Fighting Inflation

Grow Your Own Herbal Tea

Chamomile The Prudent Homemaker

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Most of the time, we drink water at my house. I start the morning off with a 16 ounce glass of water, and I drink many more glasses of water during the day.

For many years, I have grown peppermint and chamomile in the garden. I had the children cut the chamomile when it was ready, and I cut the peppermint and brought it in before we had our first frost about 5 weeks ago.

The peppermint will grow back when it warms up, but the leaves need to be harvested before it freezes.

Both of these are really easy to grow. Mint can be in full sun to filtered shade. You can buy a tiny plant at the nursery in the spring and gather plenty by frost (you can also plant mint from seed; I have the most success from a plant). You can take cuttings from that plant, put them in water, and have them rooted in a short time. You can then have more mint plants to take over your garden to share with friends. Mint spreads by runners and seeds and can be quite invasive, so choose a dedicated spot for it. Some people prefer a pot, but mine kept drying out in our extreme heat, so last year I purchased a new plant and put it back in the garden.

I put some dried peppermint leaves in a tea ball and fill the cup with boiling water, and let the tea ball soak for a few minutes. You can use a teapot if you wish, or you can heat a regular pot on the stove, or heat the water in the microwave.
Peppermint Tea The Prudent Homemaker

 

Chamomile is easily grown from seed. There are two types of chamomile: Roman and German. I have had the best success with German Chamomile. The seeds are very tiny and are sprinkled over the top of the soil, as they need light to germinate. If planted in an undisturbed place (where you don’t till) they can reseed all on their own. Chamomile is quite fun, as the flowers look like tiny daisies.  To harvest it, you cut the flower heads and dry them. I usually assign this job to the children. (I also allow them to pick some to make crowns). This year I planted seeds in the front yard, where they will be able to grow among the other white flowers in the white garden. You can sometimes purchase chamomile as plants, but you’ll need several, so buying seeds is the more economical way to go. You can find seeds from several different seed companies.

Both herbs are lovely for an upset stomach, and peppermint is wonderful in combating queasiness. I enjoy having them on occasion on a cold day, though peppermint tea* would also be lovely iced.

Growing your own herbs for herbal teas is much less expensive than buying it in a tiny box of tea bags, or than buying dried herbs in bulk.

Do you like to drink herbal teas? Do you grow any of your own herbs for that purpose?

* Note: Americans generally refer to herbal infusions as herbal teas (even though they do not use the tea plant), whereas they are known as tisanes (pronounced “tee zans”) in other places. I prefer the term tisane, as it is more clear, but I defer to the term most commonly used in my country.

I primarily drink herbal teas for medicinal purposes. I drink red raspberry tea, which strengthens the uterus, and is helpful during pregnancy as well as during the menstrual cycle. It is high in iron, and helps remove back pain, menstrual cramps (I find that it is more effective than ibuprofen), and helps remove pregnancy pains.

During my last pregnancy, I also brewed a mixture of half red raspberry and half nettle tea to increase my iron, as I was anemic.

Red raspberry does not grow well here, and I do not grow nettles, so I purchase those cut and dried in bulk from San Francisco Herb Company. They also sell peppermint leaves.

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29 Comments

  1. We don’t usually drink tea (herbal or otherwise), but they have many medicinal uses. Cold chamomile and/or lavender tea can be used to make lovely compresses for irritated skin (chicken pox, insect bites/stings, hives).

  2. I grow my own peppermint & dry the leaves for for peppermint tea, & as you said with peppermint, it is quite invasive.The longer winter season here helps with that, but I still cut it back quite regularly.

  3. I love both mint and chamomile teas! A Canadian-based company called David’s Tea also does some really interesting fruit infusions that are caffeine-free and can be reproduced at home (note: I do NOT suggest buying the tea from them; the prices are ludicrous!). My favorite is a blend of roasted almond slivers, dehydrated apples, dehydrated beetroot, and shreds of cinnamon stick – it comes out bright pink and tastes like an apple danish. 🙂

  4. I adore teas of all sorts, and I have honestly never thought of growing my own. I live in an apartment so space is limited, but I have had success with mint every time I have grown it in a planter. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Just as an afterthought, when drinking either spearmint or peppermint tea, it should never be given to young children. Components of the tea convert to aspirin in the liver, & when I worked in the NICU, every couple of years, we would have a baby or young toddler brought in with an aspirin overdose, due in almost every case to a grandmother giving the baby peppermint or spearmint tea for teething pain. Several of them died. Something to be aware of & careful with.

  6. I grow lemon grass for cooking and I have heard that others use it for infusions, but I never have. How much do you cut for yours? Do you add anything else? I generally drink mine without anything added (no sugar or milk).

  7. I have always wondered about growing chamomile – I do enjoy drinking the tea, though usually I somehow end up with tea bags someone else didn’t want. I may grow it in my garden this year.Our house’s previous owner apparently loved lemon balm – either that or it took over, but now, it springs up all over the place, especially outside the rock borders. I don’t mind – it smells wonderful, but I’ve meant to harvest it.

  8. My children love doing this with both mint and chamomile . We also make tea from the huge sage plant in our yard. Nettles grow wild in our backyard (unfortunately), but I haven’t attempted to harvest them. I am thinking it would be nice to try this with.Echinacea.

  9. Peppermint tea is one of my favorites. The scent is comforting and the tea is relaxing if I’ve had a stressful day. The tea is also delicious with some cocoa powder stirred in (and some sugar, as desired).

  10. Thanks for the information. Marivene – I believe you live in my area – are you able to grow blueberries? I’m just a beginner gardener and am trying to learn as much as possible for this spring’s planting. Anything helpful would be so appreciated!

  11. ruthie, to grow blueberries in Utah is an uphill fight every year. I have continued to try, because I love blueberries, but they need acidic soil & the soil in Utah is overwhelmingly alkaline. If you want to try, I would suggest lots of peat moss, leaves, and coffee grounds mixed into the dirt in a raised bed.

  12. When you make red raspberry tea, is it just the leaves from the regular raspberry bushes? Or a special herb of some kind? Also, my sister had some David’s tea made into iced tea for Christmas. It was strawberry rhubarb parfait. I loved it. I’ve never had it before, and don’t know where she got it, but it was so good. She gave me some in a bag, and this brought it to mind. I need to make it.

  13. When you make red raspberry tea, is it just the leaves from the regular raspberry bushes? Or a special herb of some kind? Also, my sister had some David’s tea made into iced tea for Christmas. It was strawberry rhubarb parfait. I loved it. I’ve never had it before, and don’t know where she got it, but it was so good. She gave me some in a bag, and this brought it to mind. I need to make it.

  14. How do you dry your herbs? I’ve tried air drying them but sometimes have mold problems here in the Deep South. I’ve dried in small batches in the microwave, but the yield is tiny. I do not have a dehydrator. Have you oven dried?

  15. I also drink red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. A few years ago I had an opportunity to go on a foraging walk with a trained herbalist. She shared that the leaves of wild black raspberry plants have a similar effect as the red raspberry. I was able to harvest quite a bit from our property. I let them dry and chopped them up in the food processor to infuse. I am pregnant again but did not harvest leaves this summer. I am using a tea blend from some Amish folks in our area. It includes red raspberry, nettle, alfalfa, oat straw, peppermint and other things. It is quite pleasant and my midwife approves 🙂

  16. I drink a lot of tea. In fact every time I come to this post I get distracted because I go make another cup of tea. I drink mostly hot, not much iced, though I always have a pitcher of it in the fridge in hot weather and someone or other drinks it up. I grow only mint and I dry that. I do grow ecchinacea but just as flowers. I have hay fever and I read once that if you have allergies not to use ecchinacea. I buy some tea, get lots of it for presents and also get lots off freecycle. People are always offering up tea bags there. I don’t like green tea, I prefer blacks. I drink herbals at night. We’re all big tea drinkers, except for youngest…she likes it in no version. Two of my uncles, brothers, married women ( who happen to be sisters) who are of a Russian/Ukraine background and they have samovars that they serve tea out of for big gatherings.

  17. Great article! I use herbal teas a lot, for myself as well as my horses (one of which is elderly and arthritic and takes several different herbs. Maybe a bit unrelated, but I have ordered from San Francisco Herb Company a while back, and found their shipping costs a bit high, although their prices are fantastic. What do you think?

  18. I did a price comparison on the things I was buying and found SF Herb to be cheaper than anywhere else—including shipping. You can always compare the same items and amounts somewhere else and see if you find it cheaper. I used to order from another place, but after 35 years, they went out of business. SF Herb has been great to me and I’ve been quite happy with everything I’ve ordered from them, which is why I recommended them. They do have a minimum $35 order. I just don’t order from them all the time; I order a bunch at once so that I only have to pay shipping once every year or even less often. I order that way from several places (just once a year or less) to save on shipping expenses.

  19. hi! thank you for this lovely post!
    i am a beginner gardener and i want to start growing chamomile plants and you suggested seeds are more economical than buying individual plants. what company/stores do you recommend? please let me know!

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