in combination with fish dishes and fresh cheeses. Varieties with citrus or slightly spicy scents are also available.
It is however very rich in medicinal virtues and is an indispensable ingredient of natural antiseptics. It is in fact a precious component in syrups against asthma, bronchitis and constipation of the airways.
An excellent infusion can be obtained by placing a few sprigs in 150 ml of hot water and waiting for 10 minutes. We recommend taking it two or three times a day in case of flu, perhaps adding a little ginger and honey.