Local. Seasonal. Organic.
Those are the buzzwords of the day for foodie culture.
And if you can reduce your food miles to just a few feet by growing food in your backyard, you’ll be the envy of many a food lover!
While I would love a big garden for planting and pottering in the summer, my reality is a small flat in the city.
But even those of us with little or no outdoor space can still get in on this local, seasonal, organic food trend … with fresh herbal teas!
You’ve probably noticed that you can pay a fortune for good herbal teas. I’m talking about those highly scented loose leaf herbal teas, where you can actually see the flower petals. Or those silk pyramid teabags with little chamomile buds in them. Or even a treat of a fresh mint tea in a restaurant.
The thing is, with herbal teas, the very best is also the least expensive.
The absolute best quality and best tasting herbal infusions – and the ones with the most herbal health-boosting goodness – are the ones you can grow yourself.
Freshly picked herbs, infused in hot water, ready in 5 minutes.
You can’t get much more local or seasonal than that.
More than just a pretty drink.
Sure, herbal teas are pretty to look at. And they are a nice caffeine-free alternative to coffee or black tea.
But the reason you’ll fall in love with herbal teas is because of their health boosting benefits. Their ‘herby goodness’, as I like to call it.
Herbs have been used for thousands of years by humans (and other animals) to bring their health into balance.
Just remember that herbs don’t work like drugs. It’s not usually a 1-to-1 association – like “if you have a headache, take this pill. If you are depressed, take this one instead.”
Instead, herbs work gently on the body to balance our system. Yes, certain herbs have affinities for certain systems of the body. And certain herbs ARE beneficial for specific conditions – but herbs always work on the entire body, so they can usually can help in more than one area.
And this is good news for you, with your backyard herb garden.
Because you can’t really go wrong with making herbal teas! Each tea will balance you in different ways, so if you make a fresh-picked brew of a few different herbs, you’re almost guaranteed to get something that you need that day.
Summer garden herbal tea ideas.
Here are some ideas for your summer garden herbal tea mix. Pick and choose based on what you need that day, or try one of my blends.
If you’ve got a lot of plants growing, you can also dry some herbs to use in tea over the winter.
Of course – always make sure you correctly identify a plant and ensure it’s edible, before using it in tea! A good plant identification book can help here – or simply pick plants that you’re growing yourself!
- Peppermint is uplifting and refreshing. Good hot or iced, and combines well with most other herbs! Good for a gentle lift of energy during the day, and to boost sluggish digestion. Can also be good after a big meal to help you feel less full.
- Chamomile is calming and relaxing. Great when you’re feeling stressed, or in the evening to wind-down before bed. Also helps digestion, and upset/unsettled tummies. Fresh chamomile has a different taste than the dried flower, so you may want to combine this with other herbs.
- Rose is emotionally uplifting, and adds a beautiful color to your tea! Especially good if you’re feeling slightly down or depressed, or if you’ve suffered a bereavement. Very gentle, and a favorite that combines well with other herbs.
- Lemon Balm is antiviral and used to improve seasonal depression (especially in the winter). Use it for a bright and cheery tea that will give your mood a lift!
- Rosemary is an invigorating and memory-boosting tea. This is great to share over a chat with friends – really stimulates the mind, and makes you more open and energetic.
- Basil isn’t used as often in herbal medicine anymore – but there’s no reason you can’t make a basil tea! Old books say it’s an aphrodisiac.
- Thyme one of my favorites as an antibacterial and antiviral herb – great for summer colds and respiratory problems!
- Elderflower is the taste of summer, while it’s in bloom! It’s a cooling plant, and is also used with peppermint for colds/flus.
- Marigold / Calendula is a brightly colored, cheery, lymphatic cleanser. Marigold tea will help cleanse your system, and is great for clearing skin conditions. Plus it adds a great color to your tea blend.
Blends you might try….
- Peppermint & Chamomile after a big meal.
- Chamomile & Rose after a hard day, to relax, and calm down (especially balancing after emotional stress!)
- Peppermint, elderflower and thyme for summer colds
- Rosemary to share with friends, to stimulate conversation
- Lemon balm & rose to lift the spirits, counteract slight depression and balance the emotions.
Even more on herbal tea
I’ve created the Ultimate Herbal Tea Guide here, with info on choosing herbs and how to brew them for the most herby goodness!
Now it’s your turn! Let us know which summery herbal tea you’re going to try in the comments!