Stop buying expensive tea bags and make your own herbal tea!

20  comments

Stop buying expensive tea bags and make your own herbal tea!

Since moving to London, I’ve had tea on the brain.  Browsing through all the fancy tea shops is almost as fun for me as a trip to Sephora.

In addition to the lovely proper teas, they have a great assortment of herbal teas: peppermint, nettle, raspberry leaf, liquorice. Yum!  Unfortunately herbal tea is a bit of a misnomer.  There’s no tea in these, just herbs.  The proper name for them is herbal infusion.  Call it what you like, but I think we should all have more of them in our daily lives.

If you’re not a fan of herbal tea yet, you might want to give them another try.  They’re caffeine free of course, but more importantly, you get some herbal goodness with every cup.

But the problem with herbal tea bags is that quality herbal teas are expensive!  You can’t customize a pre-made tea bag for your own tastes.  And (if you care about organic/pesticides/or even getting what it says on the tin) you can’t tell what’s inside those little baggies.

I never realized how cheap and easy it is to make your own herbal teas that taste even better than the ones you buy!

Let’s start by making a thyme infusion.  Why thyme?  Well, simply because you probably have it in your spice rack!

Thyme is also tasty, easy to grow, very common, useful in cooking, and has traditional uses to soothe respiratory infections like colds/flus.

Note: Traditional usage says to avoid large doses of thyme during pregnancy.

 

Thyme Tea

  • Thyme ((dried or a handful of fresh))
  • Hot water
  • Mug
  • A covered container for brewing & straining ((I use a french press. You could also use a traditional tea pot, or even a separate container and kitchen strainer))
  1. Put some herbs in your brewing container – about 1 tsp dried herbs per cup of water.  For fresh herbs, use more.  Generally this is pretty laissez-faire – try it, if it’s too strong, use less next time.

  2. Pour over water that’s just off the boil.

  3. Very important – COVER. You need to cover your brewing container while the herbs are infusing. This traps all of the volatile oils in the tea, rather than evaporating in the air.

  4. Infuse around 5 minutes. (This depends on the herb … if you want medicinal benefits, you may need to steep it longer so look it up in a herb book.)

  5. Strain and serve. Put the left over soggy herbs in the compost.

 Mmmm hot fresh herbal infusion.  How does it taste? Well, it tastes like thyme (no big surprise there).   OK, admittedly, it’s not my favorite infusion – but I love it when I have a cold and my throat starts feeling scratchy.  It’s especially good with some honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon!  If thyme’s not your thing, you can try this with almost any herb that you normally eat: sage (also great for cold/flu!), mint (helps digestion), chamomile (relaxing), nettle (wear gloves! very cleansing, the fresh is good in spring/autumn only).  One of my absolute favorites is fresh lemon verbena leaves which I have growing in a pot on my patio!  Once you start making infusions, you’ll see possibilities everywhere.

Have you made your own herbal infusion?  What’s your favorite kind of herbal tea that we could recreate at home?  Would love to hear your experiences.

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  1. Will be making this tomorrow as asthma and a cold are not a good mix and dint want any other medicines to take will let you know how i go

  2. I made a thyme infusion with fresh herbs and hot water and inhaled the steam when I had a cold, then when it cooled down I drank it with honey and lemon.

    1. I had a really bad experience this past weekend where I ended up at the ER twice and finally at the ER of a private clinic and spent about $400 for bronchospasms. Was sleep deprived for two whole nights (woke up Friday and didn’t get sleep until Sunday night) due to inability to breathe at full capacity (1/2 for the first day, then 1/3 capacity) and anxiety was highest I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m also claustrophobic so this was especially horrific.

      Ended up drinking Thyme tea to replace the strong bronchodilator nebulizations (with bad side effects like diarrhea) and it ended up being stronger than I thought! It’s amazing to me how well this works. I had such a bad experience, it as lead me to conduct my week long research and I’ve concocted THE ULTIMATE TEA to get better when the onset of any respiratory illness occurs:

      Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Cinnamon, Cayenne (sparingly), Black Pepper (sparingly), Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Turmeric. Sweeten with honey and add a touch of lime/lemon juice. If this doesn’t make you feel better, you should probably be at the hospital seeing a doctor!

  3. I found this website on google because I wanted to know how long to steep my thyme, fenugreek, and licorice root. This may sound strange, but I’m making tea for my cat. A lot of herbs work just as well for animals. Just do your research since some things are poisonous. Thanks for the suggestion to cover it! I would have never known!

  4. Thank you for this post. On Step 3, you said to COVER the container to prevent the volatile oils from escaping. Do you think the oils would still escape through the spout of a teapot?

  5. This summer (for the first time ever) I am growing my own herbs. I hope to try them out in tea as soon as they are established. Can’t wait to try my chocolate mint!

  6. I have been using herbs for many years but though I knew thyme was good for colds I hadn’t tried that tea. Came down with a wicked cold two days ago and remembered the thyme. It worked to calm the cold symptoms pretty quickly. So happy with the results. I did add some honey.

    1. Thanks for sharing your success! I love thyme tea and it’s almost always on-hand. Hurray for kitchen-cupboard remedies!

  7. wow so i’ve had a wicked cough and allergies for about a week, i was getting upset because i didn’t want to use OTC cough expectorants or suppressants…so i googled cough relief natural… and low and behold here you are!!!!i literally just made it 10 minutes ago so far so good… my throat is soothed and my cough is limited… thank goodness 🙂

  8. I used a regular metalic dry tea holder, tossed it in the pot and let it go to town. If I had read this beforehand I would have poured the water in a cup then added the tea :/ but anywho I added some sugar to it and it tastes great! Used a little less than one tbls of regular crushed dry thyme. Hopefully it helps fight this deathly chest cold/fever of mine!

  9. Growing up in Jamaica when we wanted to drink some herb tea we just went outside and pick whatever herb we wanted to use. One of my favorite teas was lime leaf tea.

  10. I’ve tried infusing almost everything in my garden: sage, thyme, mint, laurus, borage (both flowers and leaves), balm (?), basil and rosemary.
    My father usually gets angry “I don’t want to drink something that smells like steak!”, but in the end gets carried away when I start blabbering about the properties of the plants.. 😉
    Just a little idea: if I want to dry something during the hot season I just put it in a paper bag, and hide it in the trunk of my father’s car! (well..maybe that’s also why he gets angry..)
    In a week time, it’s perfectly dried! ^^

  11. Hi,
    I live in Turkey and we have lots of herbalists here. Thyme tea is called Ada (Thyme) Cay (pron. Chai) we make it by boiling dried thyme leaves in a little Turkish coffee pot (called a cezvi) which looks like a tiny deep saucepan. Another popular way is just stick a branch of dried thyme in a tea glass and pour on hot water. Did you know that the propeties of Thyme tea change depending on whether it’s hot or cold? In Turkey we take it hot for sore throats and colds, but if you drink it cold it’s really good for indigestion. Because traditionally in Turkey health care is very expensive and lots of people are very poor, they visit the herbalist before they go to the doctors and herbal ‘lore’ is very prevalent especially in the villages.
    I love your site by the way Amanda.

    1. Hi Lynda,

      Thanks so much for your comments! I didn’t know that you could use hot & cold thyme teas for different things. I’d love to hear what other types of herbal medicine you use for common ailments in Turkey, I love learning from different traditions. Send me an email 🙂

      Cheers,
      Amanda

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