Herbal teas have been used for centuries to mend the body and soothe the mind. Herbal mixes from the grocery store or a specialty tea shop are effective but needlessly expensive solutions to the minor aches and stresses of life. With a little planning you can put together an herbal blend for whatever you have to face that day.
Selecting the Right Flavors
The first question that you have to answer when you’re putting your tea together is what you want it to taste like. While most herbs are delicious, some can take some getting used to, and there are others that you might want to taste as little as possible; not everyone enjoys the same flavors. Chamomile is a great herb for relaxing the body and getting you ready for a restful night’s sleep, but it tends to have a polarizing effect on people: you either love it or you hate it. If you don’t like chamomile, hiding the flavor behind some lemon balm could be just the thing for you.
Here are some general flavors that tend to be assertive in a tea mix. You can use these herbs first for flavor and then build the medicinal qualities of herbs around these mixes.
. Peppermint: light but strong flavor, refreshing but powerful enough to block out others.
. Chamomile: sweet, reminiscent of apple.
. Lavender: floral, sweet, add complicated notes to a blend and can help counteract bitterness.
. Lemon Balm: hearty, with a rich flavor reminiscent of green tea leaves.
. Coriander: the leaves are known as Cilantro; lends a warm and spicy flavor to teas.
. Rose (petals): floral, sweet, and light. Adds body to a pale tea, and perfect for a chilled glass of iced tea.
. Rose (hips): heavier flavor, not as sweet as the petals. Adds a note of tang without bitterness, and can cut through a tea too sweet or simple in flavor.
Proportions Are Everything
When you’re measuring out your tea blends, you should consider not only the ingredients but the proportions that you’re using. One great example is peppermint. In small doses, this herb is a soothing, relaxing herb that settles the stomach and digestive tract. A larger dose is invigorating for many people. A glass of peppermint tea before bed could keep light sleepers awake, but a pinch of peppermint into a tea blend could help settle the stomach and prepare those same people for a restful night.
Consider also the strength of the relative ingredients in a blend. You’re going to need more rose petals than rose hips to get the same concentration of flavor; rose petals are more delicate and contain less oil than the hips.
When you’re just starting to mix your own blends, try preparing them one cup or pot of tea at a time. If you experiment with different proportions on the small scale you’ll know what you want when you’re mixing up a big batch of tea for a gift or to enjoy without the effort of putting it together every time.
A Tea for Every Occasion
When you’re putting your own teas together you can create blends that work the best for you. Many creative people use herbal teas as one step towards getting them into “the Zone.” In “the Zone”, creativity flows freely and ideas are uncensored. This lightly meditative state is difficult to achieve on command. One of the few proven ways of doing so is to establish a routine. For many people whose creativity happens at a computer, this means getting a drink, clearing their task bar, setting up their music, and just letting things flow.
For a basic creative tea, try mixing two parts peppermint with one part rose petals, following that with one part lemon balm. The peppermint is energizing without the harsh comedowns of caffeine, rose is soothing, and lemon balm will give the drink a rich flavor so that you’re not constantly craving coffee. From there you can experiment with flavors and herbs that provide exactly what you’re looking for in your creative rejuvenation brew
Your basic bedtime tea could have many, many herbs in it, but a good blend to get you started is two parts chamomile, a touch of peppermint, one part lavender, one part allspice/cinnamon/bergamot, and a touch of natural honey sweetener. Drink in the hour before bed while you turn off screens and listen to music, watch the stars, or read a book. By the time bedtime comes you’ll be ready to sleep through the night.
From there, you can put together tea blends that suit every purpose. The variety of edible herbs and their medicinal properties ensures that you’re going to be discovering new favorite combinations for years to come.
Herbal teas are a great way for you to address some of the minor worries and cares in your life. Designing the teas is a fun creative expression, and tailor making teas for your body and mind allows you to address the issues that are important to you. The sheer variety of herbs and proportions means that there’s a tea out there for every occasion.
What is your favorite herbal tea blend? Let me know in the comments below.