Herbal tea and herb articles.
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Grow your own Herbs - make a special cup of tea!
There's nothing like a warm cup of tea in the winter to take the chill out and make you feel cozy. And there's nothing like iced tea in the summer to cool you off and refresh you. Prepackaged teas are great for when you are in a hurry, but another great way to make tea is to make your own infusions from herbs you grow yourself.
Most herbs you would want to use in tea making are very easy to grow and can even be grown in pots if you don't have a garden space. They usually like sun for a few hours a day and regular watering, but most herbs aren't too picky about nutrients or getting too much attention.
Of course the first herb most people think of that goes with tea is mint. There are many different varieties of mint, from peppermint and spearmint to chocolate mint and pineapple mint. All grow aggressively, so you'll want to keep them in a pot to themselves, or they will take over the whole garden. Mint is great brewed by itself, or throw a couple of leaves in the water with your regular tea for a refreshing hint of mint.
Another big player in the world of tea herbs is chamomile, known in aromatherapy circles for its relaxation properties. Chamomile is basically a weed, related to ragweed, so if you're allergic you might not want to grow this one. Harvest the flowers to use in your tea (don't use the leaves as you would with mint) and drink alone or combined with mint, lemon balm or other herbs.
Lemon balm: An herb with a truly lemony flavor, the leaves of lemon balm are wonderful in a tea all by themselves, or as a highlight in a tea of mixed herbs. These plants can grow quite large and bushy in warm climates, so trim often and share with friends.
Another good lemon-scented herb, lemon verbena is a little more particular. It is a tender perennial so it will need protection or to be brought inside when the weather is cold. It also drops leaves seemingly without provocation, but it will bounce back with regular watering.
If you like the taste of licorice, be sure to plant some anise hyssop (also known as anise mint, licorice mint or fennel hyssop). The flavor can be a little strong for some people but it makes a nice spicy tea for wintertime and is a beautiful plant besides, with leaves that look like mint and tall purple flowers.
A great herb to grow for all sorts of uses, lavender makes a wonderful bedtime tea (alone or with the addition of chamomile). Lavender can be tricky to grow from seed, so buy a plant or two. They look sort of like rosemary and can likewise get very woody if not pruned each fall. Lavender is often used in dream pillows and is said to ward off insects and treat insect bites, so it's good to always have some on hand.
How do you use these herbs in tea?
How do you use these herbs in tea? The leaves of most plants (other than chamomile and lavender) are used for tea, and either part of the plant can be used fresh or dried. If you want to dry your herbs, take small bunches of stems and tie them to a string. Hang them upside down in a cool, dark place (like a closet that isn't used much) and allow them to dry for a couple of weeks before stripping the leaves or flowers and storing in airtight, dark containers that are labeled.
To make tea from dried herbs, use 1 teaspoon of dried herb (one or a combination) per cup of water. Let the water come to a boil before adding the herbs, and allow them to steep for three to five minutes before removing them and enjoying your tea.
To use fresh herbs, you will need about three times as much per cup, or three teaspoons (one tablespoon) per cup of water. Wash the herbs first and chop them into smaller pieces if desired. Again allow to steep for several minutes before enjoying.
If you want to make iced tea, brew a stronger cup of tea and then add ice. Allow your drink to cool before drinking. Don't forget to garnish your glass with a spring of whatever great herb you're drinking.
Growing your own herbs for herbal tea is easy, inexpensive and fun. These teas are healthier than store-bought teas because the ingredients are fresh and you know where and how they were grown (organically and without pesticides, let's hope). And the herbs make a great addition to purchased teas, so you always shave a wide variety of flavors on hand for your enjoyment.
For more information on Herbal Teas, click here
The statements and articles made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada or any other Government Agency. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems.
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