How do you like your tea? Milk with one sugar, with no milk or sugar or as it comes? Or maybe you’re more partial to a cup of herbal tea?
Herbal teas are in a world of their own. And once you discover it (and them), there’s no going back! There are so many different varieties of herbal tea available, all with their own distinctive taste, as well as their own special properties.
We can’t talk you through all of the herbal teas that are available, as it would mean this article would go on forever and a day. But what we can do, is introduce you to some of the main herbal teas you may have already heard of, but don’t know much about, or have tasted, and want to learn more.
Tea #1: Chamomile tea
Where does it come from?Chamomile is an herb that comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family. The flowers are dried and then infused into hot water to make chamomile tea.1
Why drink it?
There are quite a few benefits associated with chamomile tea. The main one being that it may contribute to maintaining normal sleep and it contains naturally occurring antioxidants. Chamomile may also support digestion.
What does it taste like?Chamomile has a mild and light taste and is lightly scented and flowery. There’s also a slight earthiness too. The tea itself is a light yellow colour.2
How to make your own chamomile tea
What you’ll need:3
- 3 to 4 tbsp fresh chamomile flowers
- 1 small, fresh sprig of mint
- 8oz boiling water
- An infuser teapot
What you need to do:
- Harvest your chamomile flowers, it's ideal to use them the same day they are harvested, as they have a short shelf life. Otherwise, they can last a couple of days in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a lightly dampened paper towel.
- To prepare the chamomile, pop the head of the flower off the stem. They can even be harvested this way, so that they are immediately ready for use. For the mint, select a small sprig.
- Boil 8oz of water in your kettle and place 3 to 4 tbsp (4 tbsp for a stronger tea) of chamomile and your mint sprig into your teapot.
- Pour the boiling water over the chamomile flowers and mint and then steep for 5 minutes. To serve, pour into a teacup, using a fine mesh strainer.
Handpicked content: Chamomile: Uses and benefits
Tea #2: Rooibos tea
Where does it come from?Rooibos tea, also known as red tea or redbush tea, is made from the leaves from a shrub called Aspalathus Linearis, which tends to be found growing in South Africa. Rooibos has no connections to green or black tea.4
Why drink it?It’s a great caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea and happens to contain fewer tannins than black or green tea too. Tannins, natural compounds present in green and black tea, interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as iron.5 Rooibos teas also contain antioxidants.
What does it taste like?Don’t be misled by the colour…while brewed rooibos is an intense shade of red (hence the redbush and red tea name), the flavour is actually subtle in comparison. It’s often described as being light and earthy with a natural sweetness.6
Tea #3: Lemon balm tea
Where does it come from?Lemon balm, also called Melissa Officinalis, is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the same family as mint. You’ll most commonly find it growing in Europe, North Africa and West Asia; it's grown around the world too.7
Why drink it?Lemon balm has been traditionally used for many years to improve mood and boost brain power. It’s believed to be able to help reduce mild anxiety and support sleep and digestion.8
What does it taste like?As the name suggests, it tastes citrusy (like lemons), but with a hint of mint. It also goes wonderfully well with honey, agave syrup and a dash of lemon juice. But if you had to describe it in one word? Well, that word would be…refreshing.9
Tea #4: Passionflower tea
Where does it come from?A perennial climbing vine native to North America, passion flowers are now grown throughout Europe. The flowers, leaves and stems are used for herbal supplements. Meanwhile passionflower is used as infusions, teas, liquid extracts and tinctures.10
Why drink it?Google 'passionflower tea' and we can guarantee that better sleep, or something very similar, will feature among the list of benefits, as it is believed to support relaxation and sleep.11
What does it taste like?It has a mild flavour and a grassy earthiness to it. Passion flower tea can also be sweetened with a floral honey.12
How to make your own passion flower tea:
What you’ll need:13
- 1 tbsp dried passionflower (about 2 grams) or a tea bag
- 1 cup hot water
- Honey (optional)
How to make it:
- Steep dried passionflower in hot water for 6 to 8 minutes. Steep the tea for longer, for around 10 to 15 minutes, for a stronger taste and more potential benefits.
- Strain or take tea bag out of water.
- Optional - sweeten with a touch of honey.
Tea #5: Peppermint tea
Where does it come from?Peppermint, also known as Mentha Piperita, is an aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family and is a cross between watermint and spearmint. It’s native to Europe and Asia and has been used for thousands of years for its pleasant, minty taste and health benefits.14
Why drink it?
Drinking peppermint tea is believed to be able to support digestive functions.
What does it taste like?It has a slightly spicy peppery flavour, with a tiny bit of sweetness and a touch of mint, although it is not as minty as you might expect.15
How to make your own peppermint tea:
What you’ll need:16
- 2 cups water
- 15 mint leaves of fresh peppermint
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar or honey (optional)
- Lemon slices (optional)
- Fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Ice (optional)
What you need to do:
- Gather all of your ingredients.
- Boil your water in a saucepan.
- Take your pan off the heat and add the fresh mint leaves. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea to be.
- Add optional sweetener. Start with 1 teaspoon per cup and add more as desired.
- To serve iced peppermint tea - fill tall glasses with ice and pour the tea over.
- If serving hot - pour the tea into mugs.
- Garnish with optional lemon slices and/or lemon juice to taste.
Handpicked content: Peppermint oil: Benefits, dosage, side-effects.
Tea #6: Red raspberry leaf tea
Where does it come from?
Red raspberry leaf tea often referred to as the ‘woman’s herb’ comes from the red raspberry plant, which can be found growing in Europe and parts of Asia. It’s best known for the sweet, nutritious raspberries that it produces.The leaves from these raspberry plants are also pretty special too. They are packed full of nutrients and often used to make herbal tea.17 The leaves are dried and then crushed to make red raspberry leaf tea.
Why drink it?Red leaf raspberry tea contains a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.18 Red raspberry leaves alone contain B vitamins, Vitamin C and a number of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron. On top of all that, they also contain polyphenols, such as tannins and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants in your body and can help protect cells from oxidative stress.19
What does it taste like?Don’t let the name misguide you because it doesn’t taste like raspberries. Many people describe it as tasting like floral black tea (think Earl Grey), it has a full taste, but also tastes a bit earthy and fruity too.20,21 Some people sweeten it with honey if they aren’t keen on the unique taste
How to make your own red leaf raspberry tea
What you’ll need:22
- 2 handfuls fresh red raspberry leaves
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 to 2 handfuls fresh raspberries
How to make it:
- Select your leaves and berries, taking care to pick green, whole leaves and firm, red berries.
- Rinse the leaves and berries.
- Boil the water.
- Once it has reached the boiling point, add the fresh leaves and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Let the tea sit for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the tea is steeping, muddle raspberries and sugar in the bottom of two mugs. Be sure to reserve some raspberries for the final step.
- Pour the tea into a mug and stir to dissolve sugar and raspberry mix.
- Add a few berries to garnish and enjoy!
Last updated: 14 Janaury 2021