Herbal teas — less commonly called tisanes — are beverages made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water. The term "herbal tea" is often used in contrast to true teas (e.g., black, green, white, yellow, oolong), which are prepared from the cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Unlike coffee and true teas (which are also available decaffeinated), most tisanes do not contain caffeine naturally.
Camellia sinesis, the tea plant, has been grown for around 5000 years. The plant is a member of the family Theaceae, its origins dating back to China and Southeast Asia. According to ancient Chinese legend, the drink was made accidentally by King Shen Nong (around 2700 b.c.e). Despite the legend, it is documented that the Chinese have been using herbal tea as a medicine dating back to around 2000 years. The habitual consumption of tea grew in Asia and eventually European explorers brought it home to Europe in the 17th century. Herbal tea then became a staple in British and Irish culture during that time. Tea is widely consumed all over the world today.