For the last few years I’ve had a growing interesting in using herbs for medicinal purposes. Don’t get me wrong, I still love me some ibuprofen for my aches and pains, but it’s fun to try and see how effective different herbs are. The books I refer to most often are Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs; The Kitchen & Garden Book of Herbs, by Jessica Houdret and Joanna Farrow; The Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; and the classic Stalking the Healthful Herbs, by Euell Gibbons. The last one is really a very good read, the others are reference style books. Some day I’d love to have an entire garden dedicated solely to medical herbs with space to dry herbs and prepare them for use, but right now I’m working with a small deck garden and a tiny apartment. My mint plants were getting a bit out of hand, so I decided to harvest some to use for tea. I used a handful of sweet mint, a handful of chocolate mint, and a few sprigs of lemon verbena. In addition to tasting delicious, this tea has some other benefits, primarily digestive.
Lemon Verbena: Aids digestion, good for the stomach and intestines, said to reduce fevers. Can also work as a bug repellent when leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin.
Mint: Aids digestion, calms an upset stomach, and helps with muscle spasms
Making an herbal tea is a really simple process. Harvest the herbs, rinse (make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides!), pluck the leaves, steep in boiling water for 15 – 30 min, strain out the leaves, and refrigerate. Or drink it hot, if that’s what you’re going for.
I added just a teaspoon of honey to this tea while it was still hot, but you certainly don’t have to.
It’s very refreshing!