15 Herbs You Should Try Blending for Your Next Cup of Tea
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
4. DONG QUAI
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
6. BLUE ELDER
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
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.
9. LEMON BALM
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.
11. VITEX (CHASTE TREE)
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
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
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.
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.
15. NETTLE URENS
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.