Dill

Dill Tea

Often used as a sweetener, or for flavor balance, dill makes for a great tea or herb blend.

Dill – Indian scientists found that dill’s limonene works as well as prescription antibiotics at killing harmful intestinal bacteria such as E. coli.

Stevia

Stevia Tea

Years ago there was a lot of chatter about stevia and it wasn’t all good. I guess it was being promoted as a replacement for sugar and many felt it had other side effects that made it a possible danger. I haven’t heard any more of this chatter over the years. I only mention it here because I always remember that when I hear of stevia.

 

Stevia is a natural sweetener. The claim is that it is 300% stronger than sugar cane is. Stevia is more often used to sweeten a batch of tea than to use it on it’s own, where you’ll find it simply super sweet. Try a few leaves in a mixture and see how it livens things up. You’ll need to experiment to your own taste. Overall the flavor is like licorice or anise and a frequent complaint is its aftertaste.

 

Catnip

Catnip Tea

It may come as a surprise, since you always think of catnip to use inside toys for your feline friends but catnip makes a fine tea as well.

 

Catnip can be strong on its own and as such is often used in a blend. The flavor, or scent, often described as musky makes for a very soothing tea when blended with mint or chamomile or both.

Mint

Mint Tea

Mint is very easy to grow and is a favorite for making tea as well as using for a spice. Mint can easily take over a garden as it is invasive when in the right conditions. Provide some shade in the hottest of summer sun as well as watching for it to dry out. It likes plenty of moisture but not to be over watered or constantly wet.

Mint is perfect for container planting as this will curb it’s tendency to take over an area yet allow it to flourish. Use a container as large as you need, or multiple containers, for the amount of mint you need to grow.

 

For tea you should try spearmint, peppermint, apple mint and chocolate mint as well as the commonly known mint itself.

 

Use the leaves and bruise them slightly to release the essential oils. If you are saving tea for the long haul dry them leaves first and then crumble slightly to facilitate release of the oils.

 

Chamomile

Chamomile Tea

The flowers are used for making tea, and the German type is best for tea making. Provide lots of sun and a well drained and sandy soil is best. Chamomile can dry out though, so be prepared to compensate for the sandy soil with plenty of watering during the heat of summer. As the flowers fade and dry save them in an airtight contained. If you collect them and the are fresh, or have a noticeable moisture content, dry them on a flat surface with a little sun. Chamomile often self sows so you may easily have a new crop year after year.

 

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon balm is related to mint and has a pronounced lemon aroma. Like mint the aroma is release upon touching, or bruising, leaves. Provide some shade during the daytime and is best in well drained soil that does not stay wet. Lemon balm can also be used as a spice. Lemon balm is suitable for indoor growing on a sunny windowsill, providing some shade it if it too hot.

 

Leaves are used. Select healthy leaves, dry them and use in a tea ball to brew your tea.

 

 

Roses

Rose Hips for Tea

Rose hips are high in vitamin C and make a citrus flavored tea. All roses create hips. The hip is the part of the plant right at the base of the flower and show themselves as round balls once the flower petals have dwindled away and fallen to the ground. The hip would normally be trimmed off while dead heading and discarded.

 

After collecting the hips and when you are ready to make tea it is best to slice the hips in half. You can remove the seed inside or leave it, it does not have a significant role in the flavor of the tea. If you decide to remove the seeds go ahead and remove them before drying the hips.

 

Rugosa varieties produce the best teas, according to my research and are very cold tolerant. Roses are bushes that will grow to six feet tall and need frequent trimming to produce more flowers.

Lavender

Lavender Tea

Lavender likes plenty of sun and needs a well drained fertile soil. Lavender is sometimes used to blend with other teas, such as chamomile. Plants will grow to three feet tall.

 

Varieties

English Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia – Zones 5-8
‘Munstead’ An old-fashioned standard with blue-purple flowers. 18″ tall

‘Hidcote’ is favored for its dark purple flowers. 24″ tall

‘Jean Davis’ produces pale pink flower spikes. 18″ tall

L. x intermedia Zones 5-8
‘Provence’ dries particularly well. 30″ tall
‘Grosso’ is highly disease resistant and fragrant. 30″ tall

Fringed Lavender – L. dentata – Zones 8-9. This is a bushy, spreading shrub that produces dense purple-blue flower spikes that are very pretty, but only mildly fragrant. 3′ tall

French Lavender – L. stoechas – Zones 8-9. A beautiful Mediterranean native that is compact and bushy with fragrant, dark purple flowers topped by a feathery purple bract. Good cultivars include: ‘Dark Eyes’ and ‘Silver Frost’.

Spanish Lavender – L. stoechas subsp. pedunculata – Zones 9-10. Bears its flower stalks high above the foliage.

 

Homemade Mosquito Repellent

15 drops lavender oil
3 Tbsp of vanilla extract
10 drops of citronella oil or lemon-eucalyptus oil
1/4 Cup lemon juice
Spray bottle

Directions:

Combine above ingredients in spray bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with water, water/vodka or water/witch hazel mixture.

Spray yourself and any objects or areas you wish to keep mosquito free!

Some Healthy Benefits of Using Lavender

Anxiety & Depression
Lavender is a great way to sooth your anxiety and lessen depression. The scent will help to calm your mind and spirit.

Headaches
Massage lavender oil into your temples and forehead for relief of tension headaches.

Digistive Problems
Lavender helps to digest fats in foods. It also helps to relieve constipation and gas.

Healing Wounds
As an antiseptic lavender shines. It can help with cell growth and in turn help with healing of wounds. It is said to help with scars.

Insomnia
Have a drop of two of the essential oil for a good night’s sleep. Some people will put a few drops on their sheets to help get better sleep.