What is a Tisane or Herbal Tea?

Explore the vast world of Tisanes


Tisane or Herbal Tea are names which can be applied to any part of a plant (except Camellia Sinensis) destined for steeping or simmering in water for drinking.

These are often flowers or herbs like Chrysanthemum or Peppermint, but they could also include other plants or fungi. Most are caffeine-free.


The world is full of aromatic herbs, flowers, fungi, fruits and vegetables, all of which will have some biochemical effect on your body. There are indigenous herbal traditions on every continent as humans have learned, through experimentation, cooking and steeping, the power and flavour of these gifts from the soil.

China has the longest unbroken tradition of herbal medicine in the world, with over 5000 years of study. Over these millennia, Chinese academics and doctors have fine-tuned an extremely complex herbal medicine practice, allowing experts to formulate individualised herbal combinations which work synergistically together.

These ‘herbal prescriptions’ will often have over a dozen different plants which modulate each other’s effects – amplifying their medicinal benefits and modulating their potency.

Separating the act of eating and drinking for ‘the purpose of taste’ from ‘the pursuit of health’ is a dangerous (relatively new) way of thinking. Everything that you consume will have some (positive or negative) impact on your body.

Just the act of enjoying a tisane of steeped Rose buds will have a cascade of actions from the uniquely sweet aroma terpenes to the vitamins, bio-flavonoids and other trace elements in the petals.

This herbal knowledge has been passed on in all cultures for centuries. It is the reason why you may be given Chamomile if you have an upset stomach or Clove if you have a toothache.

But, unfortunately, the medicinal potential of plants and the historical herbal wisdom built up over generations have been suppressed for the past 100 or so years by the actions of food and medicine industries – one generates profit primarily through taste, the other primarily through patentable chemical isolation and synthetics. The concept of health food (which should be ALL food) has been relegated to a niche.

Without getting deeper into this fascinating discussion, the point is that plants have potency and any tisane or herbal combination that you drink will have an effect. We cannot say any more than this because, as a seller, we cannot legally give any health-related information about foods, even if they have been well-studied in real life for centuries and researched in academic papers.

As Director of the longest established Chinese Medicine clinic in Europe, I have spent my life surrounded by herbs and the politics of medicine. We have seen tens of thousands of clients who have benefitted greatly from these plants, and my family has spent nearly half a century personally sourcing them (decades before I started sourcing tea).


I would heartily recommend adding tisanes and medicinal herbs to your collection and spending a little time researching the academic papers on these plants.

It is hard to make recommendations because your choice of herb or herbal combination will often be defined by how you are feeling. Here are a few single herbs which anyone can drink for taste while enjoying their nutritional benefits.

Amachazuru (Jiao Gu Lan) – a powerful adaptogenic tisane which is very often prescribed to clients for its huge range of benefits.

Chrysanthemum – like a zestier Chamomile with calming and cooling properties.

Baby Leaf Kuding – delicate bitter-sweet brew with rejuvenating and relaxing effects.

Greek Olympus – a Mediterranean brew which is great when you are feeling uneasy in the stomach.

Purple Rose – one of the most deliciously deep yet zesty rose tisanes which blends exceptionally with Hei Cha or Black tea.

Mulberry – a creamy and sweet, caffeine-free alternative to Matcha with all of its own health benefits.


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