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Any herbal advice?

Hi All. I am wondering if anyone uses an herbal blend for their smoothie base or any herbal teas for their specific benefits. I am looking to gather a bit of knowledge about various herbs, what their benefits are and how you use them.

I know that green tea has good qualities but I have to confess, I just can’t get it in me when it’s straight up. It makes me gag. If it’s mixed with other things like lemon and something sweet then it has half a chance. Otherwise, it just isn’t going to happen. :(

Humanimal, you provided some information on a different post. Are you available for questions? Also, what’s the difference between a concoction and a decoction?


  • Hi Karuna! I use an herbal base – mine’s brewing right now so it’s not raw. I have two books I use – Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes and The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments. They were both recommended by the owner of my health food store. I order everything from Mountain Rose Herbs – ashwaganda, Pau d’arco bark, cat’s claw, American ginseng roots, reishi mushrooms, fo ti (he shou wu), rhodiola rosea, burdock root, schizandra berry, codonopsis root, milk thistle seed and eleuthro. I tried Astragalus but it made me too tense. I brew the tea in big enamel lined pots with filtered water at the lowest temp possible and sometimes let it sit all night before I use a funnel to pour it into quart size canning jars and store it in the fridge. In addition to using it as a cacao smoothie base, I also drink a cup before lunch and a cup before dinner. In the evening I have a cup of dandelion root tea. I’m no herbalist, but since I started drinking this brew I haven’t even had a sniffle since November. To answer your question, my book says a decoction is when you simmer a tea for at least 10 minutes which releases the medicinal properties from tough roots and barks. You can make an infusion of delicate herbs by just bringing it to a boil and turning it off to let it steep. Occasionally I’ll throw in a leafy herb right before I turn my tea off. You can also make a sun tea, but I don’t know how well it works with roots and barks. Have fun! The Mountain Rose Herb website is very educational.

  • Nettles, oatsraw, and horsetail for calcium. Cats claw and pau d’ arco bark for immunity and adaptogen properties.Vanilla for a sweet rich flavor. Goji berries for antioxidants. Soak the first ingredients in hot water for about 5-8 hrs. Then add the goji berries after the tonic has cooled. Allow the goji berries to swell and then add the liquid into a blender and blend well. Strain off and you are done. You can drink it with honey or let it be your base for superfood elixirs.

    5 tbls paud’arco

    3 tbls cats claw

    3 tbls oatstraw and hosrsetail

    handful goji berries

    1 vanilla bean shell (scoop of the interior and save for a smoothie or other recipe)

  • I hate green tea too – you are not alone. Yuck!

    I just started drinking horsetail tea (the common one) it is very high in silica. It is very herby – you need some sweetner.

    I also have drunk the Pau D arco – it is very detoxing if you drink too much of it. It is tastes sort of root beery – I made a sun tea out of it and added it too my smoothies and drank it straight in a glass.

    Humananimal – Wow 5 Tblspoons of Pau D’ Arco – that is very detoxing! :) Esp. with the cats claw!

  • This is great. Thanks you guys. You’ve given me everything I need to get started and to build my knowledge. What a wonderful community.

  • Im really sorry I forgot to mention that the recipe above makes about 32 oz. of tea. That should be enough to last you 2 or 3 days!

  • Thanks for this post! I have wanted to learn more about herbs, too, as I have limited knowledge in this area, and it is good to know where to get info. and order herbs. :)

  • I’ve ordered the books and scoped out the Mountain Rose Herbs website. Wow, they have everything. There used to be a place called House of Herbs about 1/2 hour from where I live but they seem to have closed down. I think I will give MRH a try.

    Their prices seem really reasonable. Am I missing anything? I’m also trying to do the weight conversion. 4 oz (which seems to be their standard measurement for herbs) converts to a 1/4 pound. Is this right?

  • I know this is totally off topic, but I just wanted to say your little kitty is so cute! :)

  • yes 4oz. is 1/4 a pound. I like mountainroseherbs.com because they do give alot of in depth information, and their organic/wild crafted/sustainability/fair trade. I would suggest buying glass jars or putting them in your own glass jars, I left mine sitting in the package a bit too long(I’ve been lazy and didn’t want to dump powder everywhere with my clumsiness) and my alfalfa has a vague latex aftertaste. Ew.

  • I like green tea but I like it mixed with mint even more. dry your own mint and add it in.

  • I use nettle tea in mine sometimes. I think I am iron and zinc deficient, so I bought some on my last order to the above mentioned online herb store. So you know, a 4oz. bag of nettle will last a long time, if you end up buying it. :)

    I also bought hibiscus to use during cleansing(to get things “moving”). I would have bought it even if it didn’t have health benefits. A friend of mine used to make lemon and limeade with his fresh hibiscus. It’s kind of tart, and very beautiful. I like it. Not to mention it came in handy today :P.

    As for green tea, you may be brewing it at too high a temperature. It should be brewed between 140 degrees and 175? I believe 175. anyway i generally brew all mine at the lowest boil possible. The second the tiniest bubble pops I pour the water over it. If you really want it in your diet you should invest in good quality loose. You’d be amazed at the difference not only in quality but in variety. Where and how something is grown means all the world. ALSO, white tea is lighter in taste and has a bit more antioxidants. Just incase you would prefer that.

    An infusion is generally a very concentrated herbal tea steeped in a jar overnight. I sometimes use those in smoothies or drink them instead of water when I’m ill. A decoction is made up of roots, barks, etc. and is simmered for a little while to soften them, then put in a jar (or whatever brewing vessel) and let them steep as the other, overnight. Oh here, I found an old link I had. : http://www.prodigalgardens.info/Tonic%20Infusio… also this one goes hand in hand : http://medherb.com/Materia_Medica/The_Mineral_C…

  • I’m actually glad i reread your post. it made me find that link and that link reminded me to get some mullein. It grows right in my garden. So thank you for posting this:).

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