Summer fun with cool herbal teas.
To me, hot summers = iced teas—not your traditional Lipton’s tea made cold, but refreshing teas made from lushious herbs. And they are so easy to make with a few helpful suggestions from below.
Things to consider when when making herbal teas.
When blending herbal teas, I like to take into account the following:
Aroma. Aroma comes from aromatic herbs such as lemon balm, lavender, spearmint, peppermint and rose (to name only a handful). When adding these herbs, they are added at the very end of the steeping process—maybe 5 minutes. They can also be put in a glass jar at left outside in the sun to make sun tea. (See below for directions).
Taste. Of course taste is key to any drink, herbal teas not excluded. Tastes include bitter, tart, sweet and spicy. Many herbs are naturally bitter which is a sign that they benefit the liver. However, to make many more palatable, adding a bit of spice or sweetness can create a tasty and healthy tea. Here are some suggestions.
Ginger added to tea gives it a bit of zing and ginger goes well with the tart taste of hibiscus flower or jasmine. Orange or lemon peel can give tea both a bitter as well as citrusy (or tart) flavor while anise seed like ginger is warming with spicy notes.
Fruit—I think fruit always enhances the flavor of a tea—especially in the summer when we just naturally gravitate towards the sweetness of fruit. Bits of fresh fruit can be added to any tea. Fruits that I like in my teas are: oranges, lemons, tangerines, and berries.
Vanilla. I also like to put a bit of vanilla in my teas because I think it makes them taste smooth and delicious.
Sweetness. Teas can be made naturally sweet by adding stevia LEAF to the tea blend. I highly recommend the leaf as opposed to the powdery or liquid processed stevia. One can also a tad of licorice root which is 100x sweeter than sugar! With cold teas, I ten to avoid honey only because it doesn’t coagulate very well.
Medicinal properties. Although most people don’t think of blending tea for their medicinal values, I highly recommend trying it. Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite herbs, listed by its ‘action’ with some herbs having multiple actions.
Digestion: chamomile, fennel, anise seed, bitter melon, chicory root, orange peel, peppermint.
Sense of well being: holy basil, licorice root, lavender, rose petals and hips, hawthorn leaf and berry and chamomile.
Skin and or immune system: gotu kola, elder flowers and berries, helichrysum, green teas, rooibos and chamomile.
Where to purchase organic herbal teas.
Try to find a store that will sell you teas in bulk and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, ask if they can order it for you. You can buy online as well (e.g. Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals) but you will pay for shipping—so best to double up with friends.
Combining herbs for tea making and recipes.
Here are some recipes that I’ve put together, but feel free to experiment. Try to add ones for aroma, taste and medicinal benefits.
hibiscus, orange peel, gotu kola, vanilla, and blueberries
spearmint, peppermint and chamomile, licorice root and coconut oil
lavender, vanilla, helichrysum flowers, and rose petals
green tea, licorice, anise seed, mango and vanilla
hibiscus, ginger, holy basil, stevia leaf and strawberries
roasted chicory, bitter melon, licorice root and vanilla
elderberry, hawthorn berry, licorice root and blueberries
green tea, jasmine and vanilla
The first thing to remember when making your own summer blends is not to be afraid to experiment. Just begin by making small batches and be sure to write down each ingredient and the amount used. Then, if you do make a larger batch, you can just alter the proportions. You can make your summer blends one of two ways.
Sun Teas. If using fresh herbs, you can make "sun" teas as the name implies. Simply wash the herbs and put them in a jar of cold water and set out in the sun for 4-6 hours. Strain and refrigerate. Now you can add in cut fruit and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Again, strain and enjoy.
Steeping. If you are using dried herbs, simply boil a pot of water and when it’s done boiling, throw in a handful of herbs and cover for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, add any aromatic herbs and recover. When this is done strain and refrigerate. If you choose, you can add any cut fruit to your tea and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Again, strain and enjoy.
Herbs mentioned and their scientific names.
anise seed (Pimpinella anisum)
bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
chicory root (Cichorium intybus)
elder flower/berry (Sambucas niger)
ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
gotu kola (Centella asiatica)
green tea (Camellia sinensis)
hawthorn leaf/berry (Crataegus monogyna)
helichrysum (Helichrysum arenarium)
hibiscus flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
jasmine (Jasminum odoratissimum, officinale, grandiflorum)
lavender (Lavandula spp.)
lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
lemon peel (Citrus x lemon)
licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
orange peel (Citrus sinensis)
peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)
rose (Rosa spp)
spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Thanks and enjoy your summer and your summer teas!
Jayne Tamburello has a master’s degree in Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) and is the founder of Invibe Herbal, your one stop shop for healthy, organic tea blends. Please visit our website at: www.invibeherbal.com. Jayne is also a licensed nutritionist (LDN), a certified nutritionist (CNS) and a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild, RH(AHG). She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org