Kitchen Basics – Herbal Teas

By October 5, 2015Kitchen Basics

We see a lot of herbs come through our kitchen. Most from the weekly Abundant Harvest Organics box, a few from my garden. Many of them are the perfect compliment to soups, pastas, or pizza. Some stand on their own as the star in dishes like pesto. Last summer I tackled cold drinks using some of our favorite herbs. Now that we’re in the full swing of fall, let’s sip some tea together.

I will admit that I’m not a big tea drinker, although I like it a lot more than I used to. In the past, I only drank tea when I was sick, giving it a negative connotation. I have now found some teas that I really enjoy, no matter how sick or healthy I’m feeling.

One of my favorite uses for tea is as a stress reliever. Just the act of sipping a hot beverage is soothing. But, even more than that, many herbs are known to be relieve stress. Some that are more commonly known are lavender and chamomile. But, basil and lemon balm can be added to that category too.

Here are a few things that some of my favorite herbs are known for:

Lavender

A part of the mint family, lavender is said to aid with sleep and relaxation and to be anti-inflammatory.

Basil

I love it for its taste and smell. It’s a big part of some of my favorite dishes. But, basil is also known to be a digestive aid, to help with headaches, and poor circulation. It’s also said to be an antioxidant, anti-viral, antimicrobial, and a stress reliever.

Chamomile

My go-to tea when I’m not feeling well, chamomile is known to aid digestion, relieve hay fever, anxiety, inflammation, muscle spasms, insomnia, ulcers, menstrual cramps, and gastrointestinal disorder.

Lemon Balm

Another member of the mint family, lemon balm is said to soothe jittery nerves, improve mood and mental performance, relieve stress, and contain antioxidants. (It’s also used by some as a mosquito repellant.)

Rosemary

I haven’t tried rosemary in a tea, but it’s supposed to help relieve gas and colic (although too many cups/day could irritate the stomach).

Thyme

Another favorite of mine when cooking, thyme is said to help alleviate lung congestion. It’s also said to be helpful for gastrointestinal problems.

Mint

One of my favorite herbs to grow, because of how easy it is and how much I use it, mint is known to stimulate digestion, help alleviate hay fever, nausea, stomach ache, and irritable bowel syndrome, and it is also said to be an antioxidant.

Tea Parings 

I’ve come up with a few ideas for herbs that I think might taste good together in a tea.* I’ve added a few extras, like honey and citrus, where I think they’d be especially nice.

To Soothe

basil + mint + lavender + chamomile + honey

basil + mint + lavender + chamomile + lemon balm

lavender + basil + lemongrass

lavender + orange zest + cinnamon

For the Tummy

lavender + thyme + mint

basil + chamomile + mint

mint + ginger + lemon zest

basil + ginger + thyme + lemon

mint + ginger + lemon zest

Under the Weather 

lemongrass + ginger + cayenne + honey

rosemary + lemon balm + thyme + honey + cayenne

thyme + cayenne + honey + lemon zest + lemon juice

chamomile + thyme + mint + honey + lemon juice

thyme + basil + lemon balm

Just Because

rosemary + lemon balm + mint

mint + lemon zest + honey

Tea can be made tea with fresh and dried leaves. It can be hot, cold, or somewhere in-between. Tea can be comforting, invigorating, and healing… Now I think I’ll go make myself a cup.

Happy Sipping

*If you are pregnant (or trying to conceive), nursing, have health conditions, or take medication that may be interfered with, please consult your health care professional before using. Possible health benefits of herbs are my opinions and ideas, based on the research that I’ve done, but are in no way intended to replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.
Sources:
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., with Lara Pizzorno, M.A., L.M.T., Atria Books 2005
Reader’s Digest Foods That Harm Foods That Heal, The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. 1997
Wikipedia

Author Rachel Oberg

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