Everyday I make myself an herbal tea, a plant ritual that I’ve observed for years. As I sip my tea, I feel a sense of calm and relaxation wash over me, and I know that I am doing something good for my body, mind, and spirit. The act of making herbal tea and drinking it is uplifting because it engages all of my senses and connects me with the natural world, reminding me to slow down and savor the simple pleasures in life. In this article I’ll share with you how to easily make herbal tea in your own kitchen.
My Journey As a Tea Drinker
I remember sitting at the kitchen table in my childhood home, tears streaming down my face as I cried over some trivial childhood drama. My mother and my aunt tried to soothe me with words of comfort. In moments like these, they would always prepare a cup of chamomile tea. The sweet, floral aroma of the tea filled the air as my aunt carefully poured hot water over the dried chamomile flowers. I watched as the yellow puffs and petals slowly unfurled, like a little burst of sunshine in a teacup. The steam rising from the mug seemed to carry with it the love and care of my family.
As I sipped the tea, its gentle warmth and calming flavor enveloped me, and I felt a sense of peace wash over me. Even now, as an adult, the memory of that soothing cup of chamomile tea is a reminder of the love and care of my family, and the power of simple, nurturing rituals to comfort and uplift us in times of sadness or distress. A sole cup of tea has the potential to carry great healing powers.
Selecting Tea to Brew: My Bedtime Tea Blend
This dreamy herbal tea blend highlights the sweet, apple-like flavor of chamomile, which is combined with soothing herbs that have long been used to promote restful sleep. After simply mixing together the herbs below, you can store them in a jar in your cabinet. Then they’ll be ready to use whenever you want to make a deliciously calming cup of tea.
Here are the measurements and ingredients for the tea blend. This will yield 4 cups of your tea blend, so you can store the leftover blend in a jar and enjoy many servings of tea with this blend. If you want to make a smaller amount of the tea blend, you can use teaspoons or tablespoons instead of cups and use the same ratio.
Ingredients you’ll need…
- 2 cups chamomile
- 1 cup lavender
- 1 cup milky oat tops
Once you’ve mixed these herbs together, you can prepare your tea using any of the three methods I’ve detailed below: making a pot of tea, making a single serving of tea, and making a sun tea. You can also use the steps below with a different loose leaf tea blend of your choosing! Loose leaf tea is often made with either dried leaves or flowers, and there are lots of different types of tea blends that would work well with the instructions below.
How to Brew a Loose Leaf Herbal Tea in a Teapot
- To brew loose leaf tea using a standard teapot, first, fill your stove top or electric tea kettle with cold water and bring it to a boil.
- While the water is heating up, place your desired amount of loose leaf tea into the teapot. If you’re not using the blend I’ve outlined above, ginger root is delicious to include in a loose leaf tea for stimulating warmth and better circulation. Because of ginger’s sharpness and intensity, I like to combine it with an herb that can lift up and sweeten the flavor, such as jasmine or linden. Linden leaves and flowers are very calming and add lovely flavor to many of my herbal tea blends. A good rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per 8 ounces of water.
- Once the water has reached the boiling point, pour the hot water into the teapot over the tea leaves.
- Cover the teapot with a lid and let the tea sit for a steep time of about 3–5 minutes. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor of the tea.
- When the desired steeping time has passed, use a strainer to pour the tea into your cup, leaving the loose leaves behind in the teapot. Serve and enjoy!
How to Make a Single Serving of Herbal Tea
If a whole pot of tea is too much and you would prefer to make a single serving of tea, the single serving process is pretty much the same!
- While the water in your stove top or electric tea kettle is coming to a boil (which is the optimal water temperature), place your desired amount of loose leaf tea into a strainer and set it over your mug. If you don’t have a strainer, you can also use a tea ball or a paper tea filter as a tea infuser. This method is also the best if you are using prepared tea bags.
- Once the water has boiled, pour it over the tea leaves in the strainer and let the tea steep for 5-10 minutes.
- When the tea is done steeping, remove the strainer or tea ball and discard or compost the tea leaves. If you used a paper tea filter or prepared tea bag, simply lift it out of the mug and compost it.
How to Make a Sun-Infused Herbal Tea in a Glass Container
Making sun-infused tea is a simple and easy way to brew herbal tea without the need for heat or electricity. By using the sun’s rays to gently heat the water, the tea is able to steep slowly and release its full flavor and therapeutic properties. Also, sun-infused teas are often more mellow with a less bitter taste than teas made with hot water, which can sometimes cause the delicate flavors of the herbs to become over-extracted or burnt.
- To make a sun-infused loose leaf herbal tea, start by selecting your desired container. Sun tea can be made in a variety of vessels, including airtight glass jars, pitchers, and bottles. It is best to use clear glass so that the sunlight can penetrate and warm the herbs.
- Next, choose your loose leaf herbs. You can choose a single herb or a combination of herbs. In addition to the tea blend I shared above, some of my favorite herbs for sun tea include peppermint, spearmint, or any other members of the mint family, as they are refreshing and energizing. I also love to add rose petals to my sun teas. Rose petals are moisturizing and add a lovely, delicate flavor to your tea blend, supporting the throat and helping to ease a cough.
- Then, fill a large mason jar with cold water, leaving about an inch of room at the top for the tea leaves to expand.
- Add your desired amount of loose leaf tea to the water, using about 1–2 tablespoons of herbs per 16 ounces of water.
- Once you have added the tea leaves, tightly seal the jar or container with a lid and place it in a sunny location, preferably outside. Make sure the jar is in a spot where it will receive direct sunlight for several hours. Leave the jar to steep for a brew time of 3–4 hours or overnight, until the tea has reached your desired strength.
- After the tea has steeped, remove the jar from the sunlight and strain out the tea leaves using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Optionally, you can sweeten the tea with raw honey or another sweetener, and add ice or refrigerate until chilled.
Sun-infused herbal tea is a refreshing and healthy way to enjoy the benefits of herbs while utilizing the power of the sun.
Sun-infused teas made with fresh herbs should be consumed within 2–3 days and stored in the refrigerator. Those made with dried herbs can last up to 1 week if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. However, it’s always best to use your senses to determine if a tea has gone bad. If the tea has an off smell, flavor, or appearance, it’s best to discard it.
Benefits of Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is beloved around the world as an herb that is gentle and safe enough even for children and is popularly used to relieve colic and aid sleep. This cheerful herb supports both the body and the spirit, soothing nerves and allowing the digestive system to relax. Chamomile tea is my favorite remedy for addressing anxiety and releasing tension.
Benefits of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is a flower with tremendous strengthening and calming powers, rich in flavonoids and volatile oils.The name lavender comes from the Latin Lavare, to wash, and it has long been a very popular herb to include in soaps and other bath products to help cleanse the body and spirit. The scent of lavender is one of the most cherished aromatherapies in the world. Many people find comfort and relief from pain through drinking lavender tea, applying lavender essential oils, or bathing in lavender-infused water.
Milky Oats Benefits (Avena sativa)
Milky oat tops are the immature seed pods of the oat plant and contain a milky substance that is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and other minerals and vitamins. Oat tops nourish the nervous system, which helps your body cope with stress. This nutrient-rich herb is also deeply moisturizing, helping to prevent skin itchiness.
Want to learn more about the benefits of chamomile, lavender, and milky oats? Check out HerbMentor! HerbMentor is LearningHerb’s online herbal learning community that’s full of how-to videos, recipes, self-paced courses, and plant profiles/monographs — including chamomile, lavender, and milky oats monographs. Learn more about HerbMentor here.
Here are some frequently asked questions about making an herbal tea…
What kind of water should I use to make herbal tea?
It’s recommended to use filtered water to make herbal tea. Tap water can contain minerals or chemicals that can affect the flavor of the tea.
How long should I steep the herbs in hot water?
The recommended steeping time varies depending on the type of herb and the desired strength of the tea. As a general rule, steep for about 5 minutes, but some herbs require longer steeping times. Always check the instructions on the package or consult a reliable source for specific steeping times.
Should I use fresh or dried herbs for herbal tea?
Both fresh and dried herbs can be used to make herbal tea, but the preparation methods may differ. Fresh herbs are more delicate and may require less steeping time, while dried herbs are more concentrated and may require longer steeping times.
Can I sweeten herbal tea with honey or sugar?
Yes, sweeteners can be added to herbal tea to enhance the flavor. However, it’s recommended to use natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup instead of refined sugar, which can be detrimental to health.