Sadly, too many gardeners fail to take advantage of the
many delightful herbal teas available to them from their own
garden. Herbal teas are healthy, refreshing and can be sweetened
to taste with honey or dried licorice root.
Brewing herbal teas is very simple. We recommend using the
infusing method, that is pouring boiling water over the herbs and
allowing them to steep for 3-5 minutes, then straining the tea
and serve. Teas can be served cold or hot, according to
Making the perfect tea is a personal preference, we recommend
using the following guidelines starting out:
For one cup of herbal tea, use 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs, or 1
teaspoon of dried herbs. For one gallon, use 6 ounces ( about
2½ cups ) of fresh herbs, or ¾ cups dried herbs. If
using fresh herbs, gently bruise or crush the leaves to help
release flavor and aroma. Never let the herbs set in the tea for
over a day as this may allow tannic acid to release into the tea,
which can be irritating to the stomach.
Be sure to use only herbs that have not been treated with
There are many herbal teas that can be made from exotic herbs,
but we have chosen to list the more common herbs that gardeners
are apt to raise for other purposes as well as tea.
HR101 Agrimony ( Agrimonia eupatoria )
Agrimony has long been used in place of tea in Europe. It is a
hardy perennial reaching 3-5 ft. and prefers full sun to light
shade in ordinary well drained soil.
Parts of plant to use for tea: Flowers, leaves and stems
harvested when plants are in bloom.
Taste: Delightful taste, with a somewhat apricot like flavor.
Can be sweetened with licorice or honey.
1A009 Medico Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa )
Alfalfa is very high in vitamins A, D, E, G and K, as well as
16 important minerals. It is a hardy perennial with many small
flowers growing off of the stems. Grows well in full or partial
sun in well drained soil. Averages 1-3 ft. in height.
This strain of alfalfa can be made into a tea by placing two
teaspoons of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water and soaking
for 15 minutes. This tea is used to treat arthritis, boils,
digestive disorders, urinary tract infections and bowel
disorders. The chlorophyll in this brew will also dispatch of
bad breath. Eating the sprouts in salads is also very
Angelica is a biennial plant often grown as an annual. Flowers
have a sweet honey smell. An oil made from the stems and roots
is used in flavoring liqueurs and stems are often candied and
used in decorating cakes.
Angelica will grow to a height o 4-6 ft. and prefers partial
shade and a moist, slightly acidic soil.
HR310 Anise ( Pimpinella anisum )
An annual plant growing to 2 ft. tall. Prefers growing in
cultivated soil with compost worked in and full sun.
Anise tea is one of the best herbal teas that you could ever
hope to make. It has a delicious flavor, and is said to be
helpful in the treatment of asthma, colic, bronchitis and
nausea. It is also said to be helpful in promoting milk
production in nursing mothers. A cup of Anise tea just before
bedtime will help you rest better and sleep soundly. Leaves and
seeds used to flavor licorice.
Delicious in salads. Seeds often used in applesauce, cakes,
breads, soups and stews. Seeds have also been used for ages as
a mousetrap bait, it is said that mice cannot resist the aroma
of the seeds.
HR105 Lemon Balm ( Melissa officinalis )
A hardy perennial growing to 2-4 ft., prefers light sandy soil
and full sun to partial shade. Lemon scented leaves and sprigs
used to make teas and cool drinks. It is thought to relieve
asthma, migraine headaches and toothaches. Good for potpourri
and the flowers attract bees.
HR320 Large Sweet Italian Basil
A fast growing annual to 2 ft. tall, can be grown in full sun
to partial shade. Should be grown in rich garden type soil.
Basil has long been used to relieve stomach aches, gas and
constipation. The leaves are excellent for tomato sauces and
salads. Adds zest to everything. Very fragrant flowers and
leaves. Good potpourri addition.
HR370 Borage ( Borage officianalis )
The ancient Greeks believed that this herb imparted courage and
was often added to wine. Has been used to treat fevers and as
an antidote against poisons. It is an annual plant growing to 3
ft. tall. Does well even in poor soils and can grow in full sun
to partial shade. Cucumber flavored leaves used in salads and
summer drinks. Good bee plant.
HR109 Burnet ( Sanguisorba minor )
A very hardy perennial that grows 1-2 ft. tall and likes well
drained sandy soil. Has long been used to treat wounds and stop
bleeding. Leaves used to flavor cold drinks and herb vinegars.
Tender, young leaves add a hint of cucumber to soups,
casseroles and salads.
HR400 Caraway Seeds ( Carum carvi )
A biennial often grown as an annual in most types of soil.
Needs full sun. Caraway tea is often used to stimulate appetite
and digestion and to relieve cramps and flatulence. Flavorful
seeds used in breads, cheese sauces and sauerkraut.
HR123 Catnip ( Nepata cataria )
Often grown by cat owners as cats love to find this plant,
proceed to destroy it and roll around on top of it. It is a
hardy perennial with attractive heart shaped foliage. Grows 2-3
ft. tall in moist rich soil. Grows in full sun or partial
shade. Catnip tea has been used to relieve upset stomachs,
hysteria, nervousness and headaches.
HR114 Sweet Cicely ( Myrrhis odorata )
A hardy perennial growing to 2-3 ft. Prefers moist, but well
drained soil and shade or at least partial shade. White flowers
are very aromatic. Fresh leaves used in salads. Seeds used in
pastries and salads. Peeled roots are grated and eaten raw or
steamed. Tea made from cicely is considered to be an excellent
tonic and is considered a mild laxative.
1A008 Red Clover ( Trifolium pratense )
A perennial that is usually grown as an annual. Grows in most
soils and needs full sun. Red Clover has long had a reputation
as a cancer fighter. The plant contains large amounts of
tocopherol, a potent antioxidant form of vitamin E that has
been shown to prevent tumor formation in animal studies. It may
also provide effective relief for menopausal symptoms as
elements of the plant behave like estrogen. A tea can be made
by boiling three teaspoons of dried flower tops per cup of
water and steeping 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day.
G040 Dill ( Anethum graveolens )
A hardy annual that grows in most soils in full sun. It has
been said that nibbling dill seeds will stop hunger pains. Dill
tea is a popular remedy for stimulating the appetite and
relieving stomach aches due to a full stomach. Dill is very
easy to grow and is used to flavor pickles, salads, soups and
more. To harvest Dill, cut flowering stems when in full bloom.
Spread out to dry on trays. When dry, rub off flowers and stems
and discard the stems. Store the flowers and stems in an
airtight container until ready to use.
H264 Fenugreek ( Trigonella foenum )
An annual plant that is widely cultivated for its medicinal
properties. Needs sandy soil and direct sunlight. A decoction
made from the seeds is give to strengthen those suffering from
tuberculosis or recovering from an illness. Also used as an
aphrodisiac. As a poultice, it has many uses.
W206 German Chamomile ( Matricaria recutita )
An easy to grow annual with pretty daisy like flowers, the flowers are scented, and only the flowers are used for making tea.
If you want to harvest flowers for making Chamomile tea, it is best to collect flowers on a sunny day (ensuring that the flowers are fully open), then dry them in the sun. Discard the stems and leaves and store the chamomile flowers in an air tight container.
German Chamomile is most often used for medicinal purposes, and is usually administered as a tea. It can also be administered as a compress for external healing and as a bath for babies. Here are a few uses:
Soothes and relaxes at bedtime.
Relieves restlessness, teething problems, and colic in children.
Relieves allergies, much as an antihistamine would.
Aids digestion when taken as a tea after meals.
Relieves morning sickness during pregnancy.
Speeds healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns.
Treats gastritis and ulcerative colitis.
Makes a relaxing bath or footbath.
Lightens fair hair and conditions complexion. Make a rinse by simmering 2 teaspoons dried flowers in 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes.
Potpourri (dry flowers face down.)
SF084 Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
A hardy perennial with aromatic, threadlike leaves that fill the air with a pleasing apple-pineapple scent. Walk on it for instant fragrance. White, daisylike blooms appear in summer. Spreads unevenly as a groundcover by self-sowing. Young leaves and flowers can be gathered to make a calming tea, both fresh and dried. The leaves can be used in potpourri.
Thrives in moist, rich soil and grows to 12 inches tall. Cut back regularly to encourage dense, compact growth.
Grows well in zones 4-9.
HR141 Horehound ( Marrubium vulgare )
A hardy perennial that likes sandy soils and full sun. Used
since ancient times as an antidote for poisons and for
bronchitis, coughs and colds. Leaves are used for flavoring
juices and teas. Juice used for medicinal candies.
HR145 Hyssop ( Hyssopus officinalis )
A hardy perennial growing 1-2 ft. tall that needs light, well
drained soil and partial shade. A popular remedy for coughs,
asthma and lung disorders. Similar to mint flavor, use small
amount in salads and other dishes.
HR163 Lavender Vera ( Lavendula vera )
A hardy perennial growing to 3 ft. tall , prefers dry, well
drained soil in full sun. Used to treat nervousness heart
palpitations, fainting and dizziness. Also called English
Lavender, the dried flowers of this beautiful plant have long
been used to perfume linens.
H595 Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris )
A tall growing plant perennial usually grown as an annual,
reaching 3 ft. or more. Often used to flavor drinks. An
infusion made from dried roots at a rate of 1 ounce of herb to
one pint of water makes a stimulating tonic for tired blood.
Doses should be 1/2 teaspoon while still warm. The infusion is
also helpful for palsy, fits and epileptic affections.
HR180 Pennyroyal ( Mentha pulegium )
A hardy perennial growing 12 inches tall. Likes clay heavy,
moist soil and partial sun. It has been used to stimulate
digestion and relieve flatulence. A strong but pleasantly
scented plant used to repel insects and protect linens. Makes a
beautiful ground cover .
HR183 Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis )
A tender perennial often grown as an annual. Likes well drained
soil treated with lime and partial sun. Often used to ease
nervousness and induce sleep. Aromatic leaves and stems used to
flavor meats and sauces. Excellent for potpourri.
HR229 English Thyme ( Thymus vulgaris )
A hardy perennial growing only about 12 inches tall. Prefers
dry soil treated with lime and full sun. Thyme tea relieves
indigestion and calms the nerves. Also used as an antiseptic.
Seasoning for poultry chowders, stews, sauces and pickles. Good
honey plant for bees.