Your tisane, Monsieur Poirot

                    Miss Lemon: Your tisane, Monsieur Poirot
                    Hercule Poirot: Thank you, Miss Lemon. This is what you need, Hastings.
                    Captain Hastings: No fear; I’ve tasted it.

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Monsiour Poirot is always calling for his tisane and waving away the traditional tea and coffee of the British. Tisane, is just the name for what we usually call herbal teas (the word tea having been widened in its definition to include infusions not just using the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis)

Herbal teas are like a lucky dip, you can either love or hate the results and often looking at the packets you cant even begin to imagine what they taste like, especially the ones with a variety of ingredients. I have been drinking herbal teas for many years now, some because of the health benefits and others because I just enjoy them. From experience I have never found a fruit tea that I like, I find the idea of hot fruit offputting (unless its in crumble). Here is what I have been drinking recently

Yogi Classic Chai (cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, pepper, cloves): I love chai tea (which I only ever drink without milk – although I may try it infused into hot milk or hot chocolate). Another spice one is Pukka After Dinner which includes chicory, fennel and cardamon. The spice infustions are definately my favourite and a staple for the autumn and winter months. There are so many different variations in the ingredients and their ratios that I want to try them all such as Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice and Yogi Himalaya.

Pukka Love (rose, lavender and chamomile): From the ingredients on the front of the box I dont think I would ever have picked this up (although I do like rose petal tea) however my friend gave me a box as a present once and i really loved it. It is a really relaxing tea and can be perfect for any time of the day.

Echinacea (immune system): I am about to start drinking a cup of this every morning in the run up to winter. As a teenager my mum got the the tablets but once I discovered how nice the tea tasted I switched to that. I only ever have the pure echicacea however I am tempted by the one with lavender

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I always check the ingredients on the back of the boxes. They are usually listed in order of quantity so i watch out for ones with vanilla or liquorice root near the top as these are often used to sweeten the tea, something which I am not at all keen on

Here are a few more I drink from time to time and their health properties:

Fennel (digestion): Rather than bothering with tea bags I just take a pinch of seeds from my spice jar and since they mostly sink this works really well

Mint (digestion): This is one which I never go for the tea bags (which seem to taste vile if you brew them for longer than 2 seconds) I only ever drink fresh. Its a good idea to keep a mint plant in a pot to just snip off a couple of leaves into your cup.

Nettle (catarrh): I really try not to think about the smell or taste of this and concentrate on how good it is supposed to be for me. Its not that it tastes bad, its just that it tastes ‘healthy’ if you know what I mean.

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