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Tisanes (pronounced tea-zahns), or more commonly known as herbal teas, are beverages made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant materials in hot water. While many tisanes are consumed because they’re naturally high in antioxidants and nutrients, many are typically consumed for simple enjoyment, and others have long histories of medicinal use as well.
Though the word “Tisane” is not a familiar part of American lexicon, Tisanes are a major part of the tea world, even though they’re not technically considered teas. Technically speaking, all teas, whether a green tea, black tea, or white tea, come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. However, the term “tea” is often referred to for a whole range of plant and floral herbal infusions that offer enticing tastes and aromas.
One advantage that tisanes have is that they’re generally caffeine-free and gentle on the body, making them an excellent choice for caffeine-sensitive people, and an even better choice for children. There are many different types of tisanes, most of which have their own particular benefits, as is the case with South African Rooibos, which is naturally high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
* Flower tisanes: rose, chamomile, hibiscus and lavender
* Leaf tisanes: lemon balm, mint, lemongrass and French verbena
* Bark tisanes: cinnamon, slippery elm and black cherry bark
* Root tisanes: ginger, echinacea and chicory
* Fruit/berry tisane: raspberry, blueberry, peach and apple
* Seed/spice tisanes: cardamom, caraway and fennel
Tisanes are mostly chosen for flavor variety or to avoid the caffeine in the tea leaf, but some herbs have medicinal properties that are best absorbed in tea form. They are terrific for adults and kids alike, make wonderful iced teas, and are extremely refreshing when served either hot or cold.
Tisanes are an excellent substitute for carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices, especially for those who enjoy living a more balanced, fit, and healthy lifestyle.