I don’t know about you, but my mint has grown so out of control that I am pulling it out at every opportunity. Since I don’t want to waste it, I’ve decided to dry some and make my own tea using directions from The Herbalist’s Way, by Nancy and Michael Phillips. I am especially eager to learn how to make my own medicinal dry tea powders. If you are, too, here is how to make them:
The dry tea method creates an herbal product that is alcohol-free and lasts a long time. These concentrated powders can easily be made at home or in the local apothecary/pharmacy. Dry tea powders are quite concentrated: Just ½ teaspoon is equal to 5 teaspoons of the dried herb. The finished powders can be added to smoothie drinks or juice or sprinkled on food. Using fresh herbs is ideal, but powders can be made with dry herbs as well.
Highly nutritional herbs such as nettles, dandelion, hawthorn, and alfalfa, and tonic herbs such as Siberian ginseng, codonopsis, and astragalus are effectively prepared this way. Depending on the herb, one teaspoon taken two or three times daily is a general medicinal dosage.
Renowned herbalist Christopher Hobbs recommends preparing a dry tea powder this way:
1. Use chopped fresh herbs, cut and sifted dry leafy herbs, or freshly ground powdered roots.
2. Simmer herbs and water for two to four hours on very low heat. Use one part fresh herb to two parts water, or one part dry herb to five parts water.
3. Take half of the plant matter out at this time and press. Return any liquid to the pot and compost the marc.
4. Simmer the remains down to half the volume if you started with fresh herbs, or 20 percent of the original volume if you started with dry herbs.
5. Blend the remaining plant material and liquid to a creamy consistency. If this seems too thin, simmer longer.
6. Brush a thin coat of organic olive oil inside a glass baking pan. Spread the thick herbal paste on the pan, approximately 1/8 inch thick.
7. Put in a gas oven to dry for 18 to 38 hours, using only the gentle warmth generated by the pilot light. A food dehydrator set at 100ºF to 120ºF works equally well.
8. Remove from the pan and grind the hardened extract in a coffee grinder that you’ve cleaned scrupulously, or one that’s dedicated to grinding herbs,
This powder should keep in a glass airtight container for at least a year.
Adapted from The Herbalist’s Way: The Art & Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines by Nancy & Michael Phillips (Chelsea Green, 2005).