In a Globe and Mail article in 2000, Unitarianism was described as a “Pick and Choose” religion. Some people liked that descriptions; others not. Taking that theme, we invite you to “pick and choose” herbs from our labyrinth garden to make your own special blend of herbal tea. Here are some possible ingredients from the labyrinth and garden grounds. Sandy and Mary would love to talk with you more about this and introduce you to our gardens.
These are the ones we have available:
Maybe you’ve never thought to make lavender tea but its floral taste is amazing. A delicious cup of herbal tea you can make from lavender flowers that is sweet and fragrant in taste and is perfect for calming your mind, particularly recommended to reduce tension and alleviate headache.
Lavender grows well in full sun, in well drained soil.
Also read : How to Grow Lavender Plants
2. Lemon Verbena (not in UCV garden)
Lemon verbena leaves are used to make tea. Consumption of its tea improves digestion, joint pain and helps in asthma.
Refreshing and sour, this lemon flavored plant is easy to grow. It needs full sun to thrive and doesn’t tolerate severe winters. Below 14 F (-10 C) the plant dies. It’s more suitable for subtropical and tropical climate, although you can grow lemon verbena in cold climate, but in containers.
Mint is a most favorite tea herb and popular among herbal tea lovers, it’s also one of the easiest plants to grow. Mint tea fights with digestive disorders, abdominal pain and stomach cramps. Besides this, it stimulates the appetite, reduces flatulence and is very refreshing in flavor. Mint is very robust plant and can even get out of hand in the garden if you don’t care to stop it. It grows in moist soil in full to partial sun.
We have several kinds including apple mint, peppermint and pineapple mint. And if you’d like some to take home, we will happily share a cutting or two.
Also read: How to Control Invasive Plants
4. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm plant is closely related to mint, but has a distinct lemon flavor. It gives flavor to herbal teas and ice creams and appears to be a useful fragrant herb in the kitchens.
Lemon balm grows well in dry soil and partial shade. If grown outside it dies in winter but regrow again in spring. Lemon balm spreads vigorously if grown in garden beds so it’s better to grow it in a confined space or in a container.
5. Ginger (not in UCV garden)
Ginger tea is popular, especially n (South and East Asia. Its roots and leaves can be used to make tea. Use of ginger tea is praised in ancient Chinese medicines and Ayurveda, it’s an antioxidant and contains antibacterial properties. It cures diseases like cold, flu, nausea and improves digestion and appetite.
Ginger is such an easy to grow and forget it plant that you’ll definitely like to grow. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 – 12 and grows best in filtered sunlight and moist soil in a spot that is less windy.
Thyme is an effective herbal tea ingredient that calms stomach problems and sore throat. Use its leaves to prepare tea, if there are flowers, add them too.
Thyme grows well in full sun but also tolerate partial sun and is an ideal herb that is very low maintenance.
We have a couple of varieties. Thyme corresponds to the West Direction so look in that direction.
7. Chamomile (not in UCV garden)
Beautiful daisy like flowers that smells mildly fruity like an apple, chamomile is a useful medicinal tea herb. It’s traditionally used to induce calm and sleep. You can prepare its tea with small white and yellow flowers rather than the leaves. There are two kinds of chamomile (German and Roman), Roman chamomile offers strong flavored tea.
Chamomile likes sandy soil and lots of sun and it needs a lot of water during the summer. It’s hardy under USDA Zones 4 – 9.
8. Jasmine (not in UCV garden)
Jasmine flowers are suitable to make tea, for this you need to pick some fresh flowers. Dry and mix them with green tea, you can also steep them alone to make jasmine tea.
Jasmine vine thrives in full sun and needs a trellis or a support to climb. It’s not suitable for harsh winter climates, so if you want to grow it, grow it in container that can be moved inside.
Stevia leaves are sweet and can be steeped to make tea. It’s a safe and natural sweetener, used in place of sugar in an infusion and good for diabetics.
Stevia grows in USDA Zones 9 to 11, it doesn’t tolerate cold. Still, you can grow it in more colder zones in a pot so that it can be brought inside when winter comes.
This culinary herb has a fruity and sour flavor with a hint of mint. Marjoram tea cures various digestion and stomach problems including poor appetite, liver disease, gallstones, intestinal gas, and stomach cramps.
It grows well in full sun but can tolerate light shade, it needs loose and well drained soil.
11. Cilantro (not in UCV garden)
Commonly used for cooking, cilantro is also suitable for tea. Its tea resembles aroma similar to Lady Gray tea. Mix honey in it to soothe the acidity and constipation. It also clears toxins from the body and prevents indigestion.
It grows in both the sun and partial shade and is an ideal herb for pots. Cilantro grows diversely as annual herb in almost any climate, it can be grown under USDA Zones 3 – 11.
We have some that is going to seed, i.e. coriander. Here’s a recipe for coriander tea. You need to grind the seeds.
Rosemary tea improves digestion, promotes cognitive function and acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from heart disease and cancer. Rosemary plant prefers full sun, light and well drained soil.
At the south entrance to the labyrinth we have a rosemary plant. You can snip some to take home any time.
Fennel seeds are used to prepare its tea. Fennel tea is very beneficial for digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and flatulence. Fennel grows in USDA zones 4 to 10 in moist and fertile soil in full to partial sun.
You can also snip the leaves to add to tea.
14. St. John’s wort (not in UCV garden)
It is a very effective remedy against nervous disorders: insomnia, depression, anxiety etc. However, it also has some side effects.
It grows very easily without special care. It can be grown on the ground or in pots.
To learn how to grow St John’s wort read this.
The antiseptic tonic of sage enables to provide an effective remedy for ailments as varied as: mouth ulcer and sore throat. Sage tea also helps in depression and Alzheimer. Take 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves and 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves and steep it for 3 – 5 minutes in boiling water. Strain it and mix honey in it for taste. Your sage tea is ready.
It can be grown either in the ground or in pots. If grown in pots it’s important to water sage regularly.
We have golden sage, “ordinary” sage and pineapple sage. We’ll be adding purple sage soon.
16. Viola tricolor (not in UCV garden)
Often referred as wild pansy, it’s a common European flower that grows wild as a short lived perennial. Viola tricolor is known for its medicinal properties. It contains flavonoids, saponins, anthocyanins, carotenoids that helps in fighting myriads of human diseases like cancer, various skin diseases, allergies and sore throat. You can use whole plant to make tea.
Also called as heartsease, viola tricolor grows in partial shade in slightly acidic to neutral soil. It’s hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9
Basil especially holy basil or ‘tulsi’ is best to make basil tea, you can also add honey and ginger in it. Other varieties of basil are also used. Basil is stress reliever and if used with honey and ginger it helps in asthma and cough, cold and influenza. Consumption of basil tea lowers the blood sugar level and helps in heart diseases. Basil tea is also a good cure of mouth problems and bad breath.
Holy Basil loves warm exhibition, it’s a tropical plant, hardy in USDA Zones 10, 11 and grows best when temperature stays around 70 – 86 F (20 – 30 C).
18. Catnip (not in UCV garden)
Mildly sedative and calming, catnip tea is excellent treat after an exhausting day. It helps in digestive disorder like diarrhea, relieves headache and insomnia and if you’re going through nicotine withdrawal, it alleviates the stress. Both the leaves and flowers are used to prepare tea.
If you know how to save your catnip plant from cats for your use growing it is easy. It’s hardy in USDA Zones 3 – 8 and prefers well drained soil that is sandy, although catnip grows in variety of soil types. Keep your plant in full to partial sun.
19. Lemon Grass (not in UCV garden)
Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is used to make herbal tea, in soups and other dishes. This lemony scented tea herb also repels pests like white flies away from garden.
Grow lemongrass in warm and sunny spot and do regular watering. Lemongrass is hardy in USDA Zones 9 – 11, however if you like to grow it in colder climate you can grow it in a pot and bring that indoors or in a greenhouse in winter.
We invite anyone who has herb plants to share, to add them to the labyrinth. We especially would like more thyme and succulent or drought-resistant groundcovers for the courtyard labyrinth — hens and chicks etc.
Your Windowsill Herb Garden
Here’s a video showing you how to grow herbs in a jar of water.