Eleven Healing Teas from Eleven Common Herbs and Spices

Being tea lovers (just like you) we’ve put together a quick list of eleven excellent teas made from herbs and spices that you’ll be happy to have in your home when that unexpected bug comes knocking on your door. Fortunately, you don’t need to feel sick to enjoy their deliciousness, but you’ll be extra appreciative of their well-documented healing benefits if you are!
Few things are as comforting, for the body and soul, as the feeling of your favorite cup or mug, perfectly warm and snuggled between your hands. As you slowly lift it towards your face, inhale its restorative aroma and feel the softness of the steam caress your senses; you know that you’ve just taken the first small step on the road to recovery!

Most of us probably already know this, but for those who may not, it is highly recommended that you keep your teapot, kettle, or cup well covered while your tea is steeping. You’ll need to keep as much of the oils and aroma from escaping into the atmosphere until you are ready to take in its healthful benefits.

Unlike other teas, these herbal teas are mostly infused for therapeutic reasons and therefore should be steeped a bit longer. Their recommended steeping time is approximately ten minutes to get all the goodness out of the leaves. But this can always be adapted to your preference because you might not like a very intense tea.

There are many hard working herbs and spices on this incredible earth. And, they can help us with a variety of ailments. Many are uncommon and hard to come by, so for that reason, we’ve compiled the top ones that are readily available for purchase and can also be grown without too much trouble, in case that’s something that peaks your interest.

Hope you enjoy this list and that you find it as useful as we do. It’s in alphabetical order; just for the heck of it!

Just click on the specific topic if you’d prefer to go directly to that herb or spice, rather than reading the entire selection:

 

BLACKBERRY LEAF

Blackberry plant blooming ripe with fruit

Blackberry Leaf provides us with Vitamin C as well as antioxidants to help strengthen our immune system. It can also help with the following:

• Acute Diarrhea (the tannins in the leaves assist with this).
• Lessens gum inflammation and also the inflammation associated with sore throats. Controls pain and fever because it contains salicylic acid as found in pain relievers like aspirin.
• H Pylori is bacteria which has been found to be a culprit of ulcers in the stomach. Blackberry leaf, with its anti-bacterial properties, comes in handy here.

You’ll love the flavor blackberry leaves provide after steeping if you are a fan of fruity tastes. It is delicious and full of beneficial tannins as also found in red wine! And just like with red wine; consume in moderation.

Basic Blackberry Tea Recipe

For a mild tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried leaves.
Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, strain. (Adjust leaves according to desired strength).

CHAMOMILE

sheepdog among field of chamomile flowers

The small delicate flowers are the ones responsible for the medicinal properties of this lovely plant. The flavor of the tea is very mild and has a soft apple-like taste. Chamomile is used for the following:

• Helping to fall and stay asleep
• As a calming aid for anxiety issues
• To calm a cough from a sore throat
• Help with indigestion and also feelings of nausea

Aside from the benefits listed above, research has shown that chamomile can play a very important part in the prevention as well as the treatment of certain cancers. Chamomile contains a natural, active product called Apigenin, an antioxidant or flavonoid that helps stop the spread of cancer cells as well as help fight inflammation!

Another well-known reason for using chamomile (not health related) is to lighten your hair naturally. It’s nothing new and really does work! I used it on my daughter’s hair when she was little to keep her beautiful golden highlights, and now as a young adult, she continues to use it occasionally when she notices her hair losing its natural highlights again.  I’ve shared the simple technique below.

Chamomile has been found to, at times, produce an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to ragweed because chamomile and ragweed both come from the same family.

In case you were wondering; YES, pups can benefit from Chamomile as well. Mine absolutely loves it! You can read more about herbal teas and man’s best friend by clicking here.

Chamomile is a natural blood thinner. So, an important note here: If you are currently taking a blood thinner, do NOT drink chamomile tea!

Make a cup of Chamomile 🙂

1 tsp. loose leaf chamomile (or 1 tea bag, or 1 tsp. dried chamomile flowers).
Pour 1 cup of water (very hot but preferably not boiling) over tea.
Cover for 5-10 minutes – better flavor the longer it steeps & strain.

Use Chamomile to lighten your hair, it’s so easy!

Use 5-6 Chamomile tea bags and 2 cups of water.
I use a 2-cup glass measuring cup.

Heat 2 cups of water (I use the microwave) to boiling. Drop all the tea bags into the hot water and let them sit and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the tea bags (squeezing out all the water from them).
If you’re going to use the tea right away, cool it down with ice cubes or cold water until it’s at a comfortably cool temperature for your head! If not using right away-store in fridge. I’ve only left it in the fridge for a few hours to no more than a day, but I’m sure you can leave it a little longer.

Use this as your very final rinse (after washing, conditioning, etc.) and leave it in your hair. Do Not Rinse Out!!!

Be consistent every time you wash your hair. You’re not going to see results immediately, but believe me, after several weeks you sure will 🙂

 

 

CINNAMON

cinnamon-stick-514243__180

Cinnamon most commonly comes from the soft bark of a kind of an evergreen that is a native to South India and Sri Lanka.

Apart from making your home smell fantastic, it also has other pretty good benefits, and they are:

• Blood flow is increased thereby giving you better circulation
• Bring help to stomach ailments resulting from indigestion, gas, and bloating. Can assist in settling your upset stomach
• Make a sore throat better and help with symptoms of a cold
• A little added to a warm glass of milk has been said to help you sleep

Simple Cinnamon Tea Recipe

Bring a bit more than 1 cup of water to boil (allow for some evaporation).
Drop in 1 cinnamon stick.
Reduce heat, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. 

 

CLOVES

half an orange studded with cloves

Cloves have been around for a long, long time (centuries) and have been used to help with many different conditions. These small seeds begin their life as the buds of an evergreen tree whose home is in Madagascar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

These buds dry up into the seeds known as cloves. They are mighty little heroes in the fight against viruses, fungus, inflammation, and are also anti-inflammatory. Use them as a delicious and beneficial addition to your teas. Look at what they can do:

• Help with congestion and smell divine while doing it
• Helps break up the mucous in your chest (acts as an expectorant).
• Powerful in bringing relief to the pain (it’s an analgesic) associated with strep throat and other sore throat issues, as it soothes with its antibacterial and antiviral properties.

As with everything, use in moderation. Too much can be harmful to your liver and cause diarrhea, make you feel off-balance and nauseous.

How to make Clove Tea

For the best and freshest tasting Clove Tea, buy the freshest cloves! Test by taking one and pinching it between your fingers (use fingernails) and make sure it releases a bit of oil. You’ll want to use 1 Tablespoon of whole fresh cloves per cup of tea.

Put your cloves into a spice grinder (you can also use a mortar & pestle).
Grind them down to tiny pieces but do not pulverize them because you are going to be putting them through a strainer anyway.
Bring your water (1 cup water – 1 cup of tea) to a complete boil and then turn off the heat.
Add your fragrant ground cloves directly to your pot of water and let it steep (covered, please) for approximately 10 – 20, minutes, depending on your preference of brew strength.
At this point, you can also add other herbs for more flavor and/or sweeteners if you’d like.
Dandelion is a very popular addition with many tea drinkers; you might want to give it a try!

After your desired steeping time, pour the tea through a strainer into your cup. Throw out the pieces left in the strainer and ENJOY your tea

 

ECHINACEA, AKA: PURPLE CONEFLOWER

purple echinacea/coneflower with bumblebee on top

The Echinacea plant is likely the most familiar to us when it comes to the herbal family of preventive recommendations. The cone shaped purple flower, as well as the leaves of this beneficial plant, contain its therapeutic properties.

It can help rev up your immune system when fighting off colds thanks to its anti-bacterial properties. Echinacea is recommended for the following:

• Building up your immune system to help fight against cold-causing viruses
• If you already have a cold, it can shorten your downtime
• Helping to relieve pain and also inflammation
• Full of beneficial antioxidants

Easy Homemade Echinacea Tea – 1 Serving

1  1/2 cups fresh Echinacea leaves, roots, flower
1/4 cup if you’re using dried
2.8 oz. of water
3 1/2 teaspoons of raw honey

Bring 1 cup of water to a simmer (not boiling).
When nice and steamy, add your fresh or dried Echinacea.
Cover and let simmer for approximately 15 minutes
Strain tea into your cup or mug, add the honey & enjoy!

 

GINGER

piece of ginger, lemon wedge in clear glass container

Ginger has got to be my favorite medicinal herbal root! It has been around for centuries and has so many great medicinal qualities. Apart from being used in teas, it is also found in various natural cold fighting products including cough drops.

These are just a few ailments that ginger can help with:

• Motion Sickness
• Vomiting
• Dizziness
• Cold Sweats
• Upset Stomach/Digestion
• Sore Throat, flu virus, cold sores
• Pain and Inflammation.   Helps to relieve pain as it soothes sore, achy muscles

Ginger is an excellent tonic for your heart, as it helps lower cholesterol, improve circulation, and decrease the chances of blood clots.

You should not use more than four grams of ginger daily. Used in excess, it can lead to diarrhea and heartburn as well as uncomfortable irritation of the mouth.

Simple to Make Ginger Tea Recipe

1 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly grated gingerroot
1 1⁄2 cups boiling water
1 1⁄2 teaspoons white sugar (or other favorite sweetener)

Take your grated Ginger and put it into a glass 2-cup measuring cup.
Bring approximately 2 cups of water to a boil.
Pour boiled water into the glass measuring cup (up to the 1-1/2 cup line).
Steep for 10 minutes.
Strain tea into a large cup or mug and stir in the sugar (according to taste).
A little squeeze of lemon is a delicious addition to this tea!

 

LABRADOR TEA PLANT
The grandma of herbal teas

Labrador Tea Plant with white flowers blooming

Originally discovered both in Canada and in Greenland by the early European settlers, there are three different (closely related) species of the Labrador Tea Plant. All three of them can be used to make Labrador Tea. They are short shrubs which grow slowly and have leathery evergreen leaves. Named after the eastern Canadian region in which the plant grows abundantly in the woods, preferring moist, peaty soil.

The tea became very popular during the American Revolution when black tea from the Orient was being boycotted and Labrador tea used in its place!

Some like to make the tea from the flowers of the plant, but most commonly, the leaves are used. While being rich in vitamin C, Labrador Tea can be used to help with:

The common cold and symptoms of flu, chest congestion.
Upset Stomachs.
It will not make a hangover disappear, but will help you feel better.
Some say it gives a bit of a quick pick-me-up.
If a strong infusion is made (Do Not Drink), it can be applied to the hair as a lice treatment.

Simple instructions for a Labrador Tea

In a teapot, place 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves and cover with 2 to 3 cups of boiling water.
Let this steep for 5 minutes (no longer).
Pour through a strainer to get all of the leaves out.
If you’d like, for sweetness and flavor, you can add a little honey, sugar or lemon.

This is an interesting plant and tea, so I plan to come back and add some more information in the near future!

 

LEMON BALM

close up of lemon balm

Lemon Balm (member of the mint family) also goes by the name of Bee Balm and has been around since the days of the ancient Greeks. During that time in history, it was discovered that this was a wonderful elixir for their health in general.

But see what else lemon balm is used for today:

• Promotion of mental well-being
• Tension Reducer
• Improved digestion
• Help with Insomnia
• Assist in fighting off viruses
• Nausea
I’ve even used to relieve the itch and swelling of bug bites!

 

Sweet and Simple Lemon Balm Tea

Boil up some water.
Put 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon balm (or 1 teaspoon dried) in your cup or mug.
Fill the mug with your boiling water.
Cover and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your preferred brew strength).
Uncover and enjoy!

If you prefer to enjoy your tea strained (not a fan of the leaves in your cup), just do this:

Boil the water in your choice of pot or kettle (however many cups you plan on making).
Remove pot or kettle from heat.
Put the leaves, fresh or dried (amount depends on 1 or more cups),in the pot and cover.
Let steep for 5-10 minutes (remember, milder or stronger).
Pour steeped tea through strainer and into your cup or mug. And then same as above; Enjoy!

Some recommended additions for your tea:
Honey, sugar, lemon juice
And if you want to, you can even mix it up with some lemon grass or mint. Play around!

LEMONGRASS

Lemon Grass in Backyard on green lawn in front of stone wall

Lemongrass is native to Africa and Southeast Asia and is a multi-tasking powerful herb.
Almost everyone can benefit from a nice cup of Lemongrass tea!

It has many health benefits including, but not limited to, the following:

• Its calming properties help with anxiety and nervousness
• Helps you sleep better
• Aids in digestion and elimination of toxins
• Helps with Constipation and keeping your bowels healthy
• Helps prevent acne because it is an antifungal and antibacterial
• Help relieve symptoms of a cold and cough
• Helps with fever reduction as well as with aches and pains
• Substantial antioxidant benefits that aid in pancreas and liver health
• Natural diuretic assists in the maintenance of kidney health
• Has been reported to help maintain low level of cholesterol

Apart from the numerous benefits from Lemongrass tea, its leaves contain natural citronella oil which is a proven mosquito repellent. The extracted oil is also used in toiletries and perfumes.

Aromatic Lemongrass Tea

3 Stalks of fresh Lemongrass – Most grocery stores carry it or you can find it in Asian markets.
From your lemongrass leaves, cut off the top green parts into 1 – 2 inch portions, which is what you want to use.
Honey, Raw Sugar, or whatever sweetener you like.
Lemon if desired.

In a large pot or kettle, bring approximately 6 cups of water to a rapid boil.
Remove from heat.
Add the 3 cut up stalks of lemongrass.
Cover and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your strength preference). You will smell the delicious aroma as it steeps.
Pour into your cup or mug, inhale and enjoy!
You can add your favorite sweetener and a twist of lemon if you’d like 😉

*This will make approximately 5-6 cups of tea. You can adjust accordingly.

 

MINT

mint plant

Regular Mint Leaves

Boy, do people love mint! From medicinal healing teas all the way to Cuban Mojitos!

It’s a delightfully fresh, refreshing taste and aroma. Whether you choose regular mint leaves or peppermint, you’ll benefit from the delicious menthol flavor!

peppermint plant in potPeppermint

Health Benefits of Mint Leaves:

• Use it for relaxation of the body, soul, and mind
• Controls nasty breath
• Helps with digestion and the discomfort from bloating and gas
• Diarrhea – Alleviates cramping
• Reduces congestion
• Used as an aid in weight loss
• Fever Suppressant and Expectorant
• Nausea relief                                                                                                                                                                                         

Just be careful if you are an acid reflux sufferer. It could aggravate your symptoms.

Super Easy Mint Tea

Mint tea is so easy to make that it really doesn’t require much. Just follow a few easy steps:

Boil some water .
Grab a good handful of fresh mint of your liking and place into a cup or mug.
Pour the hot water into the cup or mug and cover.
Let steep for 5-10 minutes (adjust according to your strength preference).
Savor & Enjoy!

*If the leaves bother you, just remove from your cup or strain the tea into another cup or mug.

Optional: Put mint leaves directly into the pot or kettle with the boiled water (after you’ve removed the pot from heat). Follow the same seeping instructions and then just strain into your cup or mug.

 

 

ROSEHIP

rosehips, fruit of the rose itself with green leaves

The flower responsible for the production of rosehips is a beautiful, white, and very fragrant rose. Rosehip is the fruit of the rose itself. The hip is what is left after the rose has blossomed, dried up and fallen, at which point it is cultivated and used in tea preparation and many other ways as well.

Some benefits of using Rosehips:

• Great source of Vitamin C (contains 50% more C than OJ)
• Suppresses the damage done by free radicals which cause premature aging
• Its Vitamin C content, Antioxidants, and Flavonoids help fight against arthritis, cancer, and heart disease
• Can help with mild constipation
• Eases the symptoms of kidney disorders
• Great boost to the immune system

Tangy Rosehips Tea

Fill a pot or kettle with 4 cups of water.
Add 4 teaspoons of cut (sifted) rose hips or 4 tablespoons of whole dried.
Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into your tea cup & enjoy!

Rosehips make a delicious fruity tea (tangy and mild), you can enjoy by itself or throw in a little bit of mint leaves of your choice during the steeping process.

Moms love using this tea as a substitute for store-bought fruit juices or Kool-Aid. All you need to do is add a little natural sweetener such as Stevia (or whatever you prefer). Chill and serve!

Now it’s time to enjoy some of these great teas! Go get your favorite, beautiful tea kettle … brew and relax!

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Kris - Reply

Ok, enough with daily black or green tea. Looking through your recipes made me want to spice up my daily tea. Thank you for the yammy tips!
Cloves and Ginger, I always considered them as additions to other “real” types of tea. Now I got curious to try them out as main ingredients.
But wait, no more than 4g of ginger per day? That’s a sad news, but good to know for sure!

    mecala - Reply

    Hey Kris, you’re welcome and thanks for your kind comments. Absolutely nothing wrong with black or green as they are wonderful also. Actually, those are in the “real tea” category. Some tea snobs get upset when herbals are referred to as “teas” because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant which is the only plant that gives birth to the real teas; black, green, white, oolong, and pu-erh (a type of fermented tea, good for you, less popular). To be politically correct, herbals should be referred to as “Tisanes” instead of “Teas”. But honestly, I don’t see any harm in calling them “Teas” and carrying on!

Maria - Reply

What a delightful selection of teas and recipes you have put together. Is there some place to purchase say the Labrador plant? I have not heard of that one and it sound interesting. What would you suggest for a pregnant mom and a new mom. Are there teas a pregnant women should not drink?

    mecala - Reply

    Hi Maria,
    You might be more familiar with the term rhododendron, as the two are related. There is a very good and thorough informational article here: http://www.almanac.com/plant/rhododendrons, where you can learn more about where it grows, how to plant, etc. If you decide to try it, rather than planting and harvesting on your own, you can easily purchase online. Just make sure to search “organic” when you do. You’ll get a few options and then you can decide which you like best.
    As far as teas for pregnant moms, new breastfeeding moms, or which they should stay away from; remember it is always best to check with your doctor, ob-gyn, nurse practitioner, or midwife first. Now, that being said, it is too extensive a reply for me to post here. But, I would love for you to take a look at the excellent information provided at this site: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/herbal-tea/
    Thank you for enjoying my article & hope to talk to you again soon 🙂

Carl - Reply

Wow, peppermint can help you lose weight!!!!! i got some growing along my back fence. i never use it for anything, i might just start picking it and using it for some brews. Thank

    mecala - Reply

    So glad you’re thinking about giving it a try, Carl. Go for it! Nothing to lose and you might just end up enjoying it. I find it also very helpful when I begin to feel a mild headache coming on. Beats always having to depend on the traditional meds!

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