Homemade herbal tea from herbs, spices, flowers + other everyday things

— Words and recipe extracted from Every Day by Emma Galloway

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I’m a total herb tea fanatic and, if you were to peep into my kitchen on any given day, you’ll see numerous tea pots and cups filled with different combinations of herbs, spices and flowers, many of which I’ve grown myself. The first thing I do most mornings is put on the jug to boil. I then select herb teas, which I leave to brew until cold, sipping on these throughout the day. I also make numerous cups of herb tea throughout the day to drink warm. As someone who constantly has cold hands, I appreciate the warmth teas bring, especially over the cooler months.

Making infusions of spices is an ancient Ayurvedic practice and, depending on which spices you use, they’ll have different beneficial effects on the body, whether cooling, heating or aiding digestion – as in the famous Ayurvedic combination of cumin, coriander and fennel. When making tea from spices, it can help to simmer the seeds in water for 8–10 minutes, before straining and drinking either warm or  at room temperature. But you can also simply place a teaspoon or two in a tea pot and cover  with boiling water, allowing to brew for  5 minutes or more before drinking.

I’ve learned about the healing benefits of herb  teas from a lifetime of acquiring knowledge,  experimenting and observing. I’m obsessed with  the healing properties of plants, as much as I  am with their flavour, and I urge you to research  the health benefits of spices, herbs and flowers yourself to understand them more fully.

  • Taken 20 minutes after a meal, fennel seed tea can be just the thing to support and ease digestion. It’s an especially good tea to drink when you’ve eaten something that doesn’t quite agree with your tummy.
  • If I’m ever feeling the first signs of a sore throat, I’ll reach for fresh thyme sprigs from the garden to make tea.
  • Tea made from dried hibiscus flowers  (available from health food stores and online)  provide a good dose of vitamin C, and is also  high in Iron, which is great news for vegans  and vegetarians.
  • Calendula flowers (both fresh and dried)  are used in tea for their anti-inflammatory  and antimicrobial properties; perfect when  fighting off a cold or after a meal.
  • Chamomile is a favourite before-bed  brew, but did you know the leaves from  lemongrass, lemon verbena and lemon balm  also provide a little peace and calm?
  • As well as fennel seeds, cumin and coriander,  other herbs and spices that can support and  ease digestion include peppermint (which is  super easy to grow yourself!) and cardamom.
  • If you’ve succumbed to a cold, the age-old  combination of fresh lemon juice, freshly  grated ginger + honey can be further boosted  by a little freshly grated turmeric (or ground  turmeric) + freshly ground black pepper. Add  a few lemon verbena leaves, if you have them,  for added cold-fighting properties.
  • Gotu kola and rosemary are said to aid brain  function, which is why I like to drink my Nettle  Infusion (page 130) spiked with these herbs  first thing in the morning.
  • The oils found in citrus zest are great mood  lifters, so I always make sure to save them  when eating the flesh of oranges and lemons  (see page 15), so I can add them to tea.

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By Emma Galloway, Every Day

To make herbal tea, select your spices, herbs  or flowers, and place into a tea pot. Cover with boiling water and allow to brew for 5 minutes, before drinking warm or at room temperature. You can make tea as strong or as weak as you like, by adding more or less spices/herbs/ flowers, so experiment to decide the strength you like best. For a rough guide, use 1 teaspoon herbs/spices/flowers per 250ml (1 cup) boiling water.


Morning wake-up tea

Peppermint + lemon verbena + lemon zest

After-dinner digestive tea

Fennel seed + bruised cardamom pod + dried  calendula flowers

Sleep well tea

Lemon balm + lemongrass + chamomile

Brain tea

Rosemary + gotu kola + lemon zest

Sore throat tea

Hibiscus + thyme + lemon zest + kawakawa

Sniffles tea

Lemon juice + freshly grated ginger + freshly  grated turmeric (or ground turmeric) + freshly  ground black pepper + honey to taste (Maˉnuka  honey is ideal to use with its added antibacterial  properties; wait until ready to drink before  adding it, to preserve its goodness).

Words and recipes have extracted from Every Day by Emma Galloway

(Published by HarperCollins NZ. RRP $60.)

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