As the weather changes, it’s feeling like the right time to bring out some special packages that I have been busy packing and sealing all season long. Since starting the Urban Acre Homestead last year, I’ve been eager to grow, dry and sell my own herbal teas. Many medicinal (and flavorful) herbs grow easily in this climate and some can serve multiple functions on the farm: as cover crops, forage for the duck flock, or food for pollinating insects. Grown without synthetic chemicals, my herbal teas contain no caffeine and host a variety of beneficial properties. Below are some brief medicinal and tasting notes for this season’s tea offerings:
- Crimson Clover: light, fruity taste that pairs well with honey (bees think so too). Regarded as a general liver tonic and also a common ingredient in herbal cough drops.
- Mint: A popular herb whose flavor is its namesake. Calming to the stomach and mind, and the most commonly used ingredient in herbal tea mixtures. Different mint varieties make up the myriad of flavor profiles.
- Chamomile: Floral, often reminding people of pineapple/fruity flavors. Similar benefits as mint (to which it is related), while also easing the nerves. A traditional bedtime tea.
- Blackberry Leaves: The undervalued part of a very popular plant. Mine come from a thornless variety. A slightly bitter an astringent herb that can combat the effects of diarrhea, and act as an internal tonic/healer. Has a drying effect if used in excess.
- St. Johns Wort: Floral taste and bright color; sunshine in a cup! A common field weed but a well respected anti-depressant. Can be made into a tincture for even more potency, or a salve for topical benefits.
- Feverfew: Similar in appearance and taste to chamomile but slightly less fruity. Also viewed as a general internal tonic, but has the highest reputation as a cumulative treatment for migraines.
- Lemon Balm: Very aromatic herb with a lemony/minty taste and a smell reminiscent of citronella. Similar benefits as other mint-family members, acting as a calming tonic for the stomach and the mind. Many historical attributes, including long life!
- Catnip/Catmint: Yes, you can drink this! Another beloved member of the mint family, and a common ingredient in sleepy-time tea for children. A similar flavor to other mints and excellent when blended with them to make your own special brew.
NOTE: All herbal teas are single ingredient packages, but if you like tea as much as I do, you are encouraged to experiment with blending them together. Try pairing all the mint cousins (catnip, mint and chamomile) for bedtime, or beebalm and St. Johns wort for some internal sunshine when the blues settle in.
You may know this, but most herbal medicine statements are not backed by the FDA. You are advised to consult your medical guru before adding herbal teas to your menu, especially if you are pregnant or taking medications.