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Herb Tea





The first hour of my Sunday radio show starts with the SPCA report to help some local dogs and cats. Next we catch up on any gardening news and start the feature called “In Howard’s Garden” that weaves through all the calls and covers what I’m doing in my gardens and what you should be doing on planting, fertilizing, pruning, etc.

I also talk about the herb tea I have made and brought with me to sip during the show. Herb tea is one of the best by-products of organic gardening. Ginger has been my favorite ingredient lately. I use fresh ginger “hands” and cut a piece about tablespoon size into slivers by cutting with the grain, not across it. My other ingredients lately include thyme, basil, garden sage, apple cider vinegar and honey.

To prepare my herb teas, I pick fresh leaves, root pieces and/or appropriate flowers, crush them, put in a teapot and pour in hot water after bringing it to just short of boiling. I use a glass kettle, filtered water and a ceramic (glazed inside and out) teapot. Boiling water destroys many of the health-giving properties. In fact, letting the heated water cool down slightly before pouring is a good idea. Let the tea steep for a few minutes (the longer it steeps, the stronger it gets). Before straining out the solids and enjoying, add honey, stevia, apple cider vinegar or other flavors. These ingredients shouldn’t be added until the tea has cooled down a bit.

My favorite herbs for tea include lemon verbena, peppermint, thyme, anise hyssop, bay, rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, fennel, lemongrass, oregano, spearmint and chamomile. The flowers of linden, hibiscus, begonia, sambac jasmine, and Turk’s cap can also be used. I also use elderberry fruit and leaves and blackberry fruit and leaves.

Herb gardens are worth planting if for no other reason than a source for herb teas. Try some herb tea every day. Pick fresh leaves, crush them and put in the tea pot. Let the brew steep from 3 to 10 minutes depending on your taste. Tannic acid increases with time and will make the tea bitter. A single herb or a mix of various plants can be used.

Natural teas are great to me with nothing added, but lemon juice or honey can be added for taste. By the way, it really is important to use clean, filtered water. Chlorine and other contaminants can ruin the taste and quality of any good drink, as well as your health. Commercial teas can also be added to your own herbs. Japanese green tea is my favorite. It tastes great and is reported to help prevent degenerative diseases. It does contain some caffeine.




Unused tea also has uses. Pour on the plants as a liquid fertilizer after it has cooled. The tea can also be put into your foliar spray solution. The other use is to drink it cold over ice the next day. Toss a couple of fresh leaves into your iced drink for additional flavor. The unused tea can also be frozen into ice cubes to be used in other drinks later.

The rose is a greatly underused herb. Roses can be used in teas for taste and as a health drink. Rose tea can be made from petals and is believed to fortify the heart and brain, to help female problems, stomach disorders and other ailments. Hips, which are the colorful fruits that follow the flowers, are particularly high in vitamins A,B,E, and especially C.

To make a wonderful tea from roses, use the flower petals before they unfold or the hips after they mature to a red color in the fall. Opened flower petals taste good but won’t have as much of the health-giving vitamins and minerals. Use 1 teaspoon of dried or 2 teaspoons of fresh petals for each cup of hot water. Add a little honey and enjoy hot or cold. The rugosa roses have large hips that are the richest in vitamin C.

Don’t do any of this if you are still spraying with the systemic, toxic poisons. If you are still using these unnecessary chemical contaminants like Dursban, diazinon, Orthene, Orthonex, Funginex, Sevin, kelthane or any other toxic pesticide - stop! The synthetics are dangerous and a waste of money. If you don’t know how to avoid the harsh chemicals in your rose program, I can help. See the Organic Rose Program under Guides on the Home page. Try all the wonderful culinary herbs in your teas and let me know which are your favorites.
 

Best Herb Teas Parts Used for Tea
Agrimony
Angelica
Anise hyssop
Basil
Bay
Blackberry
Borage
Burdock
Calendula
Caraway
Catnip
Chamomile
Chicory
Chrysanthemum
Clover
Coriander
Dandelion
Dill
Echinacea
Elecampane
Fennel
Fenugreek
Feverfew
Flax
Garlic
Ginger
Ginkgo
Ginseng
Goldenrod
Gotu Kola
Hibiscus
Hollyhock
Horehound
Hyssop
Lavender
Lemon balm
Lemon verbena
Licorice
Linden
Lovage
Marjoram
Marsh mallow
Mint
Monarda
Mugwort
Mullein
Oregano
Parsley
Pepper
Raspberry
Rose
Rosemary
Sage
Salad Burnet
Sambac jasmine
Savory
Saw Palmetto
Scented geranium
Strawberry
Thyme
Violet
Yarrow
Flowers, leaves and stems
Leaves, seeds and roots
Leaves, flowers and seed
Leaves
Leaves
Leaves
Leaves and flowers
Root and seed
Flowers
Seed
Leaves
Flowers
Root
Flowers
Leaves and flowers
Leaves, flowers and seed
Leaves and roots
Leaves
Roots, flowers, leaves and seed
Root
Leaves and seed
Leaves and seed
Leaves and flowers
Seed
Cloves
Roots
Leaves
Roots
Young leaves and flowers
Leaves, stems and roots
Flowers
Flowers (petals only)
Leaves
Leaves, stems and flowers
Flowers
Leaves
Leaves
Root
Flowers
Roots
Leaves
Roots and leaves
Leaves and flowers
Leaves and flowers
Leaves and flowers
Leaves and flowers
Leaves
Leaves
Fruit
Leaves
Petals and hips
Leaves and flowers
Leaves
Leaves
Flowers
Leaves
Berries
Leaves
Leaves
Leaves
Leaves and flowers
Flowers


 































































Herb tea continues to be an important part of my life. I enjoy herb tea both for its health benefits and for the variety. I could brew a different herb tea each day for at least a year. And, herb tea is a great example of the financial benefits of being organic.

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