Saturday, January 24, 2015

Garden Fresh Herbal Tea

Herbal teas can do wonders for the body with their natural healing properties.  Lucky for me, I have plenty of fresh herbs out in the garden, so I decided to make some fresh herbal tea today.

For today's concoction, I selected lemon balm (melissa offinalis) and spearmint (mentha spicata).  Lemon balm helps calm nerves and anxiety, as well as aid in digestion and can improve memory and uplift one's mood.  Spearmint helps with digestion, including nausea and relaxes stomach muscles.  It also includes the essential oil menthol, which has local anesthetic and counter-irritant properties.

I grabbed about two handfuls of herb leaves (one of each type of herb in this case), then chopped up the leaves so that they will infuse the tea better.

I then put the herbs in a tea ball, and placed the tea ball in a 20 oz glass jar.  Next, I poured boiling water over the tea ball and let it steep for 20 minutes.  If you don't have a tea ball or other infuser, you can also place the herbs directly in the boiling water and either stain them out, or let the herbs settle to the bottom of the glass.

After steeping, add some extra flare to the beverage by adding some stevia or honey (antibacterial/anti-inflammatory) for sweetness, and maybe some lemon (antioxidant vitamin C) for some zestiness.  It ended up being a very mild and enjoyable tea.  

I can't wait to try out some other herbal tea concoctions.  Some future herbs (and a couple extra additions) I may try and their medical benefits include:

BASIL is useful in maintaining liver health and eyesight, is high in vitamin A, magnesium, iron and beta carotene, reduces kidney stones, cholesterol, inflammation, fever and free radicals, is a fungicidal, antioxidant, COX-2 inhibitor which can aid in the treatment of colds, asthma, cough, acid reflux, indigestion and headaches.

BAY LEAF is a decongestant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, astringent and diuretic capable of aiding digestion and boosting the appetite as well as improving insulin function.

BLACKBERRY LEAF contain flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidant properties.  The leaves will also add a berry flavor to the tea.

CHAMMOMILE is an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic uterine stimulant and a mild sedative which assists in stress relief and muscle relaxation, contains apigenin - a flavonoid capable of initiating renal regeneration in rats and potentially capable of triggering adult neurogenesis in humans and works to reduce nausea, bloating and singular instances of insomnia.

CHILI boosts the immune system, reduces chills and aids in pain relief due to the effects of capsaicin.

DILL can cure indigestion or flatulence, aid in treating bronchitis, UTI, cough or cramps and is high in calcium.

ECHINEACA is used to prevent the common cold.  It boosts the immune system, relieves pain, and reduces inflammation.

FENNEL relieves gas, helps to treat stomach ailments or indigestion, reduces fever and encourages healthy menstruation.

GINGER is an anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, expectorant and antioxidant which aids in the production of saliva and digestive enzymes, reduces heartburn and nausea, clears sinuses, boosts the immune system, cleanses the lymphatic system, flushes toxins, stimulates the appetite and soothes a sore throat.

HIBISCUS FLOWER is known to reduce blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, and strengthen the immune system (high in vitamin C).

HONEY is anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti-oxidant, full of minerals, capable of soothing the throat, reducing GERD or acid reflux and allergies, is an antitussive that has been proven to lessen coughing in children and helps to sweeten bitter herbal teas.

LAVENDER can assist in the treatment of anxiety, flatulence, tension and indigestion and is also a sleep aid.

LEMON is astringent, antioxidant, diuretic, full of vitamin C and potassium, capable of maintaining an alkaline state and can stabilize the catechins in tea.

LEMON BALM calms nerves and anxiety and can aid digestion.  It also has several properties which control herpes (including cold sores) and also regulates the thyroid.

LEMONGRASS aids in digestion and can add a lemon flavor to teas.

NETTLE lowers blood pressure, reduces cramps, PMS, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia and coughs, improves circulation, is high in calcium-magnesium, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, decongestant, expectorant, astringent and an anti-histamine.

OREGANO is an anti-rheumatic and anti-fungal used to treat sore throat, coughs, UTI, slow digestion, menstrual pain, malaria, insomnia, anxiety, asthma, congestion and flatulence.

PARSLEY contains apigenin - a flavonoid capable of initiating renal regeneration in rats and potentially capable of triggering adult neurogenesis in humans, is used to treat UTIs, kidney stones, colic, dropsy, bloating, flatulence and amenorrhea and also stimulates blood vessel rejuvenation.

PASSIONFLOWER is used for insomnia and to aid in a restful night’s sleep.

PEPPERMINT is effective at treating nausea and cramps by numbing the nerve endings in the stomach, reduces stress, soothes coughs or sore throats, is anti-spasmodic and boosts the immune system.

POPPY (Papaver Rhoeas) is a narcotic, soporific, mild sedative, analgesic, anti-diarrheal and antitussive that is highly effective at relieving pain and inducing sleep.

ROSEHIP is high in vitamin C, which is important for the immune system, skin and tissue health, and adrenal function.

ROSEMARY is antioxidant, antiseptic and analgesic, stimulates blood flow, helps to treat headaches, indigestion and fever, and prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine.

SAGE is an anti-inflammatory and an anti-fungal, can be used to treat sore throat, insomnia, indigestion, anxiety, hot flashes and fever, is a COX-2 inhibitor, and prevents both the loss of acetylcholine and the depletion of glutathione.

SPEARMINT helps with digestion, including nausea and relaxes stomach muscles.  It also includes the essential oil menthol, which has local anesthetic and counter-irritant properties.

THYME is an antioxidant, antimicrobial, decongestant, aids digestion, relieves bloating, rich in vitamin K, helps to treat both respiratory and nervous disorders.


  1. Fabulous rundown of the health assisting claims of many easily sourced garden leaves for infusions. I'm fighting an impulse to rush out and graze my garden. I could live forever (cue evil laugh)!

    1. Haha - I know! After going through that list, I think, "gee, I really need to use all these herbs more often!" Seems they can prevent/ease/cure just about any ailment.

  2. I bet the tea was delicious. I have lemon balm growing in a pot on our patio. In the summer when the mosquitoes try to descend I like to squeeze a sprig and rub it on my arms. It isn't 100% effective but it does seem to discourage most of the monsters.

    1. It was! (especially after adding the honey). Using spearmint gave it a very mild minty flavor. After reading more about mints, it seems peppermint will give a much stronger minty flavor, since it contains a much larger percentage of menthol. I'll have to try that next time. I haven't used lemon balm much before, but as I was cutting it for the tea, I thought to myself, "this smells like a mild citronella." I guess it makes sense then that it is a mosquito repellent!