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What are your favourite homemade tea blends?  RSS feed

 
Vida Norris
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Location: Ontario Canada, Zone 5b
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Hi guys,

I thought it would be cool to have a thread of people's recipes for super awesome teas from stuff you've harvested - either straight up medicinal purposes or just plain tasty! Or both!

Back story is that I have a friends birthday coming up, and she LOVES bergamot flavored anything. I happen to have harvested some wild bergamot from the garden (not totally the same as the bergamot orange but supposedly has a similar taste and a lot of health benefits!) so I thought I would put together some tea blends for her as a present! Then it got me thinking about what would be a great recipe, and naturally I figured you guys would have tons of ideas or things you have come up with for various reasons. So anyway, what are your favorite tea blends? My all time favorite this year seems to be mullein with chocolate mint!

If there is a thread like this already, forgive me and point it out!

Here's a pic of what's in my cupboard this year (yes I use painters tape to label LOL)



 
Matu Collins
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Right now I'm drinking nettles, lemon balm and oatstraw.

I love hibiscus, catnip and chamomile for relaxation.
 
Aaron Festa
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So far, and I only started last year, I've made red clover and catnip. I just pinched some and steeped. I can't say I enjoyed either one as a tea especially the catnip to me was undrinkable.
 
Vida Norris
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Right now I'm drinking nettles, lemon balm and oatstraw.

I love hibiscus, catnip and chamomile for relaxation.


That's cool Matu. I had to look up oatstraw, looks like a really interesting plant! What's the flavour of it like?


So far, and I only started last year, I've made red clover and catnip. I just pinched some and steeped. I can't say I enjoyed either one as a tea especially the catnip to me was undrinkable.


I know what you mean Aaron. I had a similar experience with St. Johns Wort. I harvested a bunch and it smelled soooo good, but when I made it into a tea it didn't taste like much at all. I feel like there must be a way to make it nice though, so have to keep playing with ratios. I haven't tried catnip yet, although I've got it growing in the garden. Will have to harvest that this summer. I did scoop up a bunch of red clover. It was okay, I can see it being really nice with honey.

I tend to just add mint to everything if I have any doubts, since I am a bit of a mint-o-holic and it's an easy win since the strong flavor takes over any not so fun ones.
 
Su Ba
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My current favorite is mint & mamaki. Mamaki is a tree that goes here and tastes much like standard green tea.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
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Hm, I'm not sure how to describe the flavor of oatstraw tea. Mild and a bit earthy? I drink it because it is a mild diuretic and is said to fend off depression. I drink a lot of chamomile too, and roasted dandelion root. I do tend to drink tea for health benefits and good feelings rather than for straight up yumminess.

Mint is a good way to make teas palatable if you're not used to the flavors! Don't feel bad.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Oh such a cool idea, Vida! Good timing, too, since a friend just e-mailed asking about our teas. We have quite the collection here at base camp which includes the following:

Wild-crafted teas:
  • strawberry leaf (wild or cultivated) mike oehler swears by this for vitamin C and cold/virus protection
  • oregon grape root - powerful anti-viral (similar to goldenseal)
  • yarrow - very strong, spicy flavor, not really sure about medicinal properties yet
  • dandelion root - roasted or simply dried, a good bitter for blood and liver cleansing
  • rose hips (I have yet to wildcraft them, so I buy them, but I hope to wildcraft some soon!) - really good for vitamin C and bright flavor
  • mullein leaf - excellent for respiratory support and healing
  • nettle leaf - very high in minerals, considered a blood cleanser
  • red clover - I have yet to wild harvest so I have been purchasing for its flavor and blood cleansing properties

  • Here are nettles I harvested back in 2012 in the Seattle area:


    Purchased or store bought or grown tea components:
  • raspberry leaf - uterine toner and firms loose stools (do not take if constipated!)
  • rooibos - high in anti-oxidants, and really good base for fruity, citrus-y teas - the guys here especially liked it for iced tea
  • orange or lemon peel - I like to zest my organic citrus and dry my own
  • lemongrass - has been proven to be anti-cancer
  • chamomile - for calming and soothing
  • feverfew - helps with headaches, mild eucalyptus-like scent/flavor
  • mint (any kind, even field mint) - soothing, cooling, eases digestion
  • cinnamon - tasty and it helps even out blood sugar!
  • fresh ginger - anti- many bad bugs, soothing to digestion and throat if not too 'hot' for the tea drinker - I'll add a fresh slice of ginger root to lots of tea blends
  • lavender - adds a lovely aroma and flavor though I tend to avoid it because I heard it's mildly estrogenic


  • All of this is in addition to black and green teas, too!


     
    Jocelyn Campbell
    master steward
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    Blends.

    When folks are fighting off something, I combine a variety of things depending on their symptoms. If you add honey or stevia, almost any combo will work.

    For example, for a respiratory cold/flu: mullein, oregon grape root, chamomile, rose hips, strawberry leaf, nettle leaf.

    Your mullein chocolate mint combo, Vida, reminds me of a tea I had at a restaurant and then attempted to recreate at home. It was called "chocolate safari" though I can't remember the brand or company. It's ingredients were cocoa nibs, rooibos tea, mint and stevia. Somehow, I didn't grind the cocoa nibs enough, so then I added cocoa powder and it was better. Left the stevia out so folks could sweeten as they please. Fun! (The jar ran out when Erica Wisner was last here and I think she had fun concocting the next batch for us. )

    Here, we have a brand of teas called Montana Tea and Spice. While they are local, they aren't organic and they contain stevia which some folks don't like. So I started using our bulk organic tea supplies to create our own versions. See the attached .pdf of their tea blend ingredients from the catalog on their website. (If you don't want to try to copy their blends, please order from them, because they do make excellent teas!)

    The two I've recreated so far are Montana Gold and Evening in Missoula. Personally, I find that adding stevia makes the flavors "pop" a bit more in my homemade versions of these blends, but I imagine honey, or other sweeteners would do the same.
    Filename: MONTANA-TEA-SPICE-INGREDIENTS.pdf
    File size: 95 Kbytes
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Ah, Matu - I've heard lemonbalm is effective against herpes simplex (cold sores, chickenpox) virus, though more in creams with the extract. I've always wondered how or if the tea might help, too.

    For some strange reason hibiscus just turns me off. I can't fully describe why.

    I also was taking a tea with oatstraw for a while (a women's tea blend) and the blend seemed to throw something out of whack, and for some reason I blamed the humble oatstraw, so I haven't tried it again. I'm super sensitive to some things though, so I stick with what seems to work or feel good.
     
    Feidhlim Harty
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    Hi Cassie and Juliet,

    The tea blend discussion sounded fascinating, but I couldn't find it - so I started a new one…

    My favourite is fennel, sage and mint. Our mint is still underground, but we managed a very tasty fennel and sage yesterday with new spring growth.

     
    Judith Browning
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    Passion flower vine with lemon balm is one of our favorite stand bys. I made some in the middle of the night last night because I couldn't go back to sleep...it worked I love to mix a bunch of different mints together, spearmint and chocolate mint, etc. for big jugs of party tea. Our lemon grass is usually at a premium so I add a bit to most any thing when we are out of lemon balm. Anise hyssop stands alone here, I haven't found anything that blends well with it for my pallet....we just like it all on its own.

    I like the sound of 'fennel, sage, mint' Feidhlim, do you use equal amounts of each or keep the sage in the background?

    We keep many of the teas/herbs that Jocelyn mentions on hand here. I am realizing that I generally harvest and dry too much and am finding some jars of herbs on the shelves that are older than I would like. I usually have a big dumping of herbs in the spring when everything starts greening up.
     
    Carol Steinfeld
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    Be careful---as you might know, many of these herbs and greens have effects on the body. Clover is estrogenic, oatstraw and nettles might be an aromatase inhibitor (prevents testosterone from turning into estrogen) in addition to having a histamine effect, supposedly sage is estrogenic, too. And other herbs reduce estrogen. Probably a good rule is to vary your teas.
     
    Danielle Diver
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    we have elderberry that grows like weeds in my region
    so, its a staple around here, elderflowers (and i make elderberry syrup for wintertime health)
    my standard blend (wildharvest location indicated in parenthisis): Chamomile, German and Pineapple (CH), Elderflower (FR), Mullin (FR), Achillea (this year from Montreal, CA!), dandilion root and/or chicory root (FR)

    i have an abundance of Meadowsweet flower this year but find it almost too astringent to drink casually
    sometimes i infuse it with milk for deserts
    but otherwise does anyone else have suggestions on ways to use it? i have so much and it really is so good!
     
    Feidhlim Harty
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    Thanks for rerouting my post Judith! I'm glad you did; the discussions are well worth following. I'm still a Permie Newbie, so I'm only finding my way around…

    The sage is a background flavour, there as a single leaf often; with slightly larger amounts of mint and fennel.

    Carol, good to see you on the forum. Valid point about the medicinal qualities. The sage in my mix is mainly medicinal for sore throats that can do the family rounds at this time of year.

     
    Juliet Kemp
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    I'm a bit lazy and tend to stick to mint... though I've enjoyed thyme tea in the past. My thyme wasn't doing at all well last year after replanting though so haven't harvested much and have just used it for cooking. (It's pretty old now; I'm wondering about hacking it right back to see if that helps. Or planting new, but I had bad luck with seedlings last year too -- maybe it was just a bad year all round!).

    I've tried dandelion tea and found the earthy taste interesting and healthy-feeling but not one I'd drink for fun. I did have it a few times but then that jar made its way to the back of the cupboard and didn't re-emerge til a couple of years later at which point I thought best to chuck it out!

    I've drunk sage tea medicinally but again not one I actively enjoy. Nettle tea I don't like at all though I accept it's good for you! Maybe with mint... I kind of hate harvesting nettles though and tend to use them for "nettle tea" in the "plant food" sense rather than the "human drink" sense

    Never tried rosehip tea though I've made rosehip syrup and used that as the base of a hot drink. I found it had quite a nice taste but quite a gentle one. How do you make the tea -- just dry the hips and then steep them in boiling water?

    Interested to read all these other herbs I haven't thought of tea-ing before; good timing too as I'm thinking currently about this year's planting.
     
    Evelyn Mitchell
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    Location: Central, Eastish Missouri, St Robert in Pulaski Co. was in SE Michigan, South of Detroit, Suburbian
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    When I planted my first herbs I bought everything that was recognizable among them were Tarragon and Spearmint. I had varying degrees of success. But I still remember the first time I dried Tarragon, the dryer it got the better it smelled, and when I mixed it with the Spearmint it became heavenly. I was even more surprised when it tasted as good as it smelled. Adding just a half teaspoon of Raw Honey brought out the signature of both herbs in a beautiful way, but I enjoyed it the most with no additional sweeteners. I usually used equal parts of each one, maybe a little heavier on the tarragon. It's a very simple blend.

    I haven't seen Tarragon offered at my local garden centers in a long time. It was my first attempt at herb gardening so I didn't save anything. I have been kicking myself ever since. I think it was in the mid to late 90's. I haven't been actively looking for it in the last several years, in fact this thread just woke the memory up.

    I haven't tried it with a meal made with a light tasting fish but it sounds like it would taste really good.

    Evelyn Mitchell
     
    Evelyn Mitchell
    Posts: 20
    Location: Central, Eastish Missouri, St Robert in Pulaski Co. was in SE Michigan, South of Detroit, Suburbian
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    Jocelyn,

    I checked on Yarrow some time ago. My father was having some issues with bleeding. He had skin cancer on his forehead that was hard to stop once it got started. Yarrow was used as an astringent herb to stop bleeding on battlefields. I believe it was also used for stomach problems and bleeding ulcers.

    I decided to do a google search, I hope I'm not overstepping --let me know. Also someone let me know if you'd rather I didn't post other websites.

    There is a wonderful article on Yarrow at http://whisperingearth.co.uk/2011/09/28/the-multiple-benefits-and-uses-of-yarrow/
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Juliet - yes, simply dry rose hips and infuse in boiling water for tea.

    Evelyn, yes, posting links is perfectly fine and that one on yarrow was excellent! I knew of yarrow's external wound uses, just wasn't familiar with taking it as a tea or internally.

    I love all the suggestions of using what I'd previously considered as culinary herbs for teas: sage, thyme, tarragon. Nice! I'll have to try them.

    I also appreciate Carol's caution about many of these being very powerful at changing our hormones and other bodily systems. For example, the link on yarrow said do not take while pregnant. There are a couple herbs I purposely left off my list because they are potent enough to potentially cause harm.

    I'm no herbalist, so don't take my word for any of this! Just felt I should spell that out. I enjoy herbs and using the milder ones medicinally for myself and my family. It's fun to hear how others enjoy them, too.
     
    Landon Sunrich
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    This is an awesome thread. I think all my favorites and then some have been mentioned. I even learned stuff.

    Long term favorite ? 1 Part dried nettle leaf to 2 parts dried peppermint to 2 parts camomile.

    That is all. Please carry on.

     
    Jessica Gorton
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    This year I made a tea blend for my extended family's christmas presents (every year, I make something homestead-foodie, and my husband makes something arty). It was, in order of declining amounts: peppermint, spearmint, holy basil/tulsi, and nettle leaf.

    I've been trying to regularly consume some nourishing herbs per Susun Weed - nettles, oatstraw, red clover...but I make other combos based on how I'm feeling, what I'm needing. I've been adding elderberry flowers during this cold and flu season, along with echinacea, yarrow, and mullein.

    Mint is my go-to for adding to other herbs, both for taste and ease of digestion.
     
    Aaron Festa
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    Another good choice is new green hemlock (tsuga) tips in the spring.
     
    Dylan Mulder
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    Judith Browning wrote: Anise hyssop stands alone here, I haven't found anything that blends well with it for my pallet....we just like it all on its own.


    Anise hyssop is excellent, one of the best tea herbs I've had the pleasure of tasting.

    Some unusual teas I tried last year,

    Virginia mountain mint - Strong mint flavor with a mild bitterness, lacks the sweetness of spearmint and also the spiciness of peppermint. Overall, I like it a lot.

    Rosemary - Very tricky to get a good flavor. Too little and the tea is too weak, too much (easy) and the flavor is overpowering.

    Pine needle - Tastes exactly as you'd expect it to taste. Wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either - I suspect it's like rosemary in that it needs just the right amount.

    Lemongrass - Despite trying, I could never get any flavor out of this. Tried it dried and fresh, different parts of the shoot, crushed and uncrushed. Not sure what I did wrong.

    Oxalis - The delightful citrus flavor did not carry over, and it made a weak and grassy tasting tea. Perhaps a lower temperature steeping would preserve the flavor?
     
    april moonflower
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    Tulsi/ rose (rosa rugosa)
    Lemon balm/ dandelion root
    Marshmallow/milky oats/chocolate mint


    Bee balm (bergamot) for sure!!! That is definitely a favorite of mine.
     
    Dan Boone
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    I primarily like strong mint tea, which settles any digestive issues I may have and helps whenever I have any kind of nasal or chest congestion. But I just love the stuff and drink it iced by the gallon in the summer, as fresh and strong as I can make it.

    I'm also rather fond of a primarily mint blend that includes chamomile and a bit of hibiscus.
     
    Rebecca Beidler
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    I like to make a blend we call VT Earl Gray. It doesn't have any black tea in it- but has a taste similar to the familiar Earl Gray.
    The primary herbs for that astringent/tannic flavor that imitate black tea are raspberry leaf, lady's mantle, and nettle. To imitate the bergamot oil flavor we use Bee balm leaf and flower (the red flowered is best), orange mint, and sometimes lavender leaf/flower.

    This year we also made a new blend based on berries- mostly their leaves. It included raspberry leaf, black currant leaf and berries, and blueberry leaf. In the future when we have more berries I think it could be a great way of using berries like elderberry, aronia, hawthorn, buffalo berry, highbush cranberry (I am not certain about all of the leaves of those berries though, elderberry leaf is poisonous). Tea is a good way to access their medicinal value and flavors without adding a lot of sugar.
     
    Jan Cooper
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    For those of you who liked MO's 24, a past Celestial Seasoning tea, I tried to make a similar tea and came up with this recipe. Maybe, this is a MO's 6! The recipe is two parts mint, one part alfalfa, half part each- red clover, passion flower, hibiscus, rose hips. Make a mix of all the items: use 1/2 cup per pot of tea, steep longer about 8-10 mins. A bit grassy, a nice after dinner tea.
     
    Rick Howd
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    I've had allergies which have prevented me from smelling all but the most acrid odors, even skunk was hit or miss for the last 20 years. It's decreased my sense of taste to the point we would only buy good beef when I could taste it. I woke up with dry mouth for so long I didn't know the difference until a month ago.

    I bought this blend and I don't know what's working for me but I'm the clearest I've been since 1993 without the aid of antibiotics (which only lasted a week at the best).
    I drank this for two weeks and then I realized I didn't like the flavor, It took me two weeks to find it offensive ( TNG reference, I HATE THIS!, give me more!) I've developed a taste for it now but I wouldn't have it just for the taste.

    The ingredients: Elder flower, mullein leaf, nettle leaf, dandelion root, marshmallow root, rooibos, licorice root, thyme.

    If anyone has suggestions to the active ingredient's I would appreciate suggestions as I would like to mix my own; nettle, mullein make sense, rooibos for flavor ??
     
    John Saltveit
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    I like green tea for pure health, but it has almost no flavor and oolong tea to decrease cholesterol. I didn't want to put sugar in it because then it's not healthy anymore. I added hibiscus which is super high in antioxidants. It's sour, but then the bitter of oolong tea or black tea without sugar doesn't bother me any more, so that's the blend I normally drink: green tea, oolong, and hibiscus.

    I dry lemon balm and put it in my food. It shoots way up in antioxidants, way more than just the loss of water, when you dry it. Plus it adds flavor to beans, rice, somthing bland.
    John S
    PDX OR
     
    A Bargatze
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    I love a chammomile, calendula, mint, lemon balm base mix that i will add other things into based on my mood. I tend to fine tune cup by cup instead of batch by batch.

    I love hibiscus, strong and plain, but only cold. To me, it tastes bitter hot, so if its not one of your flavors, try drinking it as an ice tea.

    I love chammomile vanilla (i copied this from a store blend)

    What a difference a mint makes. I, too, have been trying infusion strength teas as per Susan Weed, and oh, what a difference a mint makes. Oatstraw plain, to me, is dirty tasting and unpalatable, but with mint (about two tablespoons mint per cup of oatstraw) infused with it, it tastes slippery and light and kind of sweet. Go chemistry. I drink it cold as ice tea. Mint has been unable to transform nettles for me, though, which remain just too green for my palate.

    One of the things I don't see very often is lemon leaf. I have a lemon tree and the leaves cut up make a delicious tea all by themselves, but i hardly, if ever, see it as an ingredient. I at one time did some internet research just to make sure I wasn't poisoning myself.. And it didn't seem to be the case. I know i came across 'edible' and 'non toxic' or I wouldn't have ever made my first cup. Does anyone else use lemon leaf?
     
    elle sagenev
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    Evelyn Mitchell wrote:When I planted my first herbs I bought everything that was recognizable among them were Tarragon and Spearmint. I had varying degrees of success. But I still remember the first time I dried Tarragon, the dryer it got the better it smelled, and when I mixed it with the Spearmint it became heavenly. I was even more surprised when it tasted as good as it smelled. Adding just a half teaspoon of Raw Honey brought out the signature of both herbs in a beautiful way, but I enjoyed it the most with no additional sweeteners. I usually used equal parts of each one, maybe a little heavier on the tarragon. It's a very simple blend.

    I haven't seen Tarragon offered at my local garden centers in a long time. It was my first attempt at herb gardening so I didn't save anything. I have been kicking myself ever since. I think it was in the mid to late 90's. I haven't been actively looking for it in the last several years, in fact this thread just woke the memory up.

    I haven't tried it with a meal made with a light tasting fish but it sounds like it would taste really good.

    Evelyn Mitchell


    Evelyn, I just planted out 5 bundles of Tarragon. They were from the grocery store. I get their throw aways for my poultry. When they give me herbs I cut them way back and plant them. Not all survive but I've had about a 90% success rate so far. Just break up the root ball of them. They sell most of their herbs "alive" now, with the soil ball and roots. Go buy a few, or ask for the throw aways, and get crackin!
     
    elle sagenev
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    Dylan Mulder wrote:
    Judith Browning wrote: Anise hyssop stands alone here, I haven't found anything that blends well with it for my pallet....we just like it all on its own.


    Anise hyssop is excellent, one of the best tea herbs I've had the pleasure of tasting.

    Some unusual teas I tried last year,

    Virginia mountain mint - Strong mint flavor with a mild bitterness, lacks the sweetness of spearmint and also the spiciness of peppermint. Overall, I like it a lot.

    Rosemary - Very tricky to get a good flavor. Too little and the tea is too weak, too much (easy) and the flavor is overpowering.

    Pine needle - Tastes exactly as you'd expect it to taste. Wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either - I suspect it's like rosemary in that it needs just the right amount.

    Lemongrass - Despite trying, I could never get any flavor out of this. Tried it dried and fresh, different parts of the shoot, crushed and uncrushed. Not sure what I did wrong.

    Oxalis - The delightful citrus flavor did not carry over, and it made a weak and grassy tasting tea. Perhaps a lower temperature steeping would preserve the flavor?


    I saw a recipe for pine needle hot toddy's to help fend off colds. It was pine, anise, and orange.
     
    Roberta Wilkinson
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    Location: Washington Timber Country
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    I started a similar conversation to this on my Facebook the other day, because I'm making a concerted effort to plant enough "tea" herbs this spring to see us through the year without buying any and wanted suggestions of things I might be overlooking. A friend in Germany provided this link to a scholarly article on popular traditional European tea infusions: http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/9/1/58.

    After decoding all the scientific names, I was surprised to fine apple leaf and twigs on their most-popular list. I've never heard of them being eaten in any way before. I intend to try it once our apples are in full leaf, because we certainly have no shortage of apple leaves in season, but even Googling, "apple leaf tea," I haven't really found any reports on how it tastes or what it's good for. Has anyone tried this?
     
    Julissa Joe
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    ginger tea, camomile tea, honey with lemon, green tea with honey or lemon etc. are my favorite .
     
    Stephanie Ladd
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    Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
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    My most favorite tea blend is very simple. Fresh lemon verbena and fresh chamomile. It is divine!
     
    Joy Oasis
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
  • feverfew - helps with headaches, mild eucalyptus-like scent/flavor


  • Hmm, I eat or try to eat one fresh feverfew leaf a day to avoid headaches, and it works, but it tastes not mild at all, and I would say quite disgusting. Much worse than moringa seeds I eat to give me lots of energy, which do not taste that great either. Maybe those taste things do not transfer to water? I heard, that tinctures and teas are not very effective with feverfew. Some people put the leaf into the capsule, but that might reduce effectiveness as well, because digestion starts in the mouth already. So I just eat it, and then quickly eat something good tasting.
     
    Joy Oasis
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    Stephanie Ladd wrote:My most favorite tea blend is very simple. Fresh lemon verbena and fresh chamomile. It is divine!

    Thank you. I will try that since I have them both.
    I usually look at my jars or drying racks (even if herbs are not dry yet) and juts grab this and grab that and put into the mesh basket. I love lemon grass tea, but I noticed, that it goes bad very quickly - probably two hours or so in room temperature or in the thermos. So if I plan to have tea around the whole day, I omit lemon grass. I love lemon verbena on its own too, I think it is the most delicious tea to me to date.
    I also make calcium tea - horsetail, oat tops, comfrey, lobelia, raspberry leaves. I used to add nettles, before I got eczema from them.
    When we have cold or cough, I make a mixture of comfrey, lobelia, coltsfoot, lemon balm, licorice, thyme at night and put some in thermos, in case we wake up at night coughing or feeling lousy. I do not have mullein, I probably should buy some. Not sure it can grow here in zone 10 at the coast.
     
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