Growing Tea Herbs – Leaves to Blend and Brew

With the revival of health consciousness, more people are turning towards homeopathic and herbal remedies to increase their well-being and overall health. One of the most natural ways is to incorporate herbs into tea. By steeping different herbs with tea leaves or tea bags, vital nutrients and anti-oxidants can be quite beneficial in an everyday diet.

Herbal teas, often called herbal infusions and tisanes, are an excellent way to provide your body with the nutrition and natural supplements.
To start, select your favorite style of tea. Choosing from Earl Grey, which is the traditional tea standard, or Green Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, or using natural tea leaves, is all based on preference. Whichever you prefer, crush the selected herbs in with the tea, and pour boiling water over the mixture, and let it steep.
Which herb should you use, or is there a special concoction that is better than another? Once again, this is based on preference but there are many popular herbs that each offer different benefits.
Mint, a favorite among tea drinkers and is also one of the easiest to grow, is an essential ingredient in Touareg tea. Touareg tea is a popular and potent drink from Asian and Arabic countries. Mint aids in digestion by breaking down fats at an increased rate as well as settling upset stomachs.
Another favorite is chamomile. There are two varieties, German (blue chamomile) and Roman. German is best used for tea while the Roman variety is more of a lawn care nuisance. Chamomile is both effervescent and a perfect companion to mint and lemon. Chamomile has been linked to helping with the common cold, as well as a sleeping aid.
Lavender, especially English lavender, is a member of the mint family. Best known for its aromatherapy uses, lavender has recently been introduced into teas because of its ability to reduce and prevent headaches, and has been documented as an excellent anti-flammatory. Lavender is a slightly more complicated herb that requires more care than most. Watering is very important, because over watering will lead to lavender rot.
Another suggestion is fennel. Mainly used for cooking purposes, this highly aromatic herb is the main component in absinthe. Fennel contains anethole, unsaturated ether, and is a strong essential oil. This herb is used as a diuretic, and has been documented to improve the eyesight in those suffering from glaucoma. Fennel can be grown outdoors with a moderate amount of sunlight, but thrives indoors with s small amount of water.
The Stevia plant has recently been introduced into the world of tea for its sugar-like properities. It is a natural herbal sweetener that is safe for diabetics to use. This is an indoor plant for those who live in cold-weather climates. This herb is at its best when it is dried or dehydrated.
As with all herbs that you intend to grow, special attention must be paid to the type of soil used, the amount of sunlight and very little fertilizer. Herbs tend to grow better in soil with a neutral pH. If an herb garden isn’t an option, gardening pots with drainage holes are best. Wild growing herbs like mint, that can often outgrow their pots, are best outdoors. Many herb growers contend that peat moss, or leaf mold can increase the potency of the herbs by slowing letting the plant absorb water into its stems, causing the plant to grow at a slower pace, thus increasing the essential oils and nutrients.
After the plants have grown, the best time of the day to pick the flowers or leaves is in the early morning. This allows the most potent herbs because the oils are still saturated inside because the sun hasn’t dried them out.
The herbs must be bruised, which is either by breaking the flowers or leaves together, or rubbing them together to release the essential oils from within. Steep the plants in with the tea for at least 5 minutes to get the full flavor from them. This will also draw out more essential oils, and allow the full infusion with the tea leaves or tea bags.

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