After spending $5.99 on one box of herbal tea bags, I decided to plant my favorite herbs at home and use them to make tea. Growing herbs is an aromatic and rewarding experience that beautifies your garden, expands your plant palette and knowledge, and provides you with fresh, hyper-local tea. Another added benefit? You save money and resources. Your home grown tea doesn’t come in a plastic wrapped cardboard box and isn’t individually packaged in bags made from cotton, food grade plastic, paper, or silk.
I started my herbal tea garden with Tulsi, Holy Basil. This is one of my most cherished plants and teas. It’s easy to grow and has an unique and delicious, almost licorice-like flavor. Tulsi is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. An adaptogen, Tulsi can help with stress and anxiety.
Another favorite tea is Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena. Lemon Balm loves to be alive and spreads quite easily through the garden with little care. My first herb teacher told me that Lemon Balm was great for removing negativity and worry. With a light lemony flavor, Lemon Balm makes a delicious hot or cold tea. Lemon verbena is another hardy plant with a heavenly fragrance and taste that makes a delicious lemonade. For those of you who like Limes more than Lemons, try Lime Balm! Same hardiness, but with a delicate lime scent.
Mints are an easy to grow herb that you can reproduce through cuttings in about seven days. Right now I have Moroccan Mint, Lavender Mint, Spearmint, True Peppermint, Yerba Buena, and Bo He (or Chinese Mentha) gracing my garden. I appreciate the variations in taste and fragrance and use Mint leaves for a soothing, digestive tea.
Other herbal drinks to try? Lemon Thyme makes a wonderful tea. Basil is refreshing in lemonade. Chamomile is a soothing anti-inflammatory.
Although I haven’t yet grown “real tea” (Camellia sinensis), I’m excited to explore the seemingly endless variety of herbal teas. If I want a caffeine boost, I add some herbs to my store-bought green or black tea.To make tea, pour boiling water over at least 1 tablespoon of plant material. Cover the top of your cup or tea pot and let it steep as long as possible (15 minutes or more). Then sit back and enjoy your home grown herbal tea.
What plants grow around your home that you could use for tea? If you live in a urban environment, there may not be many choices. But, it’s quite easy to grow herbs on a windowsill, a patio, or porch. When I lived in a place where I couldn’t garden, I grew some of my favorite herbs in pots on our stairway.A lot of these herbs can be grown from cuttings- so if you have a friend with a plant you love, ask for a cutting and watch your abundant herbal tea garden grow!
*Remember to make sure that you have identified plants correctly before you use or ingest them. Check with your health care practitioner before taking any herbal medicine.