Herbal teas hero image
A nice cup of tea is, and always has been, an important part of many people’s daily routine and fresh herbal teas are a flavoursome and healthy alternative to regular tea. This guide looks at how we can make our own herbal teas and the benefits different herbal teas offer.

Herbal teas are one of the simplest and oldest ways of including herbs in our daily diet and enjoying their therapeutic benefits. Herbal teas can be delicious, refreshing and a great way to stay hydrated while sneaking in a few beneficial micro-nutrients and phytochemicals. Herbal teas are more accurately called infusions or tisanes as ‘true’ tea is made using the leaves of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis.

  • Herbal tea is a great way for both children and adults to stay hydrated and drink more water
  • Growing and harvesting your own herbs before making your herbal teas make this activity very rewarding
  • There are many health and wellbeing benefits to drinking different herbal teas – see the Examples section for more information
  • You don’t need a garden to grow herbs – they grow just as easily on a windowsill
  • Making herbal tea is a fun activity to do with the children and will help to improve their knowledge of what different herbs look, smell, feel and taste like
  • Children can make DIY containers to grow the herbs in
  • Encourage them to try different herbal teas by getting them to rank them and decide which one is their favourite
Herbal teas pots of herbs
  • A variety of fresh herbs from the garden or the supermarket
  • Several cafetières (and/or glass tissanières/herbal tea pots if you have them)
  • Scissors
  • Boiling water
  • Polystyrene cups (or other type of cup - several for each person)
  • Marker pen
  • Pens and paper (optional)

Step 1

Take a good bunch of each herb and ‘scrunch’ the leaves a little to release their essential oils.

Step 2

Put the bunches into different tissanières or cafetières and cover with boiling water.

Step 3

Let the herb leaves stew for five to 10 minutes. Keep the lids on the pots to prevent the oils from evaporating in the steam.

Step 4

Give each person several polystyrene cups e.g., three cups if you have three different herbal teas to taste. Label the cups ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.

Step 5

Distribute the teas to each person. The teas will stay hot in the polystyrene cups to allow time for tasting and discussion.

Step 6

Rate each tea for e.g., aroma, taste, aftertaste and whether the tea could be a pleasant alternative to water, tea, or coffee. Use a scale from one to five.

Step 7

Compare the scores for each herbal tea and decide the favourite, or put them in rank order.

Herbal teas cafetiere
  • If you don’t have herbs growing in your garden, fresh herbs are available all year round from supermarkets
  • Mint (e.g., Morrocan mint, Peppermint, Spearmint): Fresh and aromatic. Spearmint has a stronger taste than peppermint.
    • Properties: Refreshing – especially after a meal. Helps against sickness, gastroenteritis, colds and gall bladder problems.
  • Lemon Verbena: Lemony, light and refreshing. Plant grows slowly.
    • Properties: Protects against muscle damage after exercise, reduces inflammation, helps the immune system, relieves stomach issues and reduces fevers and anxiety. Good to drink before going to sleep.
  • Lemon balm: A good alternative to and has a similar taste to lemon verbena. Plant grows prolifically.
    • Properties: Helps digestion and aids relaxation,
  • Rosemary*: Robust taste, strongly aromatic. Wait for the aftertaste.
    • Properties: Helps with digestion and analgesia (pain relief) including headaches.
  • Camomile: Slightly aromatic
    • Properties: Eases muscle tension and helps with stress and headaches.
  • Thyme: A robust flavour
    • Properties: Helps with stomach disorders and is full of anti-oxidants / vitamins e.g. Vitamins A, B C, E and K

*If you use rosemary, use one 5cm sprig per person as this tea has a robust flavour.

Note: If you are thinking of using sage tea, please read up about it first. In small concentrations it may have some benefits but it can be toxic if taken in larger amounts because of the chemicals it contains.

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