On a cold day, there is nothing better than curling up with a blanket and a cup of tea. You may prefer the more traditional black teas. But if you are looking for interesting flavors that can also have medicinal benefits, you should try herbal teas. There are many herbs to choose from when you decide to brew a herbal tea, some produce a robust, spicy flavor, others taste fruity, still other varieties are soothing. If you can grow a mixed variety of plants in your herbal tea garden you should be able to find the type of tea that best suits your taste buds. Below is a suggestion of five plants for your herbal tea garden.
Herbal Plant # 1
Mint is a great herb and its tea is both aromatic and soothing. It is typically made from spearmint or peppermint, just two varieties of the extensive mint family however, there are many new hybrids of mint that can be grown in an herbal tea garden including citrus and chocolate mint plants. If you are using mint in your tea, pluck a small handful of leaves -enough for three teaspoons- from your plant. It is best to pluck in the late morning as there is the largest concentration of oils in the leaves at that time. Gently crush the leaves between your fingers before letting them steep in boiling water.
Mint is the first choice in any herbal tea garden because it’s very easy to grow it either in the outdoors or in an indoor pot. It prefers a cool, moist environment and does well in semi-shaded conditions. The only time you might have to worry about the health of your indoor mint plant is if you keep the heat turned up high in the winter. At that point, simply move your plant to a drafty windowsill or doorway. Mint is actually so successful in an herbal tea garden that it is considered a rampant grower, this means that your mint can crowd out all your other plants, so it is best to keep it confined to pots.
Herbal Plant # 2
Chamomile is also an all-time favorite of an herbal tea garden. It is an annual, so if you want its tea all year round, you should cultivate it indoors in pots since growing chamomile indoor is easy because it tolerates just about any light level. The dainty yellow and white flowers adorn any herbal tea garden corner and are used to make chamomile tea although it is also possible to use the fine feathery leaves, but they are slightly bitter. Chamomile tea is very soothing and will help you to relax and drift off to sleep and is also a good tea to take for a sore throat.
Herbal Plant # 3
Jasmine tea has a fruity and exotic flavor, its climbing flower does best in a tropical herbal tea garden and will never survive a northern winter, therefore if you wants to keep a jasmine tea plant, you should figure out a permanent indoor arrangement. Jasmine grows well in a plain pot, but being a creeping plant it needs something to climb on. One of the best solutions is to place a small trellis or some sticks at the back of the jasmine pot and train the creepers to rise on that, otherwise you could place your jasmine on the bottom of a metal shelf and let the plant entwine itself in the metal.
Herbal Plant # 4
Lavender makes a wonderful decoration for your herbal tea garden in addition to brewing a lovely tea. Lavender is immediately recognizable by its purple blooms and its summertime fragrance. Dried or fresh lavender will freshen up your room or garden and repels moths and other insects. Lavender tea is made from the buds of the lavender plant. It has been found that drinking lavender tea is a homeopathic way to relieve tension headaches. As you harvest the lavender from your herbal tea garden keep in mind that you need to let enough buds flower so that the plant will continue to propagate.
Herbal Plant # 5
Violets are another beautiful presence in a herbal tea garden. The flowers make an excellent tea which is also healthy and a good source of vitamins A and C. You can let some fresh violets float at the top of the cup for presentation purposes, but the best flavor comes from the dried plant. Violets like the shade and are great for bringing color into your house.
By: Lisa Summerfield
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