By Shari Jainuddin ND, BCB
Teas are a great way to get medicinal benefits of plants into the body and hydrate at the same time, as well as it usually doesn’t feel like you are drinking medicine.
It’s so hot outside. You want me to drink hot tea!?!? The good news is that you can do cold infusions of tea (just like coffee). Teas made from demulcent herbs (think of them as providing a coating or having a soothing effect) are especially great to do as cold infusions. Demulcent herbs in general are known to have inflammation modulating and immune modulating effects. What this means is that they are neither stimulating nor inhibiting to these systems but modulate them to a more balanced state. While those are general actions, each herb usually targets one system preferentially over another other, such as the throat (for dry, sort throats) or the digestive tract.
To create a cold infusion, add 1-2 tablespoons of dried loose herb per 8 oz of filtered water (use a glass container). Place the container in the fridge overnight (for 8 hours at least) and then strain and drink as desired (1-3 cups/day). If you find it is too strong of a taste, you can always add more water to tame it down or add some ice cubes if you really need to cool down. Also, using a higher amount of water during the infusion has the potential to extract more of the desired properties from the herb. Some people like to add sweetener, though I encourage you to just appreciate the true taste of the herb and expand your palate.
Here are a few examples of demulcent herbs. Emory’s globemallow (Sphaeralcea emoryi) is an herb that is native to the Southwest United States. Whereas Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) is commonly found in the East Coast. Corn Silk, Couch Grass, Licorice, Marshmallow, and Mullein are other common demulcents. Most can be found readily at herbal stores.