Good Herbs to Add to Tea

shadowfox306(8a)February 3, 2014

I have picked up seed packets for chamomile and lavender to grow indoors and was planning on making an herbal tea blend with them. I was wondering is there anything else I could/should add for a relaxation tea to help me sleep? Since there is still snow on the ground, it is limited on what I can get right now, but I did see lemon balm seeds. Is that another good one to add? I want something simple to grow because I have depression and anxiety issues so I tend to lose interest after awhile.

I was also wondering if I have the right variety of lavender for what I want to do or if it matters and lavender is lavender is lavender. I didn't see any English lavender so I grabbed lady lavender since I am going to be growing it in a pot. Should I also grab the other kind when it becomes available?

This post was edited by shadowfox306 on Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 2:55

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Although your enthusiasm is great, I think you are jumping the gun a little here, especially as you are looking for simplicity and short term results. Roman Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile, and Lavender are perennials which will grow and bloom year after year for you in the garden but which are not at all well suited to growing indoors. Lemon Balm is also perennial and will make a large, hardy clump outside but wil languish inside. German Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, is an annual.

So I think that in order to avoid being disappointed it would be better to buy yourself some dried herbs for using now and then obtain plants later in the season to grow outdoors and get you started. I would certainly try growing the seeds but it would not be a good idea to rely on them solely for your harvest. If you want to make tea any time before Autumn 2014 seeds are not the way to go.

BTW I don't know what 'Lady Lavender' is. The nearest I could find on the net was Lavandula 'Lady' which is a cultivar of Lavandula angustifolia i.e. English Lavender.So no, you wouldn't need to buy English Lavender as well.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 5:11AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Getting out in the garden in the sun and fresh air with some good physical activity will help you to sleep, relax, and find cheer. Many find therapy and solace in the sanctuary of their gardens so I do hope you stick with it.

Get some pre-made, pre-bagged herbal teas and blends. What do you like the taste of? Do a little research and see if it will grow in your conditions, easy to grow, etc.

While seeds are nice, I often suggest plants for new gardeners. They remove the frustrations of seed starting and give some immediate results.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:59AM
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shadowfox306(8a)

I do plan on putting these outside as the weather clears. I usually grow from plants and would like to try the seed challenge but still want something that isn't impossible like cukes and bell peppers. I have tried from seeds before and found that I have trouble around the seedling stage.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:24PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I know couple:

1- Saint John's Wort
2- Lemon Balm

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:53AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

shadowfox306 - if you had trouble with cucumbers and peppers, then herbs will be a challenge too. If you also visit the Growing from Seed Forum you will find advice on growing healthy seedlings. Having said you have had trouble with seeds in the past makes me even more sure you need to start less ambitiously, as Fatamorgana and I have suggested.

My garden has certainly helped me get through some hard times, so I wish you luck.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 12:16PM
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igrowedibles

Most of the herbs I grow, I use in tea!
Firstly, herbs don't really thrive indoors. I've tried this too, no luck. I got a grow light this winter and have been using it to overwinter some plants indoors. Spearmint has done really well, but that's about it.
Lemon balm and lemon verbena are both excellent plants, for growing in general and for tea! But they're easier to start from cutting. I took several cuttings last season and had great results. They grew outdoors in pots, and in the ground. I still have one of each alive in small pots in my house right now. But they're sad, so I don't harvest from them.
I was also able to keep 2 peppermints alive indoors. These will do great in pots. Actually, never plant a mint in the ground- it takes over. Mints add a nice flavor to teas, they also aid in digestion. Another calming herb which is a member of the mint family- catnip.
Chamomile is an annual that will definitely take over a yard if you let it. It drops seeds everywhere and they come back the next spring. They grow happily in a container though, but they need to be outdoors. Only pick the *flowers* for tea.
Lavender is hard to grow. Most seeds aren't viable. You'll get a low germination rate. Try to get an already established plant from a garden supply store, or order one. They also don't tend to bloom until they are 2 years old. And they NEED sun. There are a zillion different varieties out there of lavender, I've heard hidcote recommended most for eating. But any variety you pick will do. The blooms grow on spikes, and there's not many of them for each plant. They'll grow in containers, but you might need several of them. You'll quickly lose interest in trying to make lavender happy, but worth a try. I have two english lavenders, and rubbing my fingers over the leaves releases the oils. Smells amazing. I also had a goodwin creek grey one year, and the blooms were fragrant + a nice dark purple.
St. John's Wort is a weed, so it grows really well! It also tastes mildly of honey. I've never grown it, but you should try it! Speaking of weeds- try self heal. I had some in my yard but I stupidly killed it. It doesn't have much flavor, but I hear it lives up to its name. And if you can get your hands on a hops vine, adding the buds to tea acts as a sedative. But watch out, the vines are sharp, they'll cut you. And I don't think they can be planted in containers. You have to have space for the vines to branch out + be a vine lover, as hops will quickly consume an entire wall or fence.
You can also add sage or rosemary to tea to enhance brain functioning. These will easily double as culinary herbs. I hear rosemary does okay indoors, but both of mine died when I brought them in. I had them in pots all season long, they did well.
Another nice tea herb is actually basil!
If you're adventurous, try growing passionflower. You can also get it dried. It's calming, but more mild than lavender or chamomile in its effects.
For now, you might want to just stick to dried herbs. Order them in bulk from Mountain Rose, this is what I do. Valerian is predominantly used for sleep and anxiety conditions, St. John's Wort for depression. Use lavender essential oil in a diffuser. Two other brain boosting herbs: gotu kola, gingko biloba (gotu is hard to get, but once it does it will live happily in a pot, however it spreads so beware, gingko is a tree and I don't think you want an entire tree so just get it dried)
I hope that helped!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:21AM
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thatcompostguy

Lemongrass is great in tea! I've had it in a pot since 2011. It is not frost hardy and it doesn't look great over the winter inside. But once it's back outside and had a good hair cut, it bounces back pretty quickly. I divided my two 12" pots into 4 pots last year and found that they probably need to either be divided each year, or at least root pruned each year. They filled the pot and consumed all the soil. I took a few shoots that dropped from the divisions and got them rooted inside and put them in the ground later and they each gave me about 50 new shoots apiece. I dug them before frost last fall and let them dry inside. I'll be cleaning them and separating them outside this fall as they are harder to clean after they dry. But I'll just grab a handful of the dry leaves (fronds?) now and toss in with any tea and they're fantastic! I'll be dividing/repotting again soon.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:32AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I enjoy rosemary tea. One thing I learned with herb teas, it make the water doesn't get brown like it does with regular tea. My favorite tea is stinging nettles tea. It doesn't even need sugar, IMO. Definitely a container plant and one you use gloves with. Basil and Holy Basil make nice flavored teas also. Holy Basil is supposed to be good for alot of things.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:36PM
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