There is nothing more relaxing to me than sipping a warm, or cold, cup of herbal tea and reading a good book or chatting with a friend. Tea is soothing, warming, cooling, and healing. For centuries, medicinal teas have been employed as digestive aids, pain reducers, inflammation busters, and more. Let’s take a closer look at just how powerful medicinal teas are and why you should enjoy a cup, or two, daily!
Peppermint, the best after-dinner tea
If your belly often troubles you, peppermint (Mentha piperita) is your go-to tea. Peppermint is a hybrid cross between watermint and spearmint. This powerful herb has been held in high esteem for centuries due to its healing effects and aromatic properties.
Peppermint eases the digestive symptoms of IBS, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. It is also a potent antioxidant with antimicrobial and antiviral activity. Sipping peppermint tea may help relieve symptoms of the common cold, thanks to menthol’s ability to thin out mucus and soothe the sinuses and throat. Menthol also helps relieve migraines and headaches and has the added benefit of freshening your breath.
Growing: Peppermint is super easy to grow – anyone can do it. If you let it – it will take over your garden, and you will have so much mint that you won’t know what to do with it. Instead of planting directly into your garden, grow mint in containers. It will thrive in large pots as long as it gets enough sunshine and you keep the soil moist but not soggy. Pinch off and use leaves often, and the plant will reward you by growing big and bushy.
Make tea: Boil 2 cups of water on the stove and toss in a handful of torn mint leaves. Let the water boil for a few minutes and strain. Enjoy with some raw honey, hot or cold.
Echinacea, the best immunity booster
Also known as purple coneflower, echinacea (Echinacea) is a popular herb used to remedy many conditions. It is one of the best-known herbs for common colds and the flu and is also a popular treatment of migraines, inflammation, and pain. A cup of echinacea tea is very soothing if you have a sore throat. Sipping on a cup of echinacea tea also does wonders for anxiety and is a great way to end a long and stressful day. The taste is similar to pine with strong floral overtones.
Growing: Echinacea is a hardy perennial plant with beautiful flowers and a great addition to any cottage or herb garden. Coneflowers love moist soil and full sun, where they will reach between two and four feet in height. For best results, mix organic matter into the soil before planting.
Make tea: You can use fresh or dried echinacea, roots, stems, leaves, and flowers to make tea. Boil 2 cups of water on the stove. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and add a handful of echinacea. Put the lid on the pot and allow the tea to simmer for five minutes. Strain off loose flowers, roots, or leaves and pour in a cup. Add raw honey and lemon for additional flavor.
Lemon balm, the best for relaxation
From the mint family, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is grown worldwide and is well known for its mood and cognitive-enhancing properties. If you have had a hard day and need a little escape, lemon balm is just the right solution. This easy-to-grow herb has historically been used to battle digestive disorders, eliminate the pain of headaches and menstrual cramps. If sleep is your enemy, enjoying a cup of this mildly sweet, lemony tea half an hour before bedtime is a great way to relax your entire body and usher in the sandman.
Growing: One of the great things about lemon balm perennial plants is that they will grow in almost any soil type. They will grow in part shade or sun but prefer full sun. Like peppermint, lemon balm can become invasive so if you are looking to contain it – grow it in a container!
Make tea. Chop up ½ cup fresh lemon balm leaves to release their oils. Boil 2 cups of water on the stove and mix in the leaves. Turn the stove off, cover the pot and allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and pour into cups. Add raw honey if desired.
As you plan your garden, be sure to include these tremendous medicinal herbs. Not only are they lovely to look at and easy to grow, but they offer a plethora of health benefits that your body craves!
-The Backyard Garden Team