Herbal teas are simple and healthy, and the ingredients can be as close as your garden. Many herbs for tea are simple to grow and require little care. They reward us with a bounty of delicious leaves and ﬂowers to enjoy fresh at the height of harvest, or dried for a welcome reminder of summer when the winter winds are howling.
We’ll walk you through a few easy starter herbs to grow in your garden, and end with a tea recipe that you can use with just about anything.
There are many seed catalogs and Internet stores that can supply you with an outstanding selection of herb seeds or plants to start you on your way. The site selected for your herbal tea garden should ideally be sunny for most of the day, although there are several herbs such as lemon balm that appreciate a bit of dappled shade.
Here are ﬁve popular, easy-to-grow herbs for delicious teas:
An annual ﬂowering plant with beautiful little daisy-like ﬂowers. Makes a golden cup of soothing, apple scented tea, particularly good for children. Chamomile is noted for its anti-spasmodic and sleep inducing properties.
A perennial plant that can be invasive if not controlled, so it is best grown in pots. There are dozens of varieties and ﬂavors of mint that are well suited to tea, both hot and iced. The most popular mints are: peppermint, spearmint and apple mint, but please try some of the more daring varieties such as chocolate, pineapple, and lemon bergamot mint.
Another perennial that is easy to grow, likes somewhat dry soil and can tolerate some shade. It makes a wonderful lemony ﬂavored tea that is a great stomach settler. Its leaves are also useful for seasoning.
Not technically herbs by themselves, but the seedpods of a rosebush that will serve many beautiful and tasty purposes in your tea garden. Almost any rose plant produces “hips” but Rosa rugosa produces the largest. These rose bushes will grow almost anywhere, and oﬀer lovely old-fashioned ﬂowers. But, if you pick the ﬂowers for arrangements you will not harvest any rose hips, which form at the base of the ﬂower. Dry the hips and steep them in boiling hot water for a delicious, citrus ﬂavored tea high in vitamin C.
Perennial garden sage makes a very aromatic tea that tastes great steeped with a piece of ginger root and a slice of fresh orange. Sage leaves make an excellent medicinal tea for sore throats and colds as well as a zesty beverage served hot or iced. (Of course, you can use this outstanding herb for seasoning as well.)
[quote]Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life. – Thich Nhat Hanh[/quote]
OHA’s One-Size-Fits-All Herbal Tea Recipe:
Steep a teaspoon of dried or two teaspoons of fresh leaves or ﬂowers in eight ounces of boiling hot water for ﬁve to ten minutes. Adjust amount and steeping time to suit your taste. Add a dash of honey for sweetness if you like, and enjoy a cup of homegrown pleasure! Drink it straight, pour through a strainer or repurpose a French press for the task! Try mixing and matching leaves and ﬂowers from your tea garden to create your own special blend of delightful herbal tea.
About your garden
If you feel particularly industrious, plan a lovely circular (or other shape) garden bed in which to grow your tea plants. Add some statuary or perhaps a birdbath, and prepare to enjoy the enchanting sights, sounds and aromas.