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Sixteen Plants for Your Own Herbal Tea Garden

June 22, 2012

Reblogged from: http://www.organicauthority.com/organic-gardening/grow-plants-herbal-tea-garden.html

The tea plant—camellia sinensis—grows mostly throughout Asian countries producing several varieties of a caffeinated and certainly most pleasurable leaf that’s fermented, brewed and enjoyed around the world. For those who love to sip hot soothing beverages—without the caffeine or just with a different flavor—many non-tea herbal plants have also become favorite pinky-pointing sip-worthy brews. Technically called tisanes, a wide range of herbal teas can grow quite well in your very own yard, taking your tea making to an entirely new and delicious level.

Growing herbs is super easy, and many can even grow well inside your home. They smell wonderful and can help keep pests away from other plants, making them an ideal fixture in any garden. Additionally, herbs have a number of health benefits from soothing upset tummies to helping you get a restful night’s sleep.

Leaves, buds and petals of a number of different plants can be trimmed and dried or mixed together with other herbs for tea blends that last for months. When it comes to herbs, a single plant can produce quite a bit of usable parts, but you may want to plant more around your garden for aesthetic purposes. And what you don’t use fresh can easily be dried (in a dehydrator or hung) and stored for later use. Homemade teas make a most wonderful gift, too!

Start seedlings indoors for plants such as lemongrass, and use propagation from cuttings of mint and passionflower. Herbs can be stubborn sometimes versus other plants, and it may take weeks to see growth. Be patient! It’s well worth the wait.

Try harvesting these herbs and plants for your sipping pleasure:

  1. Mint: Leaves; calming, digestive.
  2. Passionflower: Leaves; relaxing and restful sleep.
  3. Rosehips: Buds after bloom has died; vitamin C boost.
  4. Lemon Balm: Leaves; calming and relaxing.
  5. Chamomile: Buds; relaxing and soothing tummy.
  6. Echinacea: Buds; immune support.
  7. Milk Thistle: Buds; detoxification.
  8. Angelica: Root; digestive support.
  9. Catnip: Leaves; calming.
  10. Raspberry: Leaf; female reproductive support.
  11. Lavender: Buds; calming and soothing.
  12. Nettles: Leaf; detoxifying, nourishing.
  13. Red Clover; Buds; purifying, detoxifying.
  14. Dandelion: Root; live support; blood tonic.
  15. Linden: Flowers; digestive, calming.
  16. Lemongrass: Stalk; calming, relaxing, digestive aid.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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7 Comments
  1. I have just started this – such a great resource. How do you dry your lemon balm?

    • lantanagurl permalink

      I hang it upside down in small bunches in a dry place, out of the sun. Depending upon the humidity, it can take a couple of weeks to be fully dry. I live in the deep south & it is extremely humid sometimes.

      • I was debating weather to strip the leaves fist or not – your post came at a great time.

      • Which variety of Melissa Officinalis is the most sought after herb? Do you pick the herb when it has flowers (small white flowers?) or before it grows flowers? I’m planning to plant 8.000 square meters of this plant and I can’t find information on anything about it…

      • lantanagurl permalink

        Harvest and Handling – Lemon balm can be harvested for fresh sales once or twice a week. Frequent trimming encourages branching and will result in a bushy, compact plant. For a dried product, harvest at least twice a season just as the plant comes into bloom. For large scale operations, foliage can be cut with a side-bar cutter. An acre may produce 1000 pounds or more of dried herb. Be careful not to bruise the leaves during the harvest and drying operations as quality will be reduced. Although lemon balm dries quickly and easily it will not be as fragrant dried as fresh. It can be dried outside in partial shade but will brown quickly if there is any night moisture. Plants may also be hung in bunches and air dried in a shed or barn or oven dried on screens. When dry, store in tightly closed containers. If hung to dry in bunches, lemon balm can be rapidly processed by rubbing each bundle across a half-inch mesh screen to crumble the leaves.

      • lantanagurl permalink

        The variety or cultivar does not matter as they all have the same properties. There are variances in leaf color, Harvest and Handling – Lemon balm can be harvested for fresh sales once or twice a week. Frequent trimming encourages branching and will result in a bushy, compact plant. For a dried product, harvest at least twice a season just as the plant comes into bloom. For large scale operations, foliage can be cut with a side-bar cutter. An acre may produce 1000 pounds or more of dried herb. Be careful not to bruise the leaves during the harvest and drying operations as quality will be reduced. Although lemon balm dries quickly and easily it will not be as fragrant dried as fresh. It can be dried outside in partial shade but will brown quickly if there is any night moisture. Plants may also be hung in bunches and air dried in a shed or barn or oven dried on screens. When dry, store in tightly closed containers. If hung to dry in bunches, lemon balm can be rapidly processed by rubbing each bundle across a half-inch mesh screen to crumble the leaves.

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