AN HERBAL TEA GARDEN

It can be quite satisfying to sit down and drink a freshly-steeped cup of tea, especially if the tea ingredients are grown right in your own backyard! Herbal teas are a gentle way to include healing herbs in the everyday routine. While they don’t have the potency that other herbal preparations have, teas can be a safe way to consume a little dose of an herb regularly throughout the day and over a long period of time. This can be beneficial for chronic imbalances or to support more rigorous treatments for health and wellness. Whether you have a small space or large plot of land, a tea garden will always fit.

Why an Herbal Tea Garden?

An herbal tea garden is a wonderful accent that can go along with the rest of the garden, and brings the joy of fresh herbs that can be used to prepare aromatic, healthy, and tasty herbal teas of different flavors.

The Health Benefits of Herbal Tea

  • Fights colds, flus, infection, and boosts immunity.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Reduces inflammation and lowers blood pressure.
  • Has anti-aging properties and promotes skin health.
  • Relieves stress and anxiety, and promotes sleep.
  • Boosts iron in the body and rejuvenates tissue cells.

Choosing Plants for the Herbal Tea Garden

The local growing zone is 7, and this zone has a wealth of plants that will thrive in the area, including many hardy herbs that are suitable for a tea garden. Herbs are easy to grow and many are drought tolerant. Herbs typically do not require heavily nutrient rich soil and are naturally resistant to many insects and diseases.

The Green Tea Plant: Camellia sinensis) is a slow-growing and easily maintained evergreen shrub that grows to 7 feet, heat and drought tolerant, and can perform well in full sun. It is well suited for growing zones 7-9, and can be grown in cooler climates in a greenhouse. The attractive dense dark-green leaves and blooms make it a good plant for screening, foundation planting, hedge, or an attractive patio or container plant.  For optimal tea production, it is best to prune to 4-5’ just before spring growth to encourage shoots. The small white blossoms attract bees and are mildly resistant to damage by deer.

The green tea plant likes well-drained and sandy soil that is on the acidic side. When growing the plant in a container, add some sphagnum moss to the potting mix. Allow the plant to grow at least 2 years and at least 4 feet tall before starting to harvest the leaves.

Black tea, chai tea, green tea, oolong tea, and white tea can all be harvested from the green tea plant. Each variety has a unique processing protocol.

The Rooibos Tea Plant (Aspalathus linearis) is a shrub with needle-like leaves and small yellow flowers that can grow up to 6 feet tall. The rooibos tea plant is a member of the legume family that occurs naturally in the northern Cederberg area of South Africa.

Rooibos can be grown from seed and planted in the late summer or spring, or the seeds can be germinated in a greenhouse and planted in the fall season. Seeds need to be scarified by cutting the seed coat using abrasion or thermal stress to encourage germination.

Rooibos tea has a sweet, delicate, and earthy flavor. It is caffeine-free and rich in antioxidants that help manage blood sugar, allergies, colic, digestive problems, insomnia, mental health issues, and poor appetite.

CREATING HERBAL TEA BLENDS

Herbal tea blends are a fantastic way to combine the synergistic qualities of different medicinal herbs. Customizing the formula allows the flexibility to craft combinations that cater to personal nutrition goals and flavor preferences. Additional research may be necessary if addressing specific health concerns. Always consult a qualified medical practitioner in these situations.

Method for Crafting Delicious and Nutritive Herbal Teas

Base or Active Herbs for Tea Blending: Start by considering the motivation for creating the herbal tea blend. Choices include supporting the immune system, encouraging a relaxed state of mind, or boosting energy. Use the preferred herb as the base or active ingredient and add 3 parts to the blend. Examples of base tea herbs are holy basil, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, and sage.

Supporting Herbs for Tea Blending: Next, add 1 to 2 parts of a supporting herb for a complementary effect or flavor. Examples of supporting tea herbs are cacao, chamomile, hawthorn, licorice, marshmallow, and mullein.

Accent or Catalyst Herbs for Tea Blending: The final ingredient is an accent herb which adds a pop of flavor and can round out the other two ingredients. Examples of accent tea herbs are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, orange peel, & spearmint.

Read the entire article at: www.wildchildherbshoptn.com.

~~ Ginger Winn

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