A small cultivation of aromatics has countless advantages. First of all, we will always have fresh leaves available for healthy flavouring of our dishes. However, we can fully exploit their potential by using them for the preparation of herbal teas and decoctions, useful to alleviate minor problems or simply for a moment of relaxation. Moreover, they are extremely simple shrubs and grasses to grow and will require an excessive and constant effort.
During the summer season we can use them fresh; at the arrival of autumn we will work on harvesting and drying them so that we have a good quantity of them available for the cold season.
How to make infusions and decoctions?
There are many ways to use aromatic and medicinal plants. The simplest homemade preparations are infusions and decoctions. An infusion is obtained by pouring a teaspoon of dry product or two fresh ones into a cup of boiling water. The decoction, on the other hand, can also be applied to more woody parts such as roots, stems, bark and rigid leaves.
For a good result, put in a pot about 20 grams of dry product (or 40 grams of fresh product), add 750 ml of cold water and bring to a boil as slowly as possible, then leave it for about 10 minutes.
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Very common plant in its spontaneous state, known for its unmistakable aroma, sweet and citrus. In the kitchen it is mainly used raw (or at the 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 who suffer from insomnia, headaches, nervousness. It is also used successfully to alleviate 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 cases of digestive problems, the evening before going to bed in case of insomnia. Let’s not exaggerate, however: in large doses instead of calming the symptoms can exacerbate them.
Rosemary is a typical Mediterranean shrub. Its leaves are almost indispensable in the kitchen to flavor meat dishes, fish, but also cheese and vegetables.
In the phytotherapy field, 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: very common is for example the combination with thyme.
It has anti-inflammatory and expectorant virtues and is an excellent digestive. It is also commonly used against anxiety and depression.
Herbal tea is obtained by infusing a spoonful of fresh or dried leaves in a cup of boiling water. We suggest to sweeten slightly, given its bitter taste.
Mint is universally known for its fragrance and aroma and has always been used to give freshness to infusions, drinks and various dishes. But it also has many medicinal virtues: it is rich in antioxidants and is able to stimulate digestion and the urinary tract. In winter the dried leaves can be used in combination with thyme, rosemary or sage to combat sore throat and constipation.
To obtain the maximum aroma and beneficial virtues we recommend to leave it in infusion for a few minutes and cover the cup with a saucer.
Sage is a very common shrub and simple to grow: it is an evergreen and its leaves are always at our disposal fresh. In the kitchen it is essential: it goes well with meat, fish and first courses, but it has also been used successfully in confectionery.
In the field of phytotherapy it has many uses: it is ideal for promoting digestion, but it also has effects on excessive perspiration and 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 want, a sweetener. It is ideal after a meal or before going to bed.
Aromatic plants for a home production of herbal teas and decoctions: Thyme
Aromatic, typical of the Mediterranean scrub, it forms a low bush. The leaves are rich in essential oils and are used in cooking, particularly in combination with fish dishes and on fresh cheeses. There are also varieties with hints of citrus or slightly spicy.
However, it is very rich in medicinal virtues and is an indispensable ingredient of natural antiseptics. It is in fact a valuable component in syrups against asthma, bronchitis and constipation of the airways.
An excellent infusion can be obtained by putting a few twigs in 150 ml of hot water and waiting 10 minutes. We recommend to take it two or three times a day in case of flu, maybe adding a little ginger and honey.
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