Tisanes (Herbal Teas)

Water is the essence of life. About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water. When drought hits, the soil dries out, the plants wither, and we feel parched. That’s because we are also made up of water. It accounts for 70 percent of our body weight, 80 percent of our blood, 70 percent of our lean muscle, and a whopping 85 percent of our grey matter! It’s a wonder then why we don’t drink more of it. 

Mireille Guiliano, Former President and CEO of Clicquot, Inc says in her book French Women Don’t Get Fat (I love this book for the way Mireille describes the pleasures that can be had in enjoying good food and drink): “Most people don’t take into account how much water we lose passively, especially in very hot or cold weather. Perspiration is an obvious debit, but in frigid dry air, we lose a great deal through our skin and breath. The body is not a watertight sack; the skin absorbs, but mostly surrenders, water. All told we lose about ten to twelve cups of water a day (even when we sleep).”   Therefore, if you are drinking the recommended 8 cups per day, you are not even breaking even.

Water flushes out contaminants and prevents mineral deposits (think kidney stones and how painful they are, so I’m told, and often due to not drinking enough water). Through healthy eating, you can get 40% of the water you need from your food, but the rest needs to come from intentional drinking.

Drinking enough water is a powerful way of controlling your weight. The thirst sensation can often be mistaken for hunger; very often when we feel a little peckish or hungry, we are actually a little thirsty.

When I was 29, I did my first-ever detox. It was Leslie Kenton’s 10 Day Clean-Up Plan and it was life-changing. Not only was I able to eliminate the excess and added sugars I was having in my diet, like adding sugar to my coffee, or having a slice of cake or something sweet when I was out, but understanding how much energy and vitality my body had after just 10 days of eating a very clean diet. I felt like my body was buzzing; my vibrational energy was so high.

One of the foundations of the program was to stay hydrated. And the advice was to drink simple tisane or herb tea throughout the day.

This is what I would do during that 10-day cleanse in terms of drinking herbal tea:

I would put two to three herbal tea bags in a large glass jar (it held around 2 litres | 64 ounces) and steep them in hot water for five to ten minutes.

I then removed the tea bags and topped up the jar with cold water.

I took that jar with me to all social occasions and sipped on my herbal tea. I never felt like I was missing out by not having a festive drink or cup of coffee.

At the time, I was into the Twinings herbal teas that you can still pick up at the supermarket - apple and cinnamon, orange and cinnamon, cranberry and pomegranate.

I now tend to purchase organic herbal teas and particularly enjoy peppermint as well as the Indian Tulsi range. As I write this blog, I am sipping on Tulsi Rose, which has a delicate sweetness to it. Tulsi Basil is another favourite.

Mireille says she grew up in France drinking herbal teas which she recalls as a sensory pleasure. She loved to pick the tisane (herbal teas brewed from a vast variety of plants - anything except the tea leaf) that was to be shared in the evenings, after dinner with her family. She says there were always six to ten glass jars filled with dried herbs that the family had either picked in the forest behind her grandmother’s house in Alsace or brought back from summer holidays in Provence.

Some of her favourite combinations:
  • Verveine (Verbena, with its lemon-citrus flavour) and tilleul (from the linden tree and noted for its hint of woodiness) to consume any time, but particularly after a meal,
  • Camomille (a floral aroma with an apple-like taste) was for sleep.
  • Menthe (mint) which helps with digestion.


Do you have any favourites to share? What are you going to try?

There are a multitude of options to make herbal teas like using fresh ginger, the leaves of the lemon-myrtle tree, hibiscus flowers, cinnamon sticks, etc.

I hope this article gets your imagination fired up for differing combinations to try.


Okay, so you get it that you need to be drinking hydrating fluids all day. But how much do you need? A good way to work out how much water you should be drinking is to figure out how much you weigh in pounds and aim to drink half that in water per day.

For those of us working in the metric system, this is how I work out the math:
  • Your weight in kilograms multiplied by 2.2 gives you your weight in pounds.
  • Halve that figure, and that gives you the amount of water to drink in ounces.
  • To convert it to litres, divide the volume by 33.814, and that will give you the amount in litres (or you could just google ounces to litres and a conversion table will come up).

For example; if you weighed 70 kg multiplied by 2.2 equals = 154 pounds, divided by two equals = 77 ounces of water. Divide 77 ounces by 33.814 to get it in litres, which is 2.3 litres (rounded to the whole figure) or 9.72 cups of water you should aim to drink or consume through water-based fruits and vegetables per day.

If you keep your personal figure written down, you can track how you are doing each day. If you are not drinking very much water now, work up to drinking your full quota by adding a cup or 2 of water extra per day. Keep in mind, that drinking 8 glasses of water per day is just breaking even, so you do need more.  

What counts as water?
  • Aim to drink filtered or spring water to avoid the chemicals put into the municipal water system to keep the water pipes clean and kill the bugs.
  • Herbal tea
  • Water-based fruits and vegetables, particularly watermelon, cucumbers, greens, tomatoes, celery, and citrus fruits
  • Coconut water, and as it also contains electrolytes it is very good to have a glass or two in very hot weather
What doesn’t count?
  • Black tea
  • Coffee
  • Cordial
  • Soft drink
  • Commercial brand fruit and vegetable juices. Make your own or look for brands without additives, or made from reconstituted concentrates.

And one last tip.  Aim to sip throughout the day rather than gulp.

Bottoms up!

Lots of love and hydration,

Posted in Health Tips.