I get a lot of questions from folks about decocting tea so I thought I would try and make sense of this practice for you.  Decoction is the process of  extracting the medicinal properties from an herb (usually the bark, nut or root) by heating the herbs. Depending on how much herb you have will effect how much water to use, but traditionally folks use about two teaspoons of dry herb to 1 cup of waterAdd herb mixture to water and cover. Simmer for about 20 min. Another method of decoction is adding the herbs to cold water and slowly bringing the temperature up and simmering for 15-20 min as always, be sure to keep a tight fitting lid on it at all times to prevent steam from escaping and losing important nutrients. Whatever method you choose it up to you. 

Some things to keep in mind:

1. Try using fresh herbs if you can, they taste so much better! The exception to this is there are two herbs that I know of that should ONLY BE USED DRY, that is Cascara Sagrada, and Orris root. These two herbs are TOXIC when used fresh. 

2. Dosage: For chronic problems i.e. problems that are constant or recurring in nature and persist for a period of time drink 3-4 cups of tea each day for 3-4 months. Allow 2 days of rest a week from the program. Acute problems, i.e. critical, very severe, crisis point, drink the tea in small frequent doses. For acute situations smaller more frequent doses are most effective.

3. Not all tea needs to be decocted, leaves, flowers and some roots that have volatile oils can simply be infused.

4.. Valerian and Goldenseal root does not need decocting, they have volatile oils and can be infused with leaves and flowers. 

5. It is easy to want to add more herb than you need, but you really don't need more than 2 teaspoon of herbs to 1 cup of water ( 1 teaspoon if using fresh herbs)

6. You can reuse the roots and bark several times, however the strength will decrease with every subsequent cup so keep that in mind.

7. It is best to brew fresh pots of tea daily, however it will keep for several days in the fridge, anything older than that and the tea will go stale and could ferment. If it tastes flat or if you notice bubbles, the tea is no good.

8. If your are wildcrafting your own herbs make sure you use herbs that have not been treated with chemicals or pesticides

9. Make sure it tastes good! Add maple or honey to taste and enjoy it!

*For educational purposes only. Always consult a physician when starting an herbal regimen.