Lemon Balm, Catnip and Mint are my favorites for herbal tea.
They taste great and have medicinal properties that are quite useful, in addition to being decorative as plants.
To grow your own, you’ll need some pots. You can use store bought pots, coffee cans with holes poked in the bottom, or even a plastic dish. If it’s a container that holds some amount of moisture, it could work. You can be creative.
The soil I usually use is just simple African Violet dirt. It doesn’t need to be an expensive brand.
You can start with seeds and follow the directions on the package or start with greenhouse plants.
Either way, you want to let them dry slightly between waterings, and water regularly thereafter.
After a while, you’ll get to know what your plants like and how often to water them.
The great thing with growing your own is that it can be as natural and organic as you make it.
Lemon Balm likes a lot of sunlight and can go outside in the ground in the warm months, or out on a patio.
Indoors it’s great to have a south-facing window, or east, to get as much sunlight as possible.
The same goes for the Catnip and Mint.
Lemon Balm is also known as “Melissa” and has many medicinal uses,
ranging from toothaches to upset stomach and allergies.
It is believed that lemon balm has calming effects, and can be taken for for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness.
It’s a personal favorite of mine and I believe it has quite a significant effect on peace of mind and mood.
Lemon balm is also used to lend a helping hand for Alzheimer’s disease,
attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), swollen airways, (potential for easing asthma symptoms)
rapid heartbeat caused by nervousness, and insect bites.
It’s a versatile plant to say the least!
It does have a lemony flavor and you can use more or less according to your own personal taste.
You can add a few drops of lemon juice, or a handful of blueberries to your tea as well for added flavor.
It’s a great herb for helping you get to sleep. It really helps with insomnia. It also drives away mosquitoes.
I’d caution anyone with a cat on this one, because cats love it and will go to great lengths to smash it out of a windowsill and roll in it.
Not much will stop a determined cat after a plant.
Like the Lemon Balm you can add more or less according to your tastes, but it isn’t as tasty… On the other hand, if you use it as a sleep aid, you can probably suffer the taste more easily. It helps calm people enough to get into a deep sleep and dispels nervousness and general icky feelings.
I’ve used it a lot and I can say it works for me.
I prefer spearmint to peppermint because it has a slightly different, more intense flavor. It calms the stomach and tastes great. you can mix it with catnip or lemon balm to make your own blends.
It can be used in baking as well. One drink I like to make in the summer is this:
Add about a cup of frozen red grapes to a blender, add some water to facilitate blending… give it a whirl…
Take two or so cups of ice, throw that in, crush the ice up… add water as needed so everything doesn’t get stuck.
Take 2-3 sprigs of Spearmint or Peppermint, put that in, blend it up and you’re done.
It should be sweet enough from the red grapes, and very flavorful with the mint.
You can serve it in Mason Jars with a straw. It’s like a low calorie natural slush.
It’s very refreshing, and super simple!
When you harvest your leaves for tea, you can snip off individual leaves with scissors or pinch them off with a fingernail, making sure to only take the lower bigger leaves, or the first few leaves at the top of the plants. There’s no need to dry them first. Fresh leaves make great tea, but on the other hand, if gardening just isn’t for you, there are lots of stores that sell these dried herbs. 2-3 Teaspoons to a pot should be enough for dried teas.
Mix and match all three.
You can experiment as you go.