top of page
Featured Posts

Herbal Tea Vs. Herbal Decoction

When choosing to use herbs for medicinal purposes, there are multiple ways that you can prepare them depending on what type of herb is being used, personal preference, and which preparation is the best given the circumstances that it is being used. Two of these types of preparations include making an herbal tea and making an herbal decoction. For this assignment, I chose to use organic cleavers (Galium aparine) as my herb of choice since it was the only one I had not worked with before and I wanted a bit more of a challenge.

Herbal teas are fairly simple to make and many people include preparing teas as part of their daily routine to start their morning or to wind down in the evening after a long day. According to Dorene Petersen, president of American College of Healthcare Sciences, herbal teas that are used regularly can help to tone, soothe, and balance the body. A basic recipe for making herbal tea is to use one teaspoon of dried herbs (or two teaspoons if they are fresh) and one cup of boiling water. Bring your water to a boil and then pour over your herbs and let it steep for ten to fifteen minutes, depending on which herb you are using. Some herbs you do not steep as long as it will ruin the flavor of your cup of tea. After steeping, strain out the herbs and your tea is ready for you to enjoy. I found that a cup of cleavers tea was not as strong as I imagined it would be. The dried herb has a strong aroma to it but did not make the tea taste as strong. It was a very light taste, not sweet, but not bitter either. It reminded me of fresh cut grass and hay barrels during our Texas summers when everything has dried out from the intense heat of the sun. The color of the cleavers tea came out like a honey gold hue, it was very pretty honestly. I did not dislike it so I would more than likely make it again. The process of making an herbal tea was very simple and at most took about fifteen minutes of preparation.

Another way that you can use herbs is to make a decoction. Decoctions are primarily made from roots, barks, and stems of herbs. The process of making a decoction takes a while longer than it does to prepare a tea, but I did notice quite a difference. Depending on the herb chosen, you will be simmering it in water on the stove top or steeping it in water. Basic preparation for an herbal decoction is to use one ounce of herb or root and one pint of water. Pour your water into a stainless steel or enamel pot and add your cut or crushed herb. You will simmer your decoction without a lid until the volume of the water has decreased by one-quarter. Then remove your pot from the stove top and let it cool before straining and bottling. Herbal decoctions must be stored in the refrigerator and will last up to 72 hours. After making the cleavers decoction, I was pleasantly surprised at the difference when compared to the tea. First of all, the color of the liquid was much darker and took a little while longer to strain. The shade was a very deep brown color, similar to when you make a cup of black coffee. The taste of the decoction was definitely stronger than the tea but it didn’t taste offensive at all. It had a slight bitter herbal taste to it and a stronger aroma which is similar to cut grass and hay


I did a bit of research on what cleavers (Galium aparine) are used for and am very glad that I did. Cleavers are a great herb to use for insomnia and it just so happened that the tea and decoction that I made was in the evening. I did actually sleep very well that night. It had quite a calming effect on me personally, similar to how kava does. It is also commonly used as a diuretic or a tonic for the urinary tract and bladder. Cleavers can also be used topically for skin rashes and burns so I think it would be an excellent herb to make a salve out of. I thoroughly enjoyed this practical lab assignment and will continue to look into ways I can incorporate cleavers into my holistic lifestyle when it comes to health care.


Center, T. R. (2016). Natural Medicines Professional. Retrieved from Natural Medicines Formerly Natural Standard and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database,,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=159#peopleUseThisFor

Grieve, M. M. (1995). A modern herbal. Retrieved from A Modern Herbal,

Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 101 Nutrition, Bodycare, & Herbalism. 5005 SW Macadam Avenue, Portland, OR 97239: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Team, P. W. D. Plants profile for Galium aparine (stickywilly). Retrieved from USDA United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services,

Citations, Quotes & Annotations

Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 101 Nutrition, Bodycare, & Herbalism. 5005 SW Macadam Avenue, Portland, OR 97239: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

(Petersen, 2016, pp. 221–223)

Note (221 - 223): Section about herbal teas.

(Petersen, 2016, pp. 225–226)

Note (225 - 226): Section on herbal decoctions.



Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page