Herbal teas, also known as herbal infusions and less commonly called tisanes are beverages made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water. Oftentimes herb tea or the plain term tea is used as a reference to all sorts of herbal teas. Some herbal blends contain actual tea.
- The term "herbal" tea is often used in contrast to the so-called true teas (e.g., black, green, white, yellow, oolong), which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.
- Unlike true teas (which are also available decaffeinated), most tisanes do not naturally contain caffeine.
- There are several plants, however, that do contain caffeine or another stimulant, like theobromine, cocaine, or ephedrine. Some common infusions have specific names such as coffee, mate (yerba mate), and rooibos (Aspalathus linearis).
Herbal teas can be made with fresh or dried flowers, fruit, leaves, seeds, or roots. They are made by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. The herbal tea is then strained, sweetened if desired, and served. Many companies produce herbal tea bags for such infusions.