Investigative journalist digging into the science and marketing of folk remedies, struggling with opposition to whistleblowers since 2015.
I Might as Well Just Make a Big Pot
It's dreary this morning. The winter chill in the lake air has started to lose its sting, but it's not really warm or sunny yet. Rain's drizzling, the kids are rowdy, and I am dragging. I think I'll brew up a jug of my cheer-boosting tea. Might need it today.
I put a glass pot filled with just over six cups of filtered water on the stove and bring it to a second boil. When it gets there, I turn the heat off and throw in 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons, 1 for each cup of water) of dried St. John's wort. While I'm waiting, my four-year-old daughter tells me she wants "teleporter seeds." She apparently wants to grow a teleporter.
I remove the pot of water from the heat, stir the dried herb in the water loose, and cover the pot. It's going to steep for 10 minutes because I want to fully release the medicinal components of the herb. I don't mind it tasting slightly bitter, because it brewed a little longer—this brew is for effect!
Online search returns few promising leads on the teleporter seeds. Thankfully, her desire has moved on to the more easily obtainable yo-yo now.
Hunting around my kitchen, I'm looking for a strainer and a container to pour my tea into. I find my strainer and a pitcher, but can't fathom how I'm going to not spill this pot of water all over the counter during the transfer. Staring my coffee pot straight in the face, I get a better idea. I'm going to put a coffee filter in the basket and spoon the tea in one scoop at a time, filtering the plant material out and releasing the rest of the tea into the carafe. If I can't pour tea out of a carafe into a pitcher without watering my kitchen floor; I might as well give this up.
When I lift the lid off the pot, a warm, herbaceous aroma rises up and hugs my face. Cheers! Just what I was looking for.
The infusion is now filtered. I'm going to enjoy a hot cup now and put the rest in the fridge to sip throughout the day. My kids have their shoes on the wrong feet and are beating each other with stuffed animals, but at least the sun is starting to shine.
How to Make St. John's Wort Herbal Tea
Here's how to make your own tea out of St. John's wort.
- 1 teaspoon St. John's wort, dried
- 8 ounces filtered water
- Bring water to a second boil in a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel pot (a good boil with medium-sized bubbles breaking frequently, but not yet a constant, rolling boil).
- Steep the St. John's wort for 3 to 10 minutes. For a better-tasting, less bitter infusion, steep a short time. For a more effective medicinal brew, steep longer. You can throw it in the pot loose, or use a tea ball to steep it in a teapot or mug. Whatever you do, cover it to help the tea release its full potential.
- Remove the herbs from the water and enjoy. You can add milk and sugar, though doing so may alter the medicinal components of the tea. Because of this, I enjoy this tea either plain or with just a drop of honey.
Important Information Regarding the Use of St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort is traditionally used to improve mood and enhance cheer. It should not be used in conjunction with MAOIs or protease inhibitors. It also may increase sensitivity to sunlight and can contradict contraception, lowering the effectiveness of birth control. Please talk to your doctor before adding any herb to your diet that may contradict your current regimen.