Herbal teas are reaching an astounding following throughout every corner of our little planet! Yes, more and more of us are buying expensive boxed teas, and we’re giving or receiving them as gift sets for all kinds of occasions. One of the biggest trends now is growing fresh herbs, many of which are uniquely suited for brewing our favorite teas. (In my blog post titled “Cuppa Medicinal Tea,” I outline how to plant a small herb garden. Take a peak even if you’ve never attempted to garden. It may give you the incentive to start.)
Even hospitals, restaurants, and community garden plots with limited space are growing herbs on their rooftops and decks, and many of us are experimenting with growing herbs indoor and year-round. A burning question I had was this: why is there now such a huge interest in these specific teas and at this specific time?
In answering that question, we need to admit that, for one thing, new health trends have helped herbal tea, which was once a specialty only in certain cultures, evolve into the popular beverage it is today. Herbal teas have now achieved the full-throated following of thousands of dedicated tea drinkers. I am one such crazy (smile) and have a collection of herbal teas you wouldn’t believe. Because of my growing interest, I kept purchasing all types of herbs, teas, and tea blends, and I found that many of them weren’t the most pleasant to drink! What a waste of money. Even my cat turned her nose away from the scent. (Smile)
I became a little discouraged, and reading the voluminous herb books at my local library seemed daunting to me. However, as good luck would have it, while looking at different websites about growing special tea herbs, I came upon one of the best homey yet cosmopolitan magazines as I’ve ever read!
Let me tell you a little about it, and about the gift of twenty tasty herbal tea blend recipes given to me by the magazine’s editor, Tina Sams, after I explained my desire to learn and write about good-tasting herbal tea recipes.
Luckily for me and my readers, this lovely magazine I’ve now subscribed to is full of growing tips, recipes, and articles galore about all things herbal. And all the while, it’s educating me about the medicinal side of these lovely herbs!
Attention: If you have any herbal buddies, be sure to share this one-of-a-kind blog post from me, including all twenty of the tested and tasty herbal tea blends below. Free of charge and good for thee or an ailing friend. I promise!
Finding The Essential Herbal was truly one of those providential experiences! It’s a well-organized, full-color, hardcopy treasure that will be delivered to my mailbox every few months. What a joy to find that not all good news has to come to my email address! Editor/owner Tina Sams and family are the kind of awesome country folks we often hear about but rarely find in mainstream publications. Learn more about Tina and her family here.
A little about The Essential Herbal: “Bringing herbalists and herb enthusiasts together since 1992! The Essential Herbal is a print magazine shipping within the US. We also have a pdf version available worldwide.
“The Essential Herbal is an herb magazine that you can prop up on the kitchen counter while trying recipes, take along to the natural food store, herb shop, or garden center to help you shop for the best stuff. We originally called it an ‘herbal newsletter,’ but since early 2004, when we began running 32 pages, it became an ‘herbal magazine.’”
There are six issues per year. Subscribe now! You’ll gain access to the subscribers- only Yahoo discussion group—only if you’re interested.
Personal note: Just so you know, I haven’t been paid or received any kind of compensation for recommending this great publication. I’m just sharing with my readers this great find and the twenty freebie recipes I was given by the editor Tina Sams.
Included in the recipe blends below is my own research on one or more of the medicinal properties that I perceive as the main herb in each tea blend. Feel free to look up any of the other specific uses for some of the other herbs. Here is my favorite herbal site, from which I’ve excerpted the “Medicinal Properties” cited below Herbs2000.com.
20 Essential Herbal Tea Recipes
The following recipes are listed without their particular author to maintain uniformity. Some are Tina Sams’ own recipes, and others are from the following contributors, who Tina would like to thank here: Sandy Michelsen, Cathy Walker, Mary Ellen Wilcox, Marcia Herman of SeedPodPress.com, Susanna Reppert of TheRosemaryHouse.com, Jackie Johnson, ND, from TheWisconsinHerbalist.com, and Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh of BackyardPatch.blogspot.com.
Unless otherwise noted, these blends are best made by infusion. By definition, infusion drinks are made by placing a flavoring ingredient (such as tea or herbs) into a liquid (such as hot water). Infusions are the most popular method of preparing teas. The “Medicinal Properties” cited below are all quoted (and/or adapted) from Herbs2000.com. (All emphasis mine.)
1 part spearmint
1 part black tea
Orange zest to taste
Medicinal Properties – Spearmint is a widely used homemade herbal medication. Herbal medicine practitioners have customarily used a tea prepared with the leaves of spearmint to treat medical conditions, such as headaches, fevers, and digestive problems. Black tea has caffeine and as such may be bothersome to some who are not accustomed to drinking caffeinated beverages.
1 part lemon balm
1 part lemon verbena
½ part lemon thyme
⅛ part lemon zest
Medicinal Properties – Lemon verbena has a number of therapeutic uses. For instance, a placid sedative tea is prepared using the leaves of the herb to comfort nasal and bronchial congestion. In addition, this herbal tea is also taken internally to treat palpitations, indigestion, stomach cramps, flatulence, and nausea. Lemon balm: Traditionally, decoctions made from the lemon balm have always been used to lift up the spirits and perk up morale. The herb is believed to induce longevity when it is taken on a regular basis. There are also many other traditional uses of the herb, such as in the healing of wounds to bring relief from palpitations, relax the heart, and treat toothaches and other dental problems.
1 part chamomile
1 part red raspberry leaf
½ part peppermint or spearmint (see Southern Slipper)
Just a pinch lavender
Medicinal Properties – Chamomile has a great relaxant action on the nervous system and the digestive system. The herbal remedies made from this herb are considered to be a perfect remedy for the treatment of disorders affecting babies and children. Red raspberry leaf: The raspberry plant is used for its astringent and for its stimulant properties. When a strong infusion or tea of the plant is taken as a mouthwash or as a gargle, it soothes a sore mouth and also lessens inflammation of the mucous membrane of the throat.
1 part anise hyssop
3 parts spearmint (see Southern Slipper)
Medicinal Properties – Anise hyssop in folk herbal medicine tea has been employed to facilitate the digestive process. Native Americans also used anise hyssop as a medication to cure wounds, fevers, diarrhea, and cough. The leaves of anise hyssop are cardiac (good for the heart) as well as diaphoretic (induces perspiration). An infusion prepared from anise hyssop leaves is used to cure feeble heart and other health conditions. A poultice prepared with the leaves and stems of anise hyssop may be used to heal burn injuries.
Medicinal Properties – Fennel Seeds Patients affected by abdominal bloating are the main beneficiaries of herbal remedies made from the seeds of the fennel. In addition, the fennel seeds are also used to alleviate problems such as stomach pain; they are used in stimulating poor appetite in patients; the diuretic action and the anti-inflammatory properties of the seeds are also used to treat a variety of disorders affecting different individuals. This tea is delicious, very calming, and great for digestive problems.
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons elderberry syrup (or one heaping tablespoon dried berries)
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Medicinal Properties – Elderberry: A variety of herbal medications are derived from different parts of the elder plant. For example, the mucous lining of the inner nose and throat is toned by a remedy made from the flowering tops of the plant. This treatment leads to a better resistance from infection in these areas of the body. This tea is helpful when you have a cold or flu.
¾ cup rose petals
¼ cup lavender blossoms
½ cup rosemary
¾ cup jasmine blossoms
½ cup hibiscus flowers
Mix all dried ingredients and store in an airtight container. To make the tea, use 1 teaspoon of the blend for each cup of briskly boiling water. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes. This blend makes a great gift in decorative bottles along with a fancy note about the folklore below!
Folklore: Rose petals to bring or send love. Lavender blossoms indicate devotion.
Rosemary is for remembrance. Jasmine indicates sensuality. Hibiscus flowers: when used behind the left ear, “I have a lover,” and behind the right ear, “I want a lover.”
Holy Basil-Sage Tea
Scant ¼ cup of dried holy basil leaves
Pinch of dried sweet annie (Artemisia annua) leaves (optional)
Pinch of green tea (I suggest ½ teaspoon)
Two dried sage leaves (I suggest ¼ teaspoon dried powdered sage)
Medicinal Properties – Holy basil has numerous benefits. The leaves of this herb serve as a nerve tonic (stimulate the nerves) and help sharpen memory. The plants also help get rid of phlegm and catarrhal substances accumulated in the bronchial tubes. The leaves of holy basil help make the stomach stronger and bring about profuse sweating. Even the seeds possess medicinal properties, and they secrete mucilage (mucilaginous). In fact, this herb is excellent for diminishing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Two (4 inch) sprigs rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
About ¼ cup dried mint, either peppermint or spearmint
Pinch green tea (optional)
Medicinal Properties – Rosemary can circulate blood to the head, thereby aiding in better concentration and improving memory. It is also believed that rosemary helps in better hair growth because it is able to improve blood circulation to the scalp. The versatile herb has even been used to treat varied disorders like vertigo and epilepsy.
American Cranberry Tea
1 quart cranberries
4 quarts water
2½ cups sugar (I recommend substituting ½ cup raw honey)
½ cup cinnamon candies (I recommend substituting 2–3 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
Juice of 3 oranges
Juice of 3 lemons
Bring cranberries and one quart of water to a boil. In another pan, bring three quarts of water and sugar (or honey) to a boil. Add cinnamon candies (or Ceylon cinnamon), cloves, and spices, then simmer. Put cranberries through a sieve and combine with other liquid. Before serving, add juice of oranges and lemons. Serves 12–15. Sounds like a great Christmas treat.
Medicinal Properties – Cranberries: In the 1840s, German researchers found out that the urine of individuals who consumed cranberries contains hippuric acid, a chemical that combats bacteria. Studies undertaken in recent times endorse the theory that consuming cranberries or drinking the juice of these berries may help in avoiding or combating urinary tract infections. In effect, hippuric acid thwarts the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract.
Rosemary (see Rosemary-Mint Tea)
Medicinal Properties – Rose petals: Like rose hips, the petals of rose flowers also have numerous remedial uses. For instance, rose petals are effective in relieving congestion in the female reproductive system. Licorice root: Ancient records from Greece and other places show it was used in the treatment of asthma, chest problems, and canker sores. Licorice is also found to be useful to ease certain chest complaints, arthritis, and inflammation of joints, skin, and eyes.
Purple sage leaves
Lemon balm (see Lemon Up)
Peppermint or spearmint
Rose petals (see Memory Tea)
Medicinal Properties – Sage leaves can be used for all types of sore throats. This is because sage has antiseptic and astringents as well as certain relaxing properties, which is one of the main reasons why sage is used rather frequently in gargles. Sage is often described as a digestive tonic and as a stimulant, and in Chinese medicine sage enjoys a good reputation as a versatile nerve tonic.
Seventh Heaven Tea
Chamomile (see M’Lady’s Cup)
Lemon verbena (see Lemon Up)
Lavender Mint Tea
1 part lavender
4 parts peppermint (or spearmint if you like a milder mint)
Medicinal Properties – Lavender is often combined in mixed remedies with different sedative herbs to treat problems such as sleeplessness, nervous irritability, and chronic headaches, as well as persistent migraine problems in affected individuals. The herbal remedy made from the lavender is also very useful in alleviating depression and related mental disorders.
1 part chamomile (see M’Lady’s Cup)
1 part calendula
¼ part lemon peel
1 part peppermint
Medicinal Properties – Calendula: The calendula is a potent antiseptic herb. Several of the active chemical constituents found in the herb are fungicidal or mycotic toxins, especially the resins. In addition, these compounds are also bactericidal and antiviral agents. This accounts for the effectiveness of the herb in the treatment of cuts, physical wounds, varicose veins, and various other inflammatory disorders that affect the human body.
Summer Sunshine Tea
1 part chamomile (see M’Lady’s Cup
¼ part lemon peel
1 part peppermint
1 part sage (see Garden Tea)
Tibetan Butter Tea
Author commentary: This is no ordinary tea. In fact, many tea drinkers don’t like it at all because it’s not sweet tea but rather creamy and salty. I was a bit confused when I first drank it, thinking it was a broth rather than tea. But I immediately loved it. Tibetan tea, if you can get it, comes in blocks of about a pound or so, with large leaves. It’s often wrapped in yellow tissue paper, or you can just use loose-leaf tea (preferably strong black leaf), or even a few tea bags if you have nothing else. Please, do try this tea, especially on a cold day. It’s heaven, and it’s actually one of my favorite teas now.
2 well-rounded teaspoons of strong, loose black tea, or 3 teabags (if using pressed tea, cut off a chunk about double the size of a quarter)
2 tablespoons salted organic butter (preferably raw or cultured)
Milk (I recommend organic, raw whole milk)
Pinch sea salt
Hand mixer (that can be immersed in fluid)
- Boil water in kettle. Place leaves at the bottom of a glass
- Add 4 cups boiling water over leaves. Let sit, covered, 3–5 minutes.
- Strain leaves. Set aside, then pour back into the pitcher.
- Add pinch sea salt and 2 rounded tablespoons organic butter to the tea.
- Pour about 2–3 cups whole, raw organic milk, enough to fill pitcher about ⅔ full while still making sure liquid remains hot.
- Take hand blender and submerge it into the tea. Mix for a few seconds to make sure butter and salt are properly dispersed. Little oil bubbles will appear on the top of the tea, and it will become light brown. Leave tea in the pitcher if there’s a bunch of you, or quickly pour into a teapot with a cozy to keep it warm longer.
Herbal Masala Tea (Chai)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 4 thin rounds (about 1-inch thick)
4 sticks cinnamon bark, dried
10 whole cloves, dried
10 whole green cardamom pods
10 whole allspice berries
10 whole (black or green) peppercorns
Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot, about 8 minutes. Add all spices and continue to boil for another 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to steep for another 1–2 minutes. Strain to remove whole herbs and spices. Pour into a tea pot or other heatproof container, and serve in cups with cream or milk and honey to taste.
Licorice Spice Herbal Tea
8 cups water
2 whole cinnamon sticks (3-inch pieces)
10 whole cloves
5 green cardamom pods
½ tablespoon fresh orange zest (about 1 small orange)
½ large, whole vanilla beans, split open and scooped out with a knife or spoon to remove essence
1 tablespoon cut licorice root
½ tablespoon anise seeds
1 tablespoon whole Chinese star anise
1 teaspoon cut sarsaparilla (optional)
Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pot, about 8 minutes. Add all spices. Continue to boil for another 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to steep for another 1–2 minutes, then strain to remove whole herbs and spices. Pour into a teapot or other heatproof pitcher or container. To serve, pour into tea cups. Tea can be served either hot or as an herbal iced tea.
Masala Chai with Fennel
1 cup water
1 cup organic raw whole milk
3 teaspoons Assam, Ceylon, or Darjeeling tea leaves (if these teas are not readily available, I recommend black tea)
1-inch piece dry ginger
3 cardamom pods, split open
2 whole cloves
1-ince piece cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Sugar to taste (I recommend raw honey)
Coarsely grind all spices together and set aside. Mix milk and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on high. As the milk/water rises to a boil, add the spice mix. Reduce to a simmer. When it rises to a boil again, add the tea leaves. Allow to rise, then turn off heat. Cover and steep for 2 minutes. Strain, add sugar, and enjoy.
Green Tea Chai
2 tablespoons green tea leaves (I use powdered green tea)
6 whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 cup organic raw milk
4 cups filtered water
Honey to taste
Boil water, then simmer with Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, and cloves for about 10 minutes. Add tea and steep 5 minutes. Add milk and heat to near boiling. Turn off heat. Strain out spices and tea leaves. Serve with honey.
Medicinal Properties – Green Tea: As an herbal measure, green tea is helpful in the treatment of various infections affecting the digestive tract of patients. It is believed to induce sweating and is used as a tonic for frayed nerves. Green tea is also used for the treatment of various eye problems. It is used in the treatment of hemorrhoids, to treat physical tiredness and fatigue, and to bring down fever in patients. The leaves of the tea plant can also be used as a topical herbal measure for the external treatment sunburn.
Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.