Home-grown Herbal Tea
April 20, 2016
A mug of builder’s tea may be a traditional kick start to the day but more of us than ever are now drinking herbal tea. And what can better than growing and then making your own?
Herbal tea has been grown for centuries. Different herbs are used for different conditions and ailments and all are easy to grow direct in the garden or in pots and containers.
Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. ~Okakura Kakuzō
Only use herbs that have not been sprayed with insecticide or similar. Once herbs have been picked give them a wash and a shake to remove any dirt or insects. They can then be used either fresh or dry. Dried herbs will give a more intense flavour.
Allow one heaped teaspoon of herbs per 200ml cup, remembering to add one for the pot if using a teapot! Simply add boiling water and allow to infuse for about 5 minutes. Then strain into another cup and enjoyed. Some people like to add a drip of honey or squeeze of lemon but try it without first.
So, what herbs to use? Dobies has made it easy by offering a Time for Tea Collection. This collection includes Moroccan Mint, Chamomile and Lemon Balm with a Blackcurrant Sage. Order now and four potted plants, one of each variety, will be delivered.
This compact hardy plant is probably best grown in pots. A partly shaded position is ideal and the plant will reward you with lilac-coloured flowers in September. But it’s the leaves that you want for your tea!
In Morocco this tea is served not only as a refreshing drink but also as a sign of hospitality and friendship. Health wise it is good for soothing upset stomachs, aiding digestion and as a breath freshener. Pop 10 sprigs of mint in a warmed teapot with 3 tablespoons of sugar and fill with boiling water. Yes, it is traditionally very sweet but you can of course use less sugar or switch to honey. Leave the tea to stand for a few minutes and then stir to ensure the sugar has dissolved. In true Moroccan style serve in shot glasses, garnished with fresh mint. Lift the pot high when pouring to create drama and to aerate the tea! A slight foam on the surface will make it look very authentic.
A particularly rampant member of the mint family this aromatic plant will need to be kept under control. Loved by bees with the result being a wonderful lemony honey! Going back centuries lemon balm has been planted near hives to keep the bees happy.
Lemon balm is known for relieving stress and anxiety and for soothing stomach cramps and upsets. Use the leaves, either dried or fresh to make your herbal tea.
Grow in dry soil in partial shade and use the daisy-like flowers, fresh or dried, to make your tea. Traditionally used to cure anxiety and calm nerves, chamomile has a mild sedative effect and so is an excellent sleep aid. The leaves have wonderful apple-like fragrance and can also be mixed with the flowers for a herbal brew.
The fruity scented leaves have a melon flavour and are delicious infused in summer drinks and puddings.
Time for tea anyone?