Make your own herbal tea
Herbal teas are easy to make and enjoy. They are also a healthy alternative to standard tea or coffee and offer an array of health benefits.
How to make tea
Dried or fresh herbs can be used to make teas.
If you are using fresh herbs from the garden use approximately three crushed teaspoons per cup. Alternatively, use approximately one teaspoon of dried herbs per cup. Steep in boiled water for approximately four minutes. Be careful not to brew for too long. Many of the delicate flavours of the herbs can be ruined if the tea is allowed to steep for overlong
Tea can be stored long term. To prolong freshness, store tea in an airtight container in a cool place.
To make your own chai tea you can use a premix which can be bought commercially. Alternatively, you can make your own.
Pour a cup of milk into a saucepan. Add a teaspoon each of ground cinamon and ground cloves, plus two slices of peeled fresh ginger, and a couple of cardamon pods. Stir the milk mixture over a gentle heat until warmed through and small bubbles appear in the mixture, Don’t allow to bring to a full boil. Allow the milk to cool slightly and then strain into a cup. Add honey as desired.
You can try experiementing with the quantities and other flavourings to find your own perfect cup of chai. Other ingredients to add include peppercorns, nutmeg or saffron. You can also try experiementing with the milk base of the tea. Try full cream, low fat or even a condensed milk base. If using condensed milk you will probably want to use a combination of the condensed milk with low fat milk.
A simplified version of chai tea is to pour milk into a drinking mug. Heat in the microwave on a medium heat setting until milk reaches the preferred temperature. Then add a sprinkling of cinamon and honey.
Chamomile is reputed to have relaxing qualities. Only the flowers are used in the tea, not the leaves. For a super relaxing blend mix some lavender flowers into the chamomile. This tea in particular is vulnerable to over steeping. For the best result, steep for no more than three minutes.
Dried fruit teas smell beautiful and are increasing in popularity. There are many commercial blends on the market.
They are generally used in their dried form, and include strawberry and citrus flavours. However it is very easy to make your own brews at home. Hopefully, the following ideas will provide inspiration for you to develop your own ideas:
- add dried apricot and orange peel to your favourite black tea
- Chop some dried apple slices. Steep in boiled water for around four minutes. Add cinamon and your favourite sweetner to taste.
- Add fresh rasberry or a sliced strawberry to hot water. The berry additions also works well as with your favourite black or green tea. Sweeten with honey or other preferred sweetener.
- Squeeze a fresh slice of lemon juice into a drinking mug. Add hot water. Sweeten with honey or as desired.
- Squeeze two tablespoons of fresh orange juice into a mug. Fill with hot water.
Both lemon and orange have a high Vitamin C content and are quite comforing drinks when you are feeling sick.
- Ginger and lemon
Peel some fresh ginger. Add two finely chopped slices to a cup of tea and a squeeze of lemon juice. Ginger is reputed to have many health giving properies. It is supposed to act as an anti-inflamatory. It is also supposed to assist digestion. If you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, you can try ground ginger. The result is not as pleasant, however, it does still add a zing to the lemon taste.
There are many health benefits attributed to green tea. It is supposed to have anti-cancer qualities, help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and even to speed up the of burning calories.
When making the tea boil the water and then allow it to cool for around a minute before adding the tea leaves. If you use water that is too hot it will overcook the leaves which will then produce a bitter taste.
Only steep the tea for approximately one to two minutes.
Licorice is supposed to help combat digestive problems. The tea is made from the licorice root. It is quite strong tasting and is often added to black tea blends. If you wish to make your own you can buy licorice root from some health stores. Alternatively, purchase a commercial blend.
Peppermint is one of the more popular teas. It has a pleasant aroma and has a fresh minty flavour. Many people take it because of its therapeutic benefits: it is supposed to aid digestion.
Rosemary is often used in the kitchen to flavour meat dishes or added to stocks. However, it can also be used as a tea. It has a pleasant aroma and as a herbal tea is supposed to cure headaches.
Many herbs are quite hardy and can be grown in a gardens or in pots. However, most herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and chamomile should be placed in a sunny posiiton.
Particularly if growing in pots, ensure that the herbs are kept moist. Pots can dry out very easily on warm days. Regular treatment with liquid fertilizers will greatly assist your crop.
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