These are the herbs you need to make your own tea blend. Once you're familiar with the flavors and properties, feel free to mix and match!

By Rosemary Gladstar and Tania Hannan
February 22, 2017
medicinal teas design
Credit: Sang An

The following herbs are well-known for their effectiveness, versatility, and safety. Together, they make a wonderful apothecary for any budding herbalist. As you'll begin to realize, most herbs are multitaskers; getting to know just a handful can open up a world of remedies. If you are pregnant or nursing, are taking medication, or have a chronic or serious condition, check with your health-care practitioner before using herbs medicinally.


Verbascum thapsus

Parts Used: Leaf, flower

Properties: Expectorant, astringent, demulcent (soothing), antispasmodic

Used For: Infections of the respiratory system, coughs, colds, congestion. Wound healing, and as a topical herb for infections. Mullein flowers infused in olive oil are used as drops to treat ear infections.

Flavor: Mild; blends well with other flavors


Glycyrrhiza glabra

Part Used: Root

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antiviral, demulcent (soothing)

Used For: Primary herb for adrenal support. Respiratory- and reproductive-system support.

Flavor: Very sweet. Blends well with other herbs; considered the "great harmonizer" in traditional Chinese medicine.

Safety Notes: Use only with supervision if you take heart medication or diuretics or have high blood pressure.


Zingiber officinale

Part Used: Root

Properties: Warming, decongestant, mild stimulant

Used For: Digestive problems, including motion sickness. Respiratory, circulatory, and reproductive problems. Often used as a catalyst herb in medicinal blends.

Flavor: Spicy-hot, pungent

Safety Notes: Avoid taking large doses if you are taking blood-thinning medication.


Angelica sinensis

Part Used: Root

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, antibiotic, antimicrobial, immune support

Used For: Nourishing tonic. Blood tonic. Reproductive tonic for women; useful for PMS and other menstrual difficulties.

Flavor: Sweet, pungent

Safety Note: Not recommended for use during menstruation.


Avena sativa, A. fatua

Part Used: Milky green tops of grain; stems (called oatstraw)

Properties: Antidepressant, nutritive, demulcent (soothing)

Used For: Prevention and treatment for nervous exhaustion, depression, decreased vitality. Adjunct therapy for nerve regeneration in MS and for neurological pain. Skin problems such as acne. Often used as a supportive herb in formulas.

Flavor: Sweet, soothing


Sambucus nigra

Part Used: Berries, flowers

Properties: Diaphoretic (increases sweating), diuretic, anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing

Used For: Colds and flus; syrup famous for sore throat. Skin problems.

Flavor: Berries are tart but delicious when sweetened. Flowers are mildly sweet.

Safety Note: Do not confuse with red elder (Sambucus racemosa),which is toxic.


Chamomilla recutita, C nobile

Part Used: Mainly flowers

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative (anti-gas), mild bitter, relaxant

Used For: Gentle nervous-system tonic; useful for stress. Digestive aid; useful for indigestion and "nervous stomach." Skin problems.

Flavor: Mildly bitter with sweet undertones

Safety Note: Can cause allergies in people allergic to plants of the same family

medicinal teas design
Credit: Sang An


Crataegus spp.

Part Used: Leaf, flower, berry

Properties: Bioflavonoid-rich, antioxidant, antidepressant

Used For: Cardiac problems; used as a cardiac tonic and for congestive heart failure. Enhances memory. Gentle remedy for depression; uplifts the spirits.

Flavor: Pleasantly fruity; both sweet and tart

Safety Note: Consult your health-care practitioner if you are taking heart medication.


Melissa officinalis

Part Used: Leaf, flower

Properties: Antispasmodic, antiviral, diaphoretic (increases sweating), antidepressant

Used For: Stress, anxiety, depression; is relaxing, calming, somewhat uplifting. Digestive aid for "nervous stomach."

Flavor: Sweet, aromatic; blends well with other herbs

Safety Note: Use only with supervision if you have thyroid dysfunction.


Cinnamomum verum, C. zeylanicum, C. spp.

Part Used: Bark

Properties: Warming, decongestive, carminative (anti-gas), stimulant, antiseptic, antiviral

Used For: Treating colds and coughs. Digestive problems. Often used as a catalyst herb in medicinal blends.

Flavor: Warming, pungent, sweet. Helps to blend the flavors of other herbs.


Vitex Agnus castus

Part Used: Berry

Properties: Hormonal regulator; stimulant and normalizer of pituitary-gland function; restores balance of estrogen and progesterone.

Used For: Women's hormonal imbalances, such as PMS, irregular menstrual cycle, symptoms of menopause, infertility, acne associated with menstrual cycle.

Flavor: Spicy-hot, warming


Mentha piperita

Part Used: Leaf and flower

Properties: Stimulant, carminative (anti-gas), antimicrobial, antibacterial, antispasmodic, cooling, flavonoid-rich

Used For: Migraines and headaches. Indigestion. Used in creams for muscle spasms.

Flavor: Minty, uplifting, highly aromatic


Achillea millefolium

Part Used: Leaf and flower

Properties: Astringent, diaphoretic (increases sweating), antispasmodic, fever-reducing

Used For: Wound healing; helps reduce internal and external bleeding. Helps lower blood pressure. Helps regulate menstrual cycle.

Flavor: Bitter

Safety Note: May trigger allergic reactions in those sensitive to ragweed.


Echinacea purpurea, E angustifolia

Part Used: Root, leaf, flower, seed

Properties: Immune-enhancing, antimicrobial, antibacterial, wound healing, antibiotic

Used For: Prevention and treatment of respiratory infections. Treats toothaches, insect bites, topical wounds.

Flavor: Sweet, bitter, tingling

Safety Note: People allergic to the family may develop a rash. Those with auto-immune disorders should consult their health-care practitioner.


Urtica dioica. U. urens, U. pilulifer

Part Used: Mostly leaf

Properties: Anti-allergenic, anti-arthritic, mild diuretic, galatagogue (increases breast milk), nutritive

Used For: Famous tonic herb: supports liver health; supports reproductive system; increases iron levels. Root used for benign prostate hypertrophy.

Flavor: Rich "green" flavor

Safety Note: Fresh nettle has a nasty sting; harvest only with gloves.


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