Brewing fresh herbal teas from the garden is one of the most satisfying ways to support your health and wellbeing – from growing and harvesting the plants through to inhaling and drinking the actual infusion! There are a number of common culinary herbs which make divine teas with healing properties, and we thought it was about time to highlight a few of these hidden treasures.
Chamomile is a common tea herb – both Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile; Anthemis nobilis) and German
chamomile (Matricaria recutita) create a lovely light brew which has a long tradition of being used to calm the nerves, aid sleep, and relieve nausea. Use a tablespoon of fresh herbs per cup of near boiling water and steep anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes depending on individual taste and medicinal strength required.
Another herb which is useful for relieving anxiety and nausea is Catnip (Nepeta cataria). This is a wonderful tea to use with children to help them sleep well. The flavour is subtle, and has a slight lemon-mint taste to it. Great for treating cold and ‘flu symptoms too. Use a tablespoon of fresh leaves to a cup of water and steep for 10 minutes.
Members of the Mint family (Mentha species) such as Peppermint and Spearmint are great favourites for digestion and tension headaches. A tablespoon of fresh leaves per cup of water steeped for 5-10 minutes works well.
Rose petals and Rose hips (Rosa species) are both aromatic and beneficial. The rose hips in particular are very high in vitamin C (Rosa canina or Dog Rose), where a single cup will provide more of this nutrient than a large basket of oranges. It has a wonderful tart yet fruity flavour. Rose petals are said to be soothing both internally and externally. Use 4-6 large petals or 1-2 crushed rose hips per cup of hot (not boiling) water and steep for 10 minutes.
The kitchen staples Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme are all wonderful herbal teas, being great for digestion, immune support, and mental function. Parsley is also a great source of vitamin C and supports the kidneys. A tablespoon of any one of these herbs, or all three make a good tonic brew, especially if you add a good spoonful of honey!
I love to brew Sun Tea – which is simply a case of putting the fresh or dried plant parts in a jar of pure water and steeping in the sunshine for as long as you wish. Drinking in herbs infused with the energy of the sun…powerful plant magic indeed!
Most aromatic herbs make delightful brews with beneficial properties – try lemon verbena or lemon balm for a refreshing summer drink; you can also pick some fresh berries, citrus, or cucumber and cold infuse the fruits with your herbs. Remember too that we drink first with our eyes…float some edible flowers in your elixir – violets, borage (starflower), geranium, calendula petals, lobelia, rose, jasmine, violas, or even tiny basil flowers. You can also create floral and herbal ice cubes for summer drinks.