Apart from saving yourself a fortune, making your own herbal tea is simple, satisfying and plain sensible. And it is said that herbal tea is one of the most effective natural methods to slow the ageing process.
A cup of herbal tea is invigorating, relaxing, gives you energy or a sense of soothing calmness, depending on which herb you choose. Herbal tea also contains antioxidants, which are important for our health and longevity and also provide some protection against cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Having your own herb garden in your backyard, or in pots on your balcony is immensely gratifying.
Herbal tea is fresher and more flavourful when using fresh herbs and their medicinal and health benefits are greater. Not all herbs are suitable for making tea, so before you plonk a sprig into a cup of boiling water, become informed on the particular herb that you are growing.
Herbal teas are an infusion, meaning that the herbs are steeped in very hot water. Rinse and wash the sprigs or leaves and dry them with paper towel. Tear and bruise the fresh herb leaves (or cut the flowers, blossoms or pods) so that the aromatic oils can be released into the water. You will need about two tablespoons per cup of water. Let them steep, covered, for about 5 minutes. In time, you will develop a sense of how long to steep the tea to attain the desired strength. Strain the herbs using a tea strainer, and enjoy!
Make your own herbal tea, using the following common varieties of herb:
An easy herb to grow and a favourite among herbal tea drinkers. This hardy plant does grow readily indoors. Apple mint leaf tea is soothing and relaxing, helps improve digestion and helps heal certain intestine problems and stomach ache. It is said that it can break down fat and increases the level of metabolism.
An annual fragrant herb which offers relaxation in a cup of sweet apple-like taste and aroma. Use only the first 3-4 inches or foliage or the flowers of this plant to make a wonderful and soothing tea that can help relieve nausea and anxiety and promote sleep. Chamomile likes sandy soil, lots of sun and plenty of water during the hot part of summer. It grows well in containers on balconies, but does not do well indoors.
Lavender makes a relaxing and refreshing floral tasting tea that blends well with other herbs, such as chamomile. Dried lavender is usually used for herbal tea-making. Lavender grows two to three feet tall, is ideal for the garden, easily grown in containers on balconies, but is not suitable for the windowsill.
A perennial herb that enjoys a somewhat dry soil and partial shade during the day. Lemon balm can be grown indoors and in containers on your balcony. Lemon Balm is perfectly safe for ingestion and makes a nice herbal tea or iced drink. It has a light lemony scent with a hint of mint.
Drinking rosemary tea (made from dried rosemary leaves) can benefit the digestive tract and can help irritable bowel syndrome. Rosemary tea can act as a tonic, helps reduce PMS, and relieves indigestion, flatulence and bloating. Research shows that Rosemary has the ability to improve memory and helps in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
A hot cup of ginger tea can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms. Combine ¼ cup of coarsely chopped fresh ginger root with 1 ½ cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey.