The Most Popular Herbal Tea Plants and Their Benefits! Herb gardening has been steadily gaining in popularity thanks to people’s interest in having fresh herbs in their backyard. Even in high-rise apartments in New York, people in all areas of the world are finding space to grow herbs and vegetables in pots, raised garden beds, or in their existing landscape. So, what plants are best for making tea?
While it may be nice to have cilantro and onion chives on hand to use for your culinary creations, we’re here to tell you the most popular herbs for making your own tea and the benefits of each.
This should come as no surprise here. Mint continues to be used for culinary and medicinal use. The most common mint varieties include spearmint and peppermint. Be careful when planting mint- roots grow horizontal under the soil and will pop up in other areas of your garden. Paying attention and pulling out runners will help eradicate the spreading issue, though many gardeners choose to keep mint in a pot as opposed to a shared garden bed.
Much like its close relative peppermint, spearmint is also touted for helping alleviate symptoms of nausea, indigestion, gas, and headache (Medical News Today). Spearmint can also help with toothache, cramps, and sore throat.
How to make mint tea:
Ratio: About 10 mint leaves per cup of water
Steep time: Minimum of 5 minutes
Perfect for iced tea or hot tea, lemon balm is a popular herb for tea. Producing large amounts of sweet lemon-scented leaves, lemon balm has been touted for helping with insomnia and anxiety, while increasing calmness and alertness (University of Maryland Medical Center). Lemon balm has even been found as an effective treatment for cold sores and indigestion (University of Maryland Medical Center).
Like many herbs, lemon balm can be invasive in a garden bed. Controlling the spread of lemon balm can easily be done by removing the flowers from the plant as soon as they appear, as the flowers have seeds that shake off and grow new plants (gardeningknowhow.com).
How to make lemon balm tea:
Ratio: About 2 tablespoons per cup of water
Steep time: Minimum of 5 minutes
Popularly used in recipes but not popularly found in grocery stores, fresh lemongrass can grow up to 6 feet tall.
According to Livestrong.com, “lemongrass contains a number of volatile oils, including one called citral that’s a mixture of several similar compounds. Information from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center indicates that citral acts as an antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage by free radicals.”
In addition, Livestrong.com also notes that lemongrass has anti-microbial properties and helps prevent or slow the growth of bacteria and fungi. Some studies have even shown that lemongrass can prevent the growth of cancer cells.
To harvest lemongrass, cut, twist, or break off a stalk (1/4” thick minimum) by gripping the stalk at the base. Remove all dead material, cut off the root end of the lemongrass and use a rolling pin over the stalks to help release flavor. Trim into smaller pieces using kitchen shears.
How to make lemongrass tea:
Ratio: About 1-2 stalks, depending on size, per cup of water
Steep time: Minimum of 5 minutes
Sage has a list of surprising health benefits that make this herb a popular choice for herb gardens and herbal tea. One of the more popular varieties of sage used for tea is pineapple sage. Pineapple sage is almost exactly what you would expect from its name. Smelling and tasting a bit like pineapple, this variety of sage is an herbal tea favorite.
Sage is said to help with anxiety, high blood pressure, mental fatigue, stress, and depression (ayurtimes.com).
To make sage tea, place ½ cup of sage leaves into a tea infuser, and pour 1 quart of boiling water over the leaves. You’ll want to let sage steep for a while- about 20 minutes. TIP: use a Primula Tea Bag Buddy to keep the steam and heat inside your cup or teapot.
How to make sage tea:
Ratio: About 1/8 cup of leaves per cup of water
Steep time: About 20 minutes
Fennel comes in a number of varieties, with one of the most popular being the bronze leaf fennel. According to an article published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, fennel has been found to have cancer-preventing properties
According to livestrong.com, fennel is also great for digestive health, calming colicky infants, and treating symptoms of respiratory tract infections like bronchitis and chronic coughs. In addition, fennel tea is also said to be great for treating kidney stones, nausea, and cramps.
There are a few different ways to make fennel tea. To prepare fennel tea using seeds, lightly crush the seeds to help release some of the flavors and oils that are beneficial. If you’d like to use the leaves instead, cut up a small bundle of leaves to release the oils and flavors.
How to make fennel tea:
Ratio: About 1-2 teaspoons of leaves or seeds per cup of water
Steep time: No more than 2-3 minutes
Easy to grow and easy to maintain, basil is a popular addition to many herb gardens. Most popularly used for cooking, basil is also popularly used as an herbal tea. Scientific studies have shown that basil can help reduce inflammation, serve as an antioxidant, can help naturally prevent cancer, contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and can also help reduce stress (DrAxe.com). There’s also evidence that basil tea works well for sore throats, headaches, and upset stomachs (feathersinthewoods.com).
To prepare basil tea, select the freshest-looking leaves on the plant. Make sure you are gentle and do not bruise the leaves. Use scissors to cut the leaves off the stem and place the leaves into a tea infuser.
How to make basil tea:
Ratio: About 2 tablespoons of leaves per cup of water
Steep time: 7-10 minutes
According to an academic journal published in Molecular Medicine Reports, “Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind.” So it’s no surprise that chamomile made our list. Chamomile is often used to treat inflammation, muscle spasms, insomnia, ulcers, and gastrointestinal issues. The most popular preparation of chamomile is tea, of which more than one million cups are consumed every day. Chamomile has even been proven to help with cardiovascular conditions, stimulate the immune system and provide some protection against cancer
How to make chamomile tea:
Ratio: About 4 tablespoons of leaves per cup of water
Steep time: At least 5 minutes
*Bonus tip: add a sprig of mint for a delicious herb pairing
Tools of the Trade
To make herbal tea, we recommend using a Primula glass teapot with an infuser, so you can see the color of your tea while it is steeping.
Lea Teapot, 20 Oz, Includes Glass Loose Leaf Tea Infuser - Primula
Primula Lea Glass Teapot 22 Oz is composed of borosilicate glass, an industry leader in durability and thermal shock resistance. This technologically advance glassware appears delicate but is actually stronger and more heat resistant than conventional glass. Since it's totally… read more
If you’re wanting to keep your herbal tea hot for longer steeping requirements, our cast iron teapots will be perfectly suitable for your needs.
$41.99 Primula’s Japanese Blue Floral Cast Iron Teapot is reminiscent of Japanese cherry blossoms. This traditional blue teapot is as exquisite as it is durable. Cast iron teapots are designed to deliver exceptional tasting tea every time. They distribute heat more… read more
Floral 34 oz. Cast Iron Teapot - Blue - Primula
Primula’s Japanese Blue Floral Cast Iron Teapot is reminiscent of Japanese cherry blossoms. This traditional blue teapot is as exquisite as it is durable. Cast iron teapots are designed to deliver exceptional tasting tea every time. They distribute heat more… read more
Would you rather just steep your fresh herbs right in your mug? Looking for more of a single-serving solution?
Primula Universal Tea Infuser, Stainless Steel Reusable Filter
Side handles allow this universal stainless steel tea infuser to fit almost all cups, mugs, glasses, and teapots. Stainless steel infuser with fine perforations promotes steeping, while keeping loose tea leaves out of tea. Plenty of room for loose tea… read more
Primula Tea With A Twist, 18 Oz, Travel Tea Mug, Stainless Steel
Primula Tea with a Twist - Steep on the go with this innovative travel tea mug from Primula. Includes stainless steel mesh tea basket for tea brewing right in your mug. Stainless steel outer wall with vacuum seal will keep… read more
Final Point of Brew
It’s easy to grow a fresh garden of herbs that you can use for making delicious tea. Get creative with your herbal tea! Mixing herbs together, adding lemon and other spices, and trying it hot and iced will help you figure out that perfect herbal tea sweet spot to satisfy your personal taste buds and preferences. Just be sure you know all possible side effects, interactions, and dosage limitations before drinking any herbal tea. Just like with anything, moderation is key.