Chamomile tea
Photo by <a href="">Flickr/Daniel Go</a>
Herbal teas are healthy alternatives to black tea or coffee.

Herbal teas can be very tasty and deliver between 50 and 90 percent of the medicinal qualities of the herbs used. Teas you make yourself will be more potent and flavorful than those you can buy at the store—and much less expensive. Try experimenting with different herbal combinations, but be careful to avoid any plants you cannot confidently identify as edible or any plants sprayed with pesticides. If using dried herbs, you can store your tea mixes in sealed containers for months. Be sure to label each container with the name of the tea.

Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herbs per cup of hot water, or 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs per pint of water. Steep the herbs for about 10 minutes and then strain. The following plants can all be safely used in teas:


Alliums, bee balm, carnations, echinacea (roots and flowers), hibiscus, hollyhocks, honeysuckle (avoid the poisonous berries), lavender, marshmallow (use the roots), nasturtiums, red clover, roses (flowers or hips), violets


Basil, chamomile flowers, chives, dill, eucalyptus, ginger root, lemon balm, lemongrass, linden leaves, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, valerian root, verbena

Bushes and Trees

Birch leaves, blackberry leaves, citrus blossoms, elderberry flowers, gardenia, pine needles, raspberry leaves


Chickweed, chicory, dandelions, goldenrod, stinging nettle

Tea for the Common Cold

Combine the following herbs in any proportion you like. Boil for 10 minutes, strain and add honey to taste.

• Marshmallow root (eases body aches, reduces inflammation)

• Peppermint (reduces congestion, eases headaches, soothes stomach)

• Echinacea roots and flowers (boosts the immune system)

• Thyme (reduces chest and nasal congestion, increases circulation)

• Cinnamon (reduces inflammation and fights infection)

• Rosehips, finely chopped (full of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and energizes)

• Ginger root, peeled and finely chopped (warms from the inside out)

• Lavender, crushed (eases migraines)

• Lemon peel, finely grated (full of vitamin C)

Calming Tea

Combine the following calming herbs, using about as much valerian as all the other herbs combined (valerian can be very potent). Boil for 10 minutes, strain and add honey to taste.

• Lemon balm leaves

• Chamomile flowers

• Valerian root, crushed

• Ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

Fertility Tea

Drink one cup of fertility tea a day to help balance your hormones and to get nutrients that can aid in becoming pregnant. Combine the herbs in equal proportion, boil for 10 minutes, strain and add honey to taste.

• Red clover blossoms (nourishes the uterus, promotes estrogen, rich in magnesium and calcium)

• Nettle leaves (rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulfur)

• Red raspberry leaves (rich in minerals, tonifies genitourinary system)

• Peppermint (aids digestion)

Cleansing Tea

The herbs in this tea will improve your digestion, help your body in its natural detoxification process and give you more energy. Combine the herbs in any proportion (go easy on the cayenne), boil for 10 minutes, strain and add honey, if desired.

• Peppermint leaves

• Dandelion root

• Whole allspice berries

• Ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

• Licorice root, crushed

• Cayenne pepper

This article was published in the HERBAL REMEDIES™ #90 issue and reprinted with permission from The Homesteading Handbook: A Guide to Basics by Abigail R. Gehring. Skyhorse Publications; New York, NY; ©2011. To subscribe, click here.

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