INFUSIONS & TISANES:
The simplest teas are infusions, also known as tisanes (tee-SAHN). An infusion or tisane is made from fresh or dried herbs and hot water. Chamomile, Peppermint, and most other leaves and blossoms lend themselves to this method. A few leaves, such as those to uva ursi, an herb used in the treatment of urinary tract and bladder infections, do not release their medicinal constituents unless simmered the way roots and barks are. Only a few delicate roots are brewed as infusions; one is the relaxing herb Valerian, which contains fragile essentials oils that would evaporate if the tea was boiled. Infusions extract mucilage, volatile oils, some vitamins, and others nutrients. Water quality is always a concern. For best results, use distilled, filtered, or bottled spring water, not chlorinated tap water. The water should be heated to just below the boiling point. Proportion of herbs to water for most beverage teas:
*1 teaspoon dried herb per cup of water*1 to 2 tablespoons fresh herb per cup of water
* 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh herb per cup of water
*4 to 6 teaspoons dried herb per quart
*1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh herb per quart of water
See the dosage schedule to follow for general guidelines regarding the use of herbal teas, capsules, and tinctures. Most of the teas described here are safe and effective in doses of approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight up to 3 times per day, as needed. Category 1 herbs (tonics, adaptogens, alteratives, and other well-tolerated nontoxic food herbs) can be given in larger doses or more frequently.
SUGGESTED DOSES FOR FIRST-TIME USE OF ANY HERB:
(Give up to 3 times daily)
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 5 to 10; Tincture 2 drops; Size 00 Capsule 1/2 cap; Tea 1 teaspoon.
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 10 to 20; Tincture 4 drops; Size 00 Capsule 1 cap; Teas 2 teaspoons.
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 20 to 30; Tincture 6 drops; Size 00 Capsule 1 cap; Teas 1 tablespoon.
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 30 to 50; Tincture 6 to 10 drops; Size 00 Capsule 2 cap; Teas 4 teaspoons.
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 50 to 70; Tincture 10 to 14 drops; Size 00 Capsule 2 caps; Teas 5 teaspoons.
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 70 to 90; Tincture 14 to 18 drops; Size 00 Capsules 3 caps; Teas 2 tablespoons.
Animal’s Weight (pounds) 90 to 110; Tincture 18 to 22 drops; Size 00 Capsule 4 cap; Teas 3 tablespoons.
These are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. For example, use less of an herb that is dense and heavy, more of an herb that is light and fluffy, less of an herb that is fragrant and in excellent condition, and more of an herb that is old and tired-looking. Everything depends on the quality of the herb and the tea’s purpose.
CHAMOMILE INFUSION (Internal and External)
Recommended for cat and dogs for improved digestion and to relieve stress and insomnia. Use externally as an eyewash, wound rinse, and coat treatment.
Pour 1 cup almost-boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoon dried or 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chamomile blossoms. Cover and let stand 10 to 15 minutes until cool to the touch. Strain.
Add this tea to your pet’s food or drinking water for improved digestion and to help the animal relax or sleep well. Use as a wash to clean debris from cuts or abrasions, or as a rinse to improve coat condition. Chamomile may temporarily darken white fur, so this rinse is not recommended for very light coats.
To use as a soothing eyewash, strain through coffee-filter paper to remove all plant material, add a pinch of unrefined rock sea salt (just enough to make the tea taste salty, like human tears), then saturate cotton balls or cotton squares and place them over your pet’s closed eyes. Hold in place for several seconds. Repeat as needed.
A decoction is a simmered or boiled tea. Roots and seeds are brewed by this method, through some roots with volatile oils require the more gentle infusion procedure, and some leaves must be simmered instead of steeped. Always check individual descriptions in herb reference books.
To make a decoction, use a stainless steel, glass, or enameled pan with a tight fitting lid/cover. Roots, whether fresh or dried, should be cut into small pieces. Use the same basic proportions of tea and water as for infusions.
Unlike leaves and blossoms, roots and seeds can be reused, usually three or four times. As flavour and colour decrease with use, you can extend the brewing time or replenish herbs by adding small amounts of new material.
BURDOCK ROOT DECOCTION:
Recommended for cats and dogs hen and clean the as an all-purpose tonic to improve kidney function, strengthen and clean the blood, improve skin and coat conditions, and treat arthritis and diabetes.
Combine 1 cup cold water and 1 to 2 teaspoons dried or 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh Burdock Root. (Fresh burdock is sold in some health food shops and is called Gogo in Japanese markets.) Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand an additional 10 minutes or until cool. Strain.
Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight to your pet’s food or water daily. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to one week, but check before using and discard any tea that has an off odor or moldy appearance.
Burdock is one one of the best alternative or “blood purifying” herbs, so called because it gradually clears the blood and harmful acids. Because burdock root helps balance blood sugar, it is appropriate for diabetic animals. It is also a tonic for the kidneys and lymph system.
For best results, tonic herbs such as burdock should be used daily for several months or years. Burdock is one of the key ingredients in Essaic tea, (Essaic tea, best known as a cancer therapy).