Tea Lover Lessons

All About Herbal Tea

Difference between herbals, botanicals, and tisanes infographic

Herbal teas (also referred to as “herbal infusions” or “tisanes”) are beverages made from herbs, fruits, spices and/or other plant material infused in water. Some people believe they shouldn’t be referred to as “teas” at all in order to avoid confusion with true tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. However, “herbal tea” seems to be the most widely recognized name in the U.S.

Herbal teas generally do not contain caffeine – they're referred to as “caffeine-free” instead of “decaf” (since decaf signifies that there once was caffeine and it’s been removed).

There are many different herbs, spices, flowers and other plant material in the world that can be infused into water, creating a vast spectrum of flavors, colors, and health benefits!

Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Members receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription service.

Best Herbal Tea

Discover the best herbal caffeine-free teas as rated by Sips by's 1,000,000 tea-loving Members. From loose-leaf herbal tea to bagged herbal tea, these are the best herbal teas from different tea brands around the world. Find your favorite herbal tea, from fruity herbal tea to spicy herbal tea, from chamomile tea to sleep tea to teas for anxiety relief. Herbal tea is naturally caffeine-free and has many health benefits. No matter the type or flavor of herbal tea you're searching for, Sips by has options you'll love. Discover your new favorite herbal tea.

Herbal Tea Shop at Sips by


Herbal Tea Origins

Herbal infusions have been consumed for thousands of years by many cultures. The first historical record of the use of herbs is the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, attributed to the ancient Chinese emperor Shen Nong, known as the father of agriculture, around 3,000 BC. Herbs are still central to Chinese medicine, and they are used around the world both for medicinal purposes and as enjoyable beverages.

Botanical families and herbal tea origins

Types of Herbal Teas

Here are a few of the many popular herbs that may be used to make tea, along with the health benefits they are most often associated with, and some examples of teas that contain those herbs as ingredients:


Calming, Relaxing, Aids Sleep, Soothes the Stomach


Lowers Blood Sugar Levels, Antibacterial, Anti-Fungal

Dandelion Root

Aids Digestion, Cleansing, Diuretic, Blood Tonic

Ginkgo Biloba

Helps with Cognitive Function, Memory, Mood, Energy, Circulation


Aids Digestion, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Nausea, Antibacterial


Cooling, Lowers Blood Pressure, High in Vitamin C


Calming, Relaxing, Aids Sleep, Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Lemon Balm

Calming, Relaxing, Aids Sleep


Cleansing, Aids Digestion, Improves Skin Health

Licorice Root

Soothes the Stomach, Cleanses Respiratory System


Relieves Allergies, Improves Skin Health, High in Vitamins, Helps Relieve Pain, Detoxifying

Orange Peel

Aids Digestion, Warming, Boosts Immune System, Improves Skin Health


Calming, Reduces Anxiety and Depression, Lowers Blood Pressure, Reduces Menopausal Symptoms


Aids Digestion, Anti-Nausea, Helps Relieve Pain

Raspberry Leaf

Supports Female and Male Reproductive Health, Reduces PMS Symptoms in Women, Considered Safe and Beneficial for Pregnancy


Relaxing, Relieves Allergies, Antioxidant-Rich, Lowers Blood Pressure


Improves Skin Health, High in Vitamin C

Tulsi (Holy Basil)

Reduces Stress, Increases Energy, Anti-Inflammatory


Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant-Rich, Boosts Immune System

rose petals

Rose (right) and Lavender (left)

Buying and Storing Herbal Tea

When buying herbs or tisanes, you should always try to buy organic, from a trusted vendor. Make sure you feel comfortable with your vendor and always do your research before trying new herbs you’re not familiar with - taking risks with herbs can be dangerous, since sometimes they can have adverse affects in combination with certain drugs, or health conditions.

If you’re buying loose herbs, it’s best to buy fully dried herbs that have not been cut or broken up. This is because the whole herb is better able to retain its flavor, aroma and potency during storage. As with any tea, store your herbs in a cool, dark, dry place – many herb shops sell tinted airtight containers for optimal storage. It’s generally best to consume your herbs within a year (but check on the package as the expiration date could vary). PRO TIP: Put a label on your dry herbs with the date you bought them!

Preparing Herbal Tea

3 common herbal brewing mistakes from Sips by

Herbs can be prepared in a number of different ways, depending on the type of herb and the amount of medicinal potency you are seeking. They can be steeped similarly to true teas (as outlined below), but it is usually recommended to use maximum water temperature and a higher steep time, in order to extract more of the medicinal benefits.

For some types of tougher herbs in the form of bark, roots, mushrooms and seeds, decoction is the recommended method of preparation, which involves simmering the herb on the stovetop for about a half hour and then straining it (for example, this is how you’d make elderberry syrup – a cold/flu remedy commonly made from dried elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves).

Another popular preparation method is a longer infusion, which basically involves steeping the herbs in boiled water for several hours or overnight. This is done to extract as much nutritional benefit is as possible – for example, nettles prepared as tea (steeped for several minutes) contain about 5-10 mg/cup of calcium, while nettles infused for several hours contains up to 500 mg/cup!

Can you cold brew herbal tea? The answer is sometimes – some herbs, especially flowers (like hibiscus!), dried fruits and leaves, or rooibos, make excellent cold infusions. However, some herbs need hot water to bring out their benefits, and some just taste straight up gross when they’re cold. As a general rule of thumb, you should rinse your herbs with boiling water before cold brewing to be safe, since some herbs may not have been heat-processed like true teas.

So which preparation method should you use? It’s really up to you – steeping herbal tisanes like a tea is probably the most common for everyday enjoyment, but if you want to venture into more of the healing properties of herbs, you might want to consider using the stovetop decoction or infusing for a longer time! Here are some general tips on steeping herbal teas:

How to Brew Herbal Tea

What You’ll Need

  • Water Kettle or Pot to Heat Water
  • Tea Leaves / Sachets / Bags
  • Teapot with Filter / Teacup / Personal Mug and Filter

Step One: Heat the Water

  • 212℉ // Boiling

Pro Tip: Use filtered water for the best tasting cup!

Step Two: Measure the Tea

  • About 2 grams (1-2 tsp) per 8 oz. (1 cup) of water

Pro Tip: Add tea leaves to an infuser that lets them open fully, or you can put them straight into the teapot and use a strainer when you're pouring a cup!

Step Three: Steep the Tea

  • 5+ minutes

Herbal teas should generally be steeped longer than true teas – more than 5 minutes. You’ll find that 10+ min is ideal for most herbs to bring out maximum benefits – it’s always best to check on the package or look up the specific herb you’re making!

Pro Tip: Cover your tea while it steeps to keep all the heat and aroma in the steeping vessel.

Additions: It's up to you! Some herbal infusions go well with milk (such as chai spice blends) and some are great with honey (such as chamomile for a nice throat-soothing tonic while you're sick)

Step Four: Enjoy :)

Note: Cold brewing is another way to enjoy herbal tea, but in general you should rinse the tea with boiling water before cold steeping to avoid bacteria (since many herbs have not been heat-processed like true tea). Learn how to cold brew tea here.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Check out this short video on how to prepare herbal tea:

how to steep green tea

Interested in trying these teas and others? Subscribers receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription box or explore the loose leaf tea shop.

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About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.


The content of this post represents information from various individuals, organizations and studies, and should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider about specific health needs. 


International Journal of Pharmacy and Natural Medicines

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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