Herbal Teas for You and Me

herbal teaDespite the prevailing myths to the contrary,  caffeine has few proven health benefits. Caffeine sensitivity varies from person to person depending on metabolism and the amount consumed but some people like me experience nervousness and stomach upset when drinking it. Those are  just two reasons why herbal teas are a better beverage choice for me.  Perhaps they are a better choice for you too.

Since tea was first discovered in the Yunnan Province of China  around 1000 BC. it has become the most consumed beverage the world over. In Kakuzo Okakura’s 1906 philosophical treatise on tea, The Book of Tea he sums up the historical and ancient belief in tea as more than just a pleasing beverage by writing:

“Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage…”

Technically herbal teas aren’t teas at all because most lack the essential ingredient ie. caffeine. The French use the word tisane,  as herbal tea is an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark, extracted in hot water.

Herbals teas are flavorful and healthy drinks that can be enjoyed year round, and as strange as it may seem, drinking either hot tea is summer has the same cooling effect that drinking ice tea does.

Wild Roses and wild Elderberries are common where I live and can be easily harvested in season on my daily walks.  I also grow my own edible healing herbs, including Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass and Peppermint, which I prepare either individually or in blends to make refreshing summer teas for myself and my visitors.

Chamomile Tea – helps relieve irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and gastroenteritis or stomach flu.

Elderberry Flower Tea -  helps with swollen sinuses (sinusitis), colds, bronchitis, coughs, colds, hoarseness (laryngitis) and flu.

Hibiscus Tea – helps lower blood pressure, has diuretic properties boosts immune function and contains valuable antioxidants.

Lavender Tea – aids digestion, relieves flatulence, agitation, restlessness,  tension, migraine headaches and is a sleep aid that counters insomnia.

Lemon Balm Tea – is antiviral, contains many antioxidants relieves digestive ailments, premenstrual aches and pains, has a calming effect on the central nervous system and counters insomnia.

Lemon Grass Tea – is an antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal that aids digestion, relieves anxiety, nausea and constipation, coughs and colds and is a sleep aid.

Peppermint Tea – is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and analgesic that helps relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, headaches, sinusitis, digestive disorders and menstrual cramps.

Rose Hip Tea -  helps with digestive disorders, constipation, diarrhea, and contains vitamins E and K, calcium and magnesium and antioxidant flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins (anti-inflammatory). Rose Hips are  one of the highest sources of anti-oxidants (along with blue berries and cranberries).

glass teapotMaking hot tea:

Pre-heat the teapot;
Pour the boiling water over the flowers over leaves;
Steep for 5 – 10 minutes;
Strain when ready to drink;
Add honey and lemon juice.

When making iced tea, immediately after the hot tea is brewed, pour it into a glass or pitcher filled almost to the top with ice, as sudden cooling keeps the flavor and scent of the tea intact.

History of Tea

A fascinating 10 minute video outlining the history of tea in world politics.

12 thoughts on “Herbal Teas for You and Me

    • Some teas contain a lot of caffeine so that’s worth keeping in mind. I find that a small cup of coffee can sometimes defeat a migraine in the “I feel it coming on” stage. Other times I grind coffee beans and make a cup just because I want to experience the flavor and buzz but that isn’t often.

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for the pin. I’m so impressed with your pin-boards. My single container gardening board is calling for my attention but so is my garden and all the people who fill my life with love. I hope you are enjoying a delightful summer.

  1. I love herbal teas so this would be delicious. As a matter of interest, my comments have started ending up , most times, in people’s Spam folder’s which is irritating and also baffling. I’ve cleared my chache because someone suggested I do that but to no avail. I wonder if you check your spam. I hope you do because this poor comment would love to be rescued.

    • Hi there ducks,
      There’s an issue with comments going to spam that Akismet Staff are going nuts with. They are definitely working on correcting it. Luckily, all you comments are getting through to me. So raise a cuppa in a toast to that.

  2. Informative and inspiring! Thanks for the good information. I’m impressed that you make your own teas; in addition to the health and financial benefits of doing so, growing or harvesting your own tea sounds like something that feeds the soul.

  3. I haven’t drunk coffee for a while now for the same reasons as you. I also used to drink strong black coffee whereas I tend to drink weak black tea. I do like tea though, and prefer either the Indian ones – Darljeeling, Assam or a breakfast blend. And yes, it is refreshing in summer.

    Of the herbal ones, I also have a chamomile one in Spain, it’s actually manzanilla con anis, the anis adds an extra flavour to it. Back in the UK I did buy some commercial herbal/fruit ones and found them particularly vile so your post about what to grow and brew is very helpful. I’ve got mint and hibiscus. For hibiscus do you know if I use a fresh flower (as they only flower for a day) or can wait until it has drooped? and would I need leaves as well? I suppose I can just experiment. I did have a lavender plant but it didn’t seem very happy and died. I might get one in winter as I think summers are too hot.

    The other drink I like is just plain hot water with a slice of lemon. I’ll often drink that first thing in the morning.

    • I’m on the run as I have company driving up. I will answer this comment again tomorrow.

      Hibiscus is ruby-colored and lemony beverage (it’s the main ingredient in Red Zinger tea). Play around with it but I think 1 heaping teaspoon of dried “flowers” per each cup of boiling water is a good starting point.

      • No worries, that’s fine. That’s enough info to start with. Mine is blooming beautifully at the moment so should be able to give it a go. I’m also in the midst of drying taget seeds for next year so there’s usually something being dried at my place. Waste not, want not and all that. (tagets are for companion planting with brassicas, meant to attract hoverflies which eat aphids).

        Hope you enjoyed your company.

        • Hi there,
          We had a great time and will be visiting again tonight.

          Back to tea. I like almost all kinds of tea. I especially like Chai Teas and in contrast to those my hubby likes to brew us Japanese teas. I used to drink a slice of lemon in boiling water for breakfast but now I drink green tea. My main tea is green tea.

          Growing herbs in containers is very easy and though I don’t grow enough to supply us year round, I grow what I can. The rest of the time I buy bulk dried herbs from the gardeners around me or from the health food stores. Kitchen herbs are worth growing too. Nothing tastes better then fresh herbs on veggies.

          Green Tea video

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