Does anyone here grow herbs for tea?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by joyfulmama, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. joyfulmama

    joyfulmama Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2003
    beautiful midwestern USA
    Does anyone here grown their own herbs for teas? I would like to make my own teas. I'm just not sure exactly what I want to grow or what the procedure is for drying the herbs so they could be used as tea.

    I know I want to grow some peppermint, spearmint, and lemon balm. What else would be good for tea?

    If you do this, would you tell me how you harvest, dry, and store your herbs until you are ready to use them?


    LWMSAVON Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2002
    wild strawberry leaves
    sweet marjoram

    and a few other things

    You can make tea from the leaves by two ways:

    1. Use them fresh -

    Gather leaves that are not moldy, damaged as in from bugs eating them or browned.
    Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt, etc.

    Steep 2 teaspoons fresh leaves in hot boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink.

    2. Use them dried -

    Steep 1 teaspoon dried leaf in hot boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink.

    To dry the leaves for later use:
    1.Gather leaves that are not moldy, damaged as in from bugs eating them or browned.
    2. Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt, etc. and pat dry.
    3. If you have a dehydrator, you can dry the leaves on it until brittle. If not, lay them onto a wire mesh screen, or onto a cooling rack with a paper/cloth towel to absorb moisture and let air dry a few days until brittle, you will need to turn them over. You can even put them on a paper towel in the back window of your car in a sunny spot and dry them that way, just be sure to turn them over to thoroughly dry them out.
    4. Crumble the dried leaves and store in an airtight container or paper bag away from heat and moisture.

  3. Earthbound

    Earthbound Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Vancouver Island BC
    To add to the list of herbs for tea(they are endless depending on the function you intend to use them). The ones I use regularily are

    lemon verbena
    raspberry leaves
  4. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2002
    Below the information you want about making herbal teas, but please take good note of the following warning.

    ALL herbal teas are medicinal doses of a drug/medicine. One cup of herbal tea per day (any kind) is a medicinal dosage for an adult. DO NOT regard herbal teas as beverages, any more than you regard headache pills as confectionery. Herbal teas should only be used to treat specific ailments, and preferably only after consultation with a doctor or medical herbalist. Why? Because many herbs interact with other herbs and conventional medications; because some may be contraindicated in certain pre-existing conditions (even the most popular culinary herbs have some effect on the heart, blood pressure, circulation, and other vital functions, and may make a condition worse); most have side-effects (lemon balm, for instance, can cause severe night-sweating); many should not be taken during pregnancy (including mint tea which stimulates the uterine muscles); and because a doctor can monitor your reactions to the drug. Individuals may show allergic reactions to herbal teas. Don't forget that a herbal tea is quite a concentrated dose of the active components in the herb. If you are taking ANY herbal medicine or supplement, you MUST inform you doctor, especially if you are due to have surgery - that includes dental surgery. you should stop taking herbal medicines and supplements at least 2-4 weeks before surgery, or else you could have problems with anaesthetics and haemorrhage. Herbal teas are generally NOT suitable for children under 12, except on medical advice. A medicinal dosage of a medicinal tea for children is 1 teaspoon.

    Please don't ignore this advice. I've been growing and researching and writing books about herbs for many decades, and I know it to be very sound advice. Grow herbs by all means, and learn how to use them wisely, but treat them with the utmost respect because they are nature's DRUGS. They shouldn't be swilled down willy-nilly.

    Off the soapbox now, and the info you wanted, with some of the ailments the herbs you want to use will treat. BTW, you can make a herbal tea of almost any herb, but it's important to know which part(s) of the plant to use. In the case of lemon balm (which is closely related to mint) and the mints, it's the leaves and sometimes the flowers.

    A herbal tea is made by 2 methods - infusion or decoction. Fresh or dried herbs may be used in roughly the same quantities.

    To make an infusion: An infusion is made from softer parts of the plant - the leaves, stems and flowers. Pour boiling water over the herb and leave for 5-10 minutes, as in making ordinary tea. While steeping, the container should be tightly covered. Usual quantities are 15-30g of herb to 600ml water. Strain off the liquid and discard the solid matter. To make one cup, use about a teaspoon of the herb. Usual dosage is 500ml per day divided into 3-4 doses. Do not store an infusion for longer than 24 hours.

    To make a decoction: This method is suitable for bark, roots and seeds. Allow about 30g of the herb to 600ml water. Pour the water over the herb, soak for 10-15 minutes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Strain off the liquid through a cloth or fine sieve and discard the solid matter. A standard dose is the same as for an infusion. May be stored for up to 48 hours.

    Lemon Balm: Used to treat: Anxiety, depression. Panic attacks. Digestive problems caused by stress. Cold sores. Over-active thyroid. Cuts, insect stings. Fever. Colds and flu.Shingles. Circulation. Antibacterial. Insect bites and stings. Catarrh. Eczema. Fatigue. Nausea. Teething. Toothache.

    Peppermint/spearmint: Used to treat: Digestive problems, diarrhoea. Headache, migraine. Respiratory infections. Aroma inhaled to combat shock. Morning sickness. Mumps. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Diverticulosis. Prevent gallstones.
  5. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Dec 11, 2002
    NE PA
    In some states, drying of anything is considered "processing"
    and you would, therefore, be required to follow the rules and
    regulations for sell fresh if it is defined similarly
    in your state.
  6. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    Red Monarda(aka Bergomat) is pretty and very good in tea. Lemon balm is great when mixed half and half with peppermint! Basil is good mixed in with different herbal teas....just have to experiment with what tastes good to you and be careful! Just like they said above!!! I thought that I could drink Feverfew tea for a headache..but I have very low blood pressure naturally and it lowers blood pressure further!!! So if you haven't already done it....check each herb first before you make an infusion of it and drink it! I luckily didn't drink the Feverfew tea! I checked it out first in my dozen or so herb books! Lots of things can affect pregnancy too! Raspberry leaf tea can cause contractions! So be careful!

    Oh...I LOVE Chamomile tea too. In small quantities it doesn't bother my blood pressure and it is really tasty. Good with Monarda...or lemon balm too. (some people refer to Monarda as Bee is not the same as Lemon balm)
  7. stuckinsd

    stuckinsd Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2004
    South Dakota
    I grow and dry chamomile, spearmint and lemon balm for teas-I use the dehydrator to dry them...stuck
  8. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

    May 11, 2003
    Which teas would taste most similar to pekoe (Lipton)? :eek:
  9. Michael83705

    Michael83705 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2004
    Boise, Idaho
    I wouldn't drink Feverfew all the time, but 3 little leaves takes a headache away for me.

    Now when you are talking about making tea.... whoa I got the goods. Get a French Press. Get a clean new one that hasn't been used for coffee and take a pair of scissors out to the yard and appropriately cut or pinch off some plants and put them in the press, put the screen and lid on in the raised position and add your hot (just before boiling) filtered rainwater or whatever you use. Let it steep and then plunge. Pour the glorious tea off into a quart mason jar (they handle the heat) or transfer it to your grandma's tea pot and throw your home made cozy over it. Now clean the french press by dumping the greens into your organic compost and rinsing. It's that easy.

    Yum! :)

    ~Michael in Boise
  10. sbeerman

    sbeerman Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2002
    I've just started drinking herb teas. Sure wish I'd have started sooner, what a treat. We have a nettle patch that I've started picking( usual cautions) . Makes a very good tasting tea. Also enjoy Rasberry and Chamomile. This is the first year for my herb garden so looking forward to adding more to the list. Have taken the tops out of the chewing gum mint to make it buisher and used the tops fresh for tea. You don't need much, gee it's good. Thanks for sharing. Sandie Or.
  11. MomInGa

    MomInGa Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    I use and grow spearmint for iced tea. I love the added touch it gives. A real freshness!
    I also cut back on the sugar when I use it because it just needs a bit less with the spearmint.
    I just have it growing in a large pot on my back porch (easy to access from my kitchen) and snip off what I want to use when I want it. I usually seep the leaves in the tea while its hot, then take the spearmint out, and pour the tea in the pitcher. Of course it also makes a real pretty addition to a glass if you like. :)
    I just place a fresh sprig in the glass and enjoy.
  12. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    I make a tea with dried mint leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and bay leaves. It is soothing and wonderful.

  13. januaries

    januaries Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    This is great information! I'm trying to learn about herbal teas, too.

    I like to use small paper sacks--like lunch bags--when drying herbs. Just cut herb, wash, and pat dry; then place in a paper sack, fold over, and close with a clothes pin. Label each bag, place bags in a warmish, dry location (top shelf in a closet, for example). After a couple of days, check to make sure the leaves aren't sticking together. (If they are, gently separate.) When completely dry and brittle, remove leaves and store in airtight containers. I like this method because it keeps the leaves from gathering dust (or pet hair!) while they are drying, deters the investigations of a curious cat, and doesn't require much space.
  14. JanH

    JanH Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    chocolate mint
    lemon mint
    licorice basil

    others already mentioned :haha: