I love tea.

Wrapping chilly fingers around a hot, steamy cup of herbal goodness on these dark, drizzly Pacific Northwest winter days… a good cup of tea can go a long way to lift one’s spirits and warm one’s soul.

The vaporous steam that is so soothing to breathe in as the healing infusion washes over a sore throat or soothes a nagging cough.

A nice cup of something before bed to slow the day down and signify to the senses that it is time to bring this day to close, time for sleep. Chamomile is common, but my favorite has become a mix containing hops and lemon balm.

herbal tea
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I thought I loved tea before. Then we started harvesting and drying our own, experimenting with our own blends. We are hooked. 

I don’t know why I was so shocked at the vibrancy and flavor of the homegrown herbal tea compared to store bought. Is there anything that does not taste better from the garden?

These last few years we’ve been establishing the medicinal garden and learning to use it. Now that we have sampled these homegrown teas, we want to continue to expand in this area, harvesting and preserving lots more and continuing to develop our own blends.

Growing your own herbs for tea is really not that hard. It is really just a matter of habit and mindset. We grow other things that are good for us, so why not? I bet you even have some of these in your garden (or weed patch) already.

PNW Medicinal Tea Garden - 14 medicinal plants for herbal tea in the PNW garden - PNWfromScratch_13
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So what grows in our PNW medicinal tea herb garden?

Well, thank you for asking! I’d love to share with you. 😉

This list, of course, is just the beginning – a growing list of the medicinal plants in our PNW garden that we like, or plan to try, in healing herbal teas and just a little about them. Eventually, I would love to have a plant profile on each one of these. But that is going to take time. For now, here is a sneak peek.

MEDICINAL HERBS for TEA that you will find GROWING in our PNW GARDEN

in no particular order…

MINT… of all kinds. Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, Moroccan mint, mint mojito – bring on the mint. But especially peppermint. It is the most medicinally potent. I like to grow these in tubs to contain their wanderings. I’ve battled plenty of runaway mint in my day and would like to minimize that in the future, but I cannot do without this herb. Mint is invigorating, uplifting, and energizing. It is stimulating and increases concentration. Mint also helps aid digestion.

CHAMOMILEroman and german. Did you know there were two kinds of chamomile? I didn’t until I began my herbalist learning endeavors. German chamomile is good for tension, irritation, and digestive problems, especially emotionally related digestive problems. It seems like I read somewhere that roman chamomile is good for PMS and menstrual cramps… hmm… where did I see that?

ECHINACEA is one of my favorites. Not only is echinacea an amazing healing herb for boosting the immune system, it is gorgeous in the garden. I do miss our Montana days, going on cross-country walkabouts and seeing the brown dried seedheads of the wild echinacea held up across the rangeland. Now I grow it in my garden. A slightly different variety, this one has a bit more color to it than the wild cousin.

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purple coneflower echinacea growing alongside rhubarb

SAGE, purple sage, pineapple sage, hummingbird sage. There are about 500 species of sage or Salvia in all. I have three or four growing in the garden now, but I look forward to adding more. Sage is good for sore throats, poor digestion, irregular menstruation, and a gently stimulating tonic. I plan to make a cold care herbal tea blend using pineapple sage, some echinacea, and hmmm, what else? Check out this recipe for Sage & Echinacea Chicken Soup.

ANISE HYSSOP. I haven’t tried this one in tea yet. The deer beat me to it, this year. Anise hyssop is reported to have a licorice-like flavor and is good for all kinds of respiratory issues. This one might be nice in that cold care tea blend I am working on.

LAMB’S EAR, while not super medicinal, it is quite tasty and safe for use in tea and culinary recipes. The wooly, silver foliage that grows in many of our gardens has two medicinally touted cousins, Wooly Betony (Stachys officinalis) and Woundwort (Stachys palustrus). Many believe that it is likely that Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) shares some of these medicinal qualities but there is not research to support that opinion that I have found. In the meantime, there is enough to support that it is perfectly safe to consume, and it is very tasty in tea. So I will be enjoying it.

PNW Medicinal Tea Garden - 14 medicinal plants for herbal tea in the PNW garden - PNWfromScratch_4
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lamb’s ear

CALENDULA FLOWER is not a challenge to grow. Sow seed and it blooms and blooms until the freeze eventually kills it. Any flower heads that were left to scatter their seed will pop up next spring for another round of bright orange flowers. I pluck the flower heads and use them for all kind of medicinal purposes. In tea it is good for the heart, digestive stress and inflammation, helps with menopause, regulates menstruation, improves circulation and detoxifies the lymph system. I could go on. This is a wonder herb that will always have a place in my medicinal garden.

LAVENDER BUDS are a favorite. Who doesn’t love lavender? Have you tried it in tea? Mildly floral and so many healthful benefits. What is it not good for? Lavender soothes anxiety and tension. The tea is said to be particularly tuned to the brain to relieve stress, headaches, anxiety, depression, mood swings, dizziness, and fainting. It is steadying and invigorating. Lavender also makes a lovely facial steam treatment, so pull that cup up to your nose for a double whammy ;). Lavender is also great for when you aren’t feeling so well. It can help bring down a fever, induce sweating to expel toxins, soothe a sore throat, and so much more. Seriously, lavender has a lot going for it. I love this herb. If I had a hippie name, it would be Lavender.

PNW Medicinal Tea Garden - 14 medicinal plants for herbal tea in the PNW garden - PNWfromScratch_15
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ROSEMARY is for more than just roasts. This is one herb I wasn’t familiar with using in tea until recently. It can be overpowering and so is nice added to a blend as a background note.  Even so, it adds a nice complexity to your tea, and it is, of course, seriously good for you. Rosemary is particularly good for the heart and mind. It increases circulation and concentration. It also fights bacterial infection, is very relaxing for the nervous system, is an excellent drink for those in recovery from illness or suffering from respiratory troubles. Rosemary is antiseptic, antioxidant, an expectorant and decongestant, a circulatory and digestive tonic, astringent, relaxant, antidepressant, and more. Try a little in your tea, see what you think.

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RASPBERRY LEAF. Yes, you can get more than just fruit from that raspberry patch out back. Did you know raspberry leaf is good for women’s health, diarrhea, canker sores, the kidneys, the urinary tract, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals to boot?

CLOVER is a gentle base for a tea blend and is great for women’s health. It adds a light, sweet flavor along with its medicinal benefits. Red clover is used for cancer prevention, indigestion, cough, PMS, and more. Research is being done as to its effectiveness in supporting healthy menopause. Next time you see clover in bloom, pluck off those flower tops, dry them in a dark place, and toss them into a tea blend. The bees will be happy to share. 😉

LEMON BALM. When we first moved to this property, lemon balm had taken over a good chunk of the ‘garden’. I spent day after day (and went thru many sets of gloves) on my hands and knees pulling and fighting that tenacious herb. I finally weeded the patch into submission and then learned about this herb’s remarkable medicinal properties. Now I kind of wish I had that big nice patch back. Lemon balm is particularly good for the nervous system. It is also a good digestive stimulant and antidepressant. Lemon balm is a happy herb… let it help you be happy.

HOPS are monsters. We have four crowns from which the long tendrilous bines emerge in the spring and swiftly grow their way up over our second story deck reaching high to the peak and attempting to overtake the house. These take a little tending to keep them from getting out of control but the effort is worth it. Just don’t plant these where they can take over, they will. We started growing hops for the beer, but I think we use more in tea. Excellent for a ‘knock out’ blend just before bed, hops are highly sedative. A note, not all hops varieties make a nice tea. There are bittering hops and flavoring hops. Try different varieties, and play with different amounts in your tea blend. It doesn’t take much.

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DANDELION, last but not least. My perspective of ‘weeds’ around the homestead is changing. Yes, I still pull the dandelions. No, I don’t let them go to seed {if I can help it}. But if I see one growing in the garden, I leave it. I use the leaves for salad, and we are starting to use the leaves and root for tea, too. Dandelion root works on the liver and has a great detoxifying effect especially on the joints. The leaves are good for anemia, digestion, constipation, and water retention.

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purple sage growing with lemon thyme, chives, and Cuban oregano

Well, that is a good start. This list will grow and hopefully, as I have time to put them together, become a hub for links to plant profiles on each one of these useful medicinal plants, how to grow them, when and how to harvest, preserve, and use them, too.

These are just a few the things that are growing in our Pacific Northwest medicinal herb garden. Soon to come is a post on the wild medicinals all around us that we are exploring in teas and other fun concoctions.

Have you ever thought of using things like cedar tips, madrona bark, evergreen huck leaf, juniper berries, Oregon grape, devils club, sheep sorrel, horsetail herb {and the list goes on, and on} in an herbal tea? Yeah, neither did we. Until rather recently. We love nature and plants. Just out of curiosity, we love to learn about what is around us. We will often look up an interesting plant to find that all along we have had a wild pharmacy at our fingertips. We just have to learn how to use. There is hardly anything out there that doesn’t have some kind of value to us physically.

I could go on. I love this stuff! If you find it interesting too, click on that link over there to follow by email and be sure to like the facebook page, too. Join the conversation!

What did I miss? What grows around your homestead that you use, or could use, to make your own herbal tea? Are you inspired to try something new? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

PNW Medicinal Tea Garden - 14 medicinal plants for herbal tea that you can grow!
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References:

Zak, Victoria. 20,000 Secrets of Tea: The Most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature’s Healing Herbs. New York, NY: Dell, 1999. Print.

Chevallier, Andrew. Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York: DK Pub., 2000. Print.

Keville, Kathi, and Roman Szolkowski. Herbs, an Illustrated Encyclopedia: A Complete Culinary, Cosmetic, Medicinal and Ornamental Guide. Leicester: Magna, 1995. Print.

Lovable Lamb’s Ears Plant.” Mother Earth Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products – product information pages

Disclaimer: This information is for research and educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Do your research.


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