Growing a herbal tea garden not only gives you a beautiful and fragrant home. It also turns your house into your own personal therapeutic centre. As herbal teas provide amazing healing qualities, that have been recognised for thousands of years.
The great thing about herbs is that they’re super easy to cultivate, even in pots, on windowsills or cramped balconies. And when grown organically, the herbs you eventually harvest will be more potent, with richer flavours than the store-bought varieties.
Now, a few things before starting: first, if you’re planting the herbs in pots, make sure these have good drainage holes. If you plan to place the herbs outside, bring them in during the colder months and place them on sunny windowsills. You’ll need premium potting soil and well-decomposed compost to nurture your herbs.
The list below gives you the five herbal teas you can grow right in your home. It’s time to take the trowel out—and get started! Then we’ll tell you how to dry and store it.
- Helps with digestion
- Eases headaches
- Calms nerves
If you are not buying mint seedlings from the store, you can grow mint from seed. They germinate after one or two weeks. While mint leaves look harmless, underneath, this plant can be intrusive. Its roots grow horizontally, choking surrounding plants. The best thing for you to do is plant mint in individual pots. Drainage is important as mint doesn’t like to be soggy—one inch of water a week is enough.
- Helps with digestion
- Can protect against some types of cancer
- Improves quality of sleep
The chamomile plant is easy to grow even from seed. Scatter the seeds over rich, organic soil, and press them down firmly without covering them. Water them regularly—chamomile needs an inch of water every week. The seeds should germinate after a week or two.
- Boosts metabolism and regulates appetite
- Clears mucus from airways
- Treats hypertension and reduces stress
Soak fennel seeds in water for about a day before planting them in organic soil; this encourages better germination. It likes sun, well-drained soil, and, once it sprouts, is known to grow aggressively. (It can grow up to six feet!) One thing to remember about tending to fennel: don’t plant it near dill as this may affect its flavour.
- Reduces inflammation
- Eases anxiety
- Boosts the immune system
- Induces calm, improving sleep
- Detoxifies the body
Lavender seeds take one to three months to germinate. If you’re the impatient kind, start your lavender garden from cuttings. This herb likes it warm (around 20°C); use a heat mat in the winter if you don’t have a warm spot in the house. Now, like its germination speed, lavender takes a whole year to grow an abundance of leaves. By the second year, though, there should be a large, blooming lavender garden in your home.
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Lowers levels of blood sugar and cholesterol
- Eases joint pain
A relatively low-maintenance plant, basil likes well-drained soil and lots of sunshine. Like lavender, basil likes warm weather, so make sure you put the pot over a heat mat during the colder months. If you prefer to grow your basil garden from cuttings instead of seed (which germinates in six weeks), simply place a basil cutting in water. When you see a root system thriving, transfer the whole plant into soil.
- Promotes bone development
- Reduces inflammation
- Eases gut issues
Thyme is as laid-back as herbs come. However, it does enjoy growing in healthy soil. Before planting, make sure you mix some well-decomposed compost with organic soil for the thyme. Place its pot in full sun, watering every 10 to 15 days (thyme is a hardy plant so it doesn’t need much water, especially during winter).
- Has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties
- Can help reduce risk of cancer
- May act as a diuretic
Lemongrass thrives in warm weather and lots of sun. It also likes its soil consistently moist (but well-drained), so make sure you water it regularly, as soon as the topsoil becomes dry. Lemongrass will be ready for harvest when its stalks are at least 12 inches tall and the base is half an inch thick.
Drying and storing your herbs
Below are 3 techniques to dry your herbs whilst still preserving the flavour of your herbal teas. Leave the dried herbs to cool completely. Then store them in airtight glass jars for you to enjoy come tea time.
Hanging: If the leaves are still attached to the stem, hang the stem upside down from a string. Leave it to air-dry for a week.
Refrigerate: If you’ve picked the leaves off the stem, simply place the leaves in a small paper bag, fold the ends over and refrigerate. Herbs will dry in two to four weeks yet still retain their bright colour and flavour.
Oven Dry: Place the herbs in a single layer on baking sheets, then bake in the oven at the lowest possible temperature for at least 30 minutes. You’ll know the leaves are dry when they crumble under your fingers.
To make your tea, simply use a loose leaf tea pot, or individual tea strainer to make your tea, then sit back and let the healing benefits soak in.
Drinking and Brewing
The most important part of all. To get the perfect brew, you'll need a tea pot, or tea diffuser / strainer to seperate all the bits (check out the funky ones we have in our store). Pour in hot water. Let your tea brew for 2-3 minutes, then sit back and enjoy!
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