An herbal tea, tisane, or ptisan is an herbal infusion made from anything other than the leaves of the tea bush (Camellia sinensis). Typically, herbal tea is simply the combination of boiling water and dried fruits, flowers or herbs. Herbal tea has been imbibed for nearly as long as written history extends. Documents have been recovered dating back to as early as Ancient Egypt and Ancient China that discuss the enjoyment and uses of herbal tea. Among Chinese, herbal tea is commonly known as liong cha (Cantonese) or liang cha (Mandarin).
The English word "tisane" originates from the Greek word πτισάνη (ptisanē), a drink made from pearl barley.
Herbal teas can be made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots, generally by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. Seeds and roots can also be boiled on a stove. The tisane is then strained, sweetened if so desired, and served. Many companies produce herbal tea bags for such infusions.
Flavored teas are prepared by adding other plants to an actual tea (black, oolong, green, yellow, or white tea); for example, the popular Earl Grey tea is black tea with bergamot, jasmine tea is Chinese tea with jasmine flowers, and genmaicha is a Japanese green tea with toasted rice.
Varieties of herbal teas are practically limitless, but include:
- Anise tea, made from either the seeds or the leaves.
- Artichoke tea.
- Roasted barley tea, known in Japanese as mugicha and Korean as bori cha. The roasted flavor can be reminiscent of coffee (without coffee's bitterness and caffeine). It is often drunk cold in the summer.
- Bee Balm
- Boldo, used in South America to calm upset stomachs.
- Cannabis tea, used in the preparation of Bhang.
- Caraway tea, made from the seeds is used as a remedy for colic, loss of appetite and digestive disorders.
- Catnip tea is used as a relaxant, sedative, and to calm.
- Che Dang, very bitter tea made from Ilex causue leaves.
- Coffee tea leaves and coffee cherry tea are herbal teas made using the leaves and cherries of the coffea plant; in coffee the coffee beans (seeds) are instead used.
- Cerasse, a bitter Jamaican herb.
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