Herbal teas are perfect for a relaxing afternoon. Herbal teas have no caffeine in them because black tea from the plant Camella sinensis, is not added in the blend. There are over 3,000 varieties of this one plant that give rise to the many types of tea seen in stores today. The flavor of black tea varies depending on the conditions it is cultivated in, such as soil, climate and elevation. Teas are often mixed with spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or fruity flavors, of which citrus’ are particularly popular, adding even more variety! Herbal teas have many health benefits. Each herb within a blend can have restorative properties. For example peppermint helps soothe sore throats and ease upset tummies.
Although many herbal teas are available in stores it can be fun to use herbs from the garden and mix your own. All you need to get started is harvested herbs from the garden that can be either hang or screen dried. Common tea herbs include mint, sage, parsley, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and dill. Experiment with proportions until you find your favorite mixture! A great way to make a quick cup of tea is to use 1 teaspoon of freshly crushed dried herbs mixture or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs in a tea ball or strainer. Steep for 5-7 minutes in hot but not boiling water and enjoy either plain or with a touch of honey. Other brewing methods such as sun or cold brewed teas require more time to steep.
In addition to honey some other fun tea additives include flavored sugar and ice cubes or even milk! Flavored ice cubes are a fabulous addition to cold brew tea because they won’t dilute the tea as they melt. Simple freeze tea or juice in ice cube trays instead of plain water. Some types of flavored ice cubes to try are apple juice, lemonade, berry juice, mint water or ginger water. A delicately flavored rose sugar can dress up any cup of tea. To make rose sugar, layer petals from unsprayed roses with sugar in a jar and close the lid tightly. After a few weeks, sift out the rose petals and store the sugar in a covered container.
Below are a couple of combos for healing teas:
Colds and sore throats: hyssop, peppermint, lemon balm, sage and echinacea
Indigestion: peppermint, fennel, gentian, anise
Cramps: peppermint, hops, red raspberry leaves
Here are a few great tea recipes to try:
Calming after dinner tea
1 tsp lavender
1 tsp spearmint
1 Tbsp fennel seed
1 Tbsp rose hips
1 Tbsp catnip
1 Tbsp chamomile
4 c water
Add 2 tablespoons of mixture tea ball/strainer and steep in 4 cups of hot (not boiling water) for 5-7 minutes (max of 10 minutes)
Lavender Chocolate mint tea
10-15 (or more!) fresh or dried lavender flowers
4-5 freshly harvested mint stems
2 c of hot water
Steep at least 15 minutes
Sleepy time tea
2 Tbsp dried chamomile
1 Tbsp dried lavender
1 tsp dried skullcap
1 tsp dried lemon balm
1 tsp dried red clover
2 tsp dried rose buds
1 tsp dried stevia
Lemon Balm tea
Steep 1-2 teaspoons dried lemon balm in 1 c of hot water for 10-15 minutes or combined with chamomile for a bedtime tea.
Tea and Teatime by Maggie Stuckey.