Blending and brewing your own herbal teas at home is a wonderfully relaxing way to enjoy the bounty of the herb garden while taking the edge off of a cold winterâ€™s day.
Herbal teas, also known as infusions, differ from traditional teas in one simple way. They are brewed using the leaves, flowers, roots and seeds of any herbaceous plant. Beverages known a â€˜tea,â€™ however, are all made from a single plant: Camellia sinensis.
Traditional teas are known by a variety of names, based on their location of origin, how the leaves are processed and even by the color of the dried leaf. Green tea, black tea, orange pekoe, matcha and the classic southern sweet tea are all made by steeping the leaves of the tea plant, C. sinensis, in hot water.
A tea maker will need only minimal equipment in order to craft a tasty tea blend:
- a teapot
- their favorite cup
- a reusable strainer of some form to hold the herbs as they steep
Tea balls of various shapes and sizes are available, as are reusable silk or muslin tea bags.
I always suggest that when one is beginning to explore herbal teas, they start by learning about and brewing one single herb. Taking the time to explore flavors, aromas and benefits of just one herb at a time will allow the tea maker to learn about each particular plant without becoming overwhelmed.
Make a Winter Wellness Herbal Tea
Crafting an herbal tea blend can be a fun way to experience the healing power of herbs. Here is a recipe for a winter wellness herbal tea blend that will soothe a sore throat, ease a cough and boost the immune system:
- Echinacea Leaf (1.5 tablespoon)
- Fennel Seeds (1 teaspoon)
- Thyme (1 teaspoon)
- Lemon Balm (1.5 teaspoon)
Add 32 ounces boiling water, cover and steep overnight.
Herbal teas donâ€™t always need to be enjoyed hot. Try this refreshing and flavorful lemon lavender iced tea:
- Green Tea – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon Balm – 2 tablespoons
- Lavender Flowers – 2 teaspoons
Add 32 ounces boiling water, cover and steep in the refrigerator until cold. Serve over ice.