Herbal Tea Recipes and Tips

Unexpected combinations create good health & happy taste buds.

| February/March 2004

My love for tea started years ago. When I was a child, my father would brew a strong, milky, sweet tea for both of us. As he was pouring it, he would ask, “One or two teaspoons, Tammy?” My answer was always two, but he asked, nevertheless. The time we spent sipping a cup of tea was our time. We still sit and drink tea together, but today the tea is more likely to be lemon grass or cinnamon. My father asks, “Any sugar, Tammy?” Even though I always reply, “No thanks, Dad. No sugar,” he asks every time.

Now a qualified herbalist and nutritionist, my interest in the therapeutic properties of plants and herbs also started many years ago, when I lived in Lebanon. My newborn baby suffered from colic, and one morning my nosy neighbor heard him screaming. She barged her way into my kitchen—as she always did—with a handful of sweet-smelling seeds. I watched her infuse the seeds and witnessed my first cup of herb tea: aniseed. The tea worked like magic. My son was soon out of his misery and fast asleep.

Nothing gives me more pleasure than passing on my knowledge of my favorite delectable brews. Most of the ingredients in the following recipes are readily available at supermarkets, natural foods stores, or Asian, Indian and Lebanese grocery stores. However, it is well worth it to grow your own herbs. Here are some tips for making your own teas and some of my favorite brew recipes.

Herbal Tea Recipes

• Hawthorn Berry, Lemon Rind and Lime Blossom Tea 
• Lemon, Aniseed and Fennel Seed Tea 
• Horehound, Mullein and Thyme tea 
• Licorice, Ginger and Yarrow Tea 
• Sage and Astragalus Tea 
• Red Clover, Hops and Black Cohosh Tea 
• Lavender and Marshmallow Tea 

Harvesting Tea

Harvest the uppermost parts of a plant on a dry day, just after the morning dew has dried and before the heat of the sun, usually between 9 and 10 a.m.

When picking leaves, choose the top leaves on the outside of the bush or plant. They should be fully mature and bright green. Cut stems with sharp scissors or pruners. Strip off strong leaves by running your hand down the stem firmly but gently. For softer leaves, pick one at a time to prevent damage. Flowers are best picked just before or immediately after they begin to bloom.

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