Watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot with me, my partner grinned when Poirot (played by David Suchet) said, “Ah, Miss Lemon, where is my tisane?”
“What’s this tee-zahhhn, Jac?” he asked and then laughed as I opened my mouth to explain, “I know, Jac, I know! It’s just a pompous way of saying a cuppa tea, innit?”
Actually, no. Just as tiredness is not the same as fatigue, tisane is not tea. Tisanes are actually infusions of herbs, spices and other materials, steeped in hot water. Herbal tea? No, because the word ‘tea’ refers to cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.
But anyhow, semantics aside, tisanes open up a whole new world. Yesterday, whilst I was walking in our urban neighbourhood with my friend Julienne, we saw plants growing wild that can be made into tisane.
This one has the naughty name Clitoria ternatea, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine (sangu pushpam in Tamil) for various ailments such as depression and chronic fatigue. Here’s an academic article about its anti-ageing properties and here’s one on its anti-inflammatory properties.
According to the Doctrine of Signatures, because of its shape, it is meant to be good for the clitoris 🙂
Disclaimer: some plants (e.g. comfrey) are poisonous and do not consume anything, especially if you are pregnant, without proper advice, because some common herbs and plants could induce miscarriage.
Watch out for herbicide and heavy metal toxicity.
Despite the two points above, here are my favourite tisane: dandelion root (needs to be boiled) and dandelion flowers which I either harvest myself or bought from Neals Yard, and unbleached tea bags from Whole Foods.
And psssst, they make lovely Christmas presents ❤