Making tea is a regular part of my morning routine. I fill my pan with water, and while it comes to a boil, pick out the herbs I want for our breakfast tea. If my oldest daughter could choose we would have peppermint everyday while my younger ones prefer elderberry with a little licorice. One of our favorite combos that the kids call gingerbread man, is ginger and cinnamon with a little honey. A few other fun things we have tried are adding spices like cinnamon or cloves and even dried orange or lemon peels to our herbal blends. For iced teas I sometimes like to add a little fruit juice. I’ll admit though, that I’m usually more focused on the medical benefits of my teas, and making really tasty blends is not something I feel I’ve completely mastered yet. I’ve been looking for new inspiration and found quite a few yummy looking ideas at herbgardens.about.com
Besides tasting good, herbal teas are a very healthy habit to start. Herbs release their water-soluble beneficial properties into the hot water making their nutrients easily assimilated by your body. Depending on the herbs you choose, teas can be calming and relaxing, help your immune system fight off a cold, and even be a good afternoon pick-me-up.
To make tea, heat your water until it boils, add your herbs, remove from heat and cover. Covering the pot helps to prevent the herbs volatile oils from escaping with the steam. Let the tea steep for about five minutes before straining. A good rule of thumb is to use one to two teaspoons of dried herbs, or four teaspoons fresh herb per cup of water. If you are using roots, bark or seeds to make your tea, let them simmer for ten to twenty minutes before straining. Many times I use a combination of leaves and roots for my teas. In that case simply go ahead and simmer the roots/bark, then add the herb leaves and remove from heat to let them steep.
Here’s a few herbs to try in you teas…
chamomile is relaxing, rich in essential oil, good for your skin and digestive track.
Ginger makes a strong-tasting tea but has powerful medical properties. It’s an anti-fungal and very soothing for an upset stomach. Studies have shown ginger to very effective against nausea .
Peppermint is good for all digestive problems, excellent for colds and flu, and is a stimulant.
Mullein is very effective at expelling mucus making it a great herb to add to your tea if you are congested and fighting a bad cough.
Alfalfa is super rich in vitamins and minerals such as , iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, and potassium. It also contains all eight essential amino acids and has the highest chlorophyll content of any plant.
For those of you that like to garden, visit Gardens Ablaze to learn about herb gardening.