Want to Grow a Herb Tea Garden?

With so many culinary and medicinal health benefits, a herb tea garden is a must for every gardener. Even if you just have a balcony or tiny space, herbs have so many uses.

Grow your own herb tea garden - easy herbs to grow, brew and use for health

Grow your own herb tea garden – easy herbs to grow, brew and use for health

Easy Herb Teas to Grow & Brew

If you’re not already growing your own herb garden, hopefully you’ll be inspired to start!  There are a wide range of delicious and aromatic herbs that can be grown for hot or iced herb teas and medicinal use.

 

Sprigs of fresh mint for herb tea

Pick sprigs of fresh mint for herb tea

 

Getting Started with Herb Teas

Chamomile (German) Tea

  • A mild flavoured relaxing tea that I’ve used hundreds of times over the years. Helps to calm and soothe the spirit, settle stomach aches and indigestion and is a great tea for helping you relax, destress and get to sleep.  It goes well with a little honey and a slice of lemon.  You can also use the tea as a hot foot bath for tired or sore feet!
Chamomile tea made with fresh or dried herb flowers is a relaxing calming tea to enjoy

Chamomile tea made with fresh or dried herb flowers is a relaxing calming tea to enjoy

 

  • Chamomile is a fast growing annual flower, easily grown from seed. The white-petalled daisy flowers are about 2cm wide. These fragrant flowers make it a great addition to any sensory garden and attract beneficial pollinating insects. It makes an attractive ground cover and can be planted in pots or garden beds.

 

Herb tea garden - Chamomile flowers attract beneficial pollinators like bees

Not only do chamomile flowers look pretty, but bees and other insects feed on the nectar and pollen – a vital food source.

 

  • As chamomile is such a wonderful calming herb, it’s no wonder that children’s book characters Alice in Wonderland and Peter Rabbit drank Chamomile tea! I used to make this for my daughter in a bottle before bedtime to soothe her to sleep.

 

Herb tea storage: Dried chamomile flowers in a glass jar. Preserve dried herbs in an airtight container.

For tea, flowers are best picked as they start to bloom and dried in the shade as sun drying can cause the volatile oils to evaporate. Store dried flowers in a sealed container.

 

Lemon Balm Tea

  • Similar looking to mint and in the same family, lemon balm has a subtle lemon scent and flavour. It is known as the ‘happy herb’ because it helps you stop feeling sad and blue! Nature’s anti-depressant herb. ‘Balm’ means to lesson pain, soothe and heal. Lemon balm soothes the nervous system and lifts the spirits. In this age of stress, it’s a must have herb to grow in a pot or your garden.
  • A famous Greek physician, Galan once said “Lemon balm doth maketh the heart merry.” It has been found to ease simple colds, coughs and fevers. Lemon balm is calming, relaxing and refreshing (great to soothe crying babies) and students have found it helps clear the head, sharpen the memory and calm nerves when drunk before and during exams!  All great reasons to grow this fragrant herb.

 

Lemon balm and mint both grow well in a pot

Lemon balm and mint are happy bed partners in a pot! Both herbs thrive in sun or shade with plenty of moisture.

 

  • To dry lemon balm, pick the stems after the sun has dried dew on the leaves, on a fine day. Spread in the shade to dry, turning often. If they turn black when drying, the therapeutic benefits are lost to oxidation.
  • Chew a few washed lemon balm leaves to freshen breath.
  • Lemon Balm tea may help relieve morning sickness if drunk with honey first thing in the morning.
  • Avoid this herb if taking thyroid hormones – it may interfere with thyroid treatment.


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Happy Potion Herb Tea Recipe

Leslie Tierra, in her wonderfully inspiring ‘A Kid’s Herb Book’ shares this useful recipe for ‘Children’s Happy Potion’ (however it’s just as easily used for adults too)!

To make the tea, infuse or steep 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon balm leaves and ½ teaspoon of chamomile flowers in 1 cup of boiled water.  Brew for a few minutes, strain and sweeten to taste.

 

Children's herb tea party with colourful cups and saucers

If you’re encouraging children to enjoy drinking healthy herb teas, make it fun with a colourful tea set. Encourage them to collect flowers from the garden to add as a table decoration. Get them involved in picking the herbs, making the tea and tasting new flavours.


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Mint Herb Teas

  • One of the easiest herbs to grow is mint. Mint makes a wonderfully refreshing iced tea drink as well as hot herb tea.  Crush, snip or bruise your mint leaves to release the essential oils.

 

Tips for Using Fresh Mint

Tips for Using Fresh Mint

  • Great for summer, this is an idea shared in Sharon Lovejoy’s wonderfully entertaining book Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots’. Harvest a handful of fresh mint, cover with cold water and put it outdoors in a sunny spot to infuse and ‘brew’ for about 3-4 hours.  Bring the ‘Sun Tea’ inside, strain and chill in the fridge. Read these tips to ensure no bacteria grows in the sun tea. Warmer summer months have the perfect temperature to brew sun tea outdoors – allow adequate time to infuse the flavours.
  • Try other flavoured mints like pineapple, apple mint, chocolate or spearmint leaves for a different flavour.

 

Mint is an attractive leafy herb and pretty when in flower

Mint propagates easily by rooting a cutting in water.  It attracts bees to feed on nectar and pollen in the flowers and provides free seeds.

 

  • Keep your mint in semi-shade or partial sun to get the best flavour. Mint loves being watered well and a monthly drink of liquid fertiliser such as seaweed, fish emulsion, worm casting or compost tea will keep it growing healthy leaves all year round.

Floating Flower and Herb Ice Cubes

  • Another idea is to add ice cubes to your herb tea.  Make flower ice cubes by boiling water and then cooling it before pouring into an ice-cube tray.  Add mint flowers or other edible herb flowers or petals after washing thoroughly.

 

Mint ice cubes ready to add to herb tea. Photo: Maria Pontikis

In addition to mint ice cubes, try some edible flowers like violets; colourful nasturtiums; borage; pansies; rose or calendula petals; chive and onion blossoms; rosemary, thyme, dill and lavender flowers. (Just make sure these have been grown organically with no harmful chemicals)!

 

  • Fruit ice cubes – Alternatively, add a piece of fruit to each cube and freeze well.  Add a straw to each glass, pour in the ‘sun tea,’ add a floating flower, fruit or mint ice cube and serve the iced tea with a fresh sprig of mint.


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Tips for Making Herb Teas

One of my favourite books from our home library is How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Lifeby Isabell Shipard. This book has a wealth of information on herbs. These are a few suggestions for making herb teas:

  • Keep the lid on the teapot to prevent beneficial essential oils from being lost by vaporizing.”
  • “With aromatic teas, take time to enjoy the fragrance coming from the tea – the aroma activates vitality and a feeling of well being.”
  • Herb teas are drunk without milk. If you are a sweet tooth, “add a little honey, licorice root, or stevia.”
Herb tea pot with stevia, mint and lemon grass | The Micro Gardener

Stevia promotes health and healing, increases energy, helps digestion and unlike sugar – INHIBITS tooth decay! All great reasons to add to your tea.

 

  • Add chilled herb tea to fruit juices for a variation – herb teas go well with pineapple, orange, passionfruit and mango juice.
  • During winter, hot herb tea can be kept warm all day in a Thermos flask. “This is a useful way to make up the day’s dose when taking a herb therapeutically.”
  • Fresh herbs are best picked just before brewing for maximum flavour and nutritional benefits.

 

Why not theme your Tea Garden by using an old kettle or teapot as a feature in the garden bed and plant your herbs around or in it?

Why not theme your Tea Garden by using an old kettle or teapot as a feature in the garden bed and plant your herbs around or in it?

 

“Each garden has its own surprise.”…Susan Allen Toth, My Love Affair with England (1992)

A Sow Simple Guide to Using Herbs for Health eBook by Anne Gibson

Want to learn more about how to use herbs? Check out my eBook “A Sow Simple Guide to Using Herbs for Health.”

If you liked this, you might also enjoy How to Harvest HerbsHow to Grow Sprouts on your Benchtop, Gardens for Kids, and Get a Small Kitchen Garden Started.

Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. Please read my Disclosure Statement for more details.

 

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