The Herbal Tea Garden

The Herbal Tea Garden

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The Herbal Tea Garden

Did you know we can grow a surprisingly large number of plants commonly used in herbal teas, right here in our own backyards?! It’s true. Some of them have to be grown as annuals, but some are also prairie hardy perennials, shrubs, and even trees. There are a number of great reasons to grow your own herbal tea garden! First, it is a great way to ensure an abundance of organically grown herbs that can easily be harvested, dried, and stored for years to come at pennies on the dollar. Second, you’ll have your own apothecary to mix and match different herbals to make the perfect cup of tea, whatever your need. Whether you’d like a medicinal brew to help you fight off that nasty cold or a pleasant cup to calm your mind on a restless night, having your own herbals on hand is super… well, handy!

 

Feature Plants

Annuals are herbaceous plants that will not survive our harsh Alberta winters and will need to be replanted in the spring. Many of our most used herbals will only grow as an annual in our area.

 

Perennials are herbaceous plants that are hardy to zone 3 and will return when the warm weather returns. We have a few perennials which can be harvested for their numerous health benefits.

 

Wild Perennials are herbaceous plants that grow natively across our Alberta landscape. These plants will likely find their way into your garden rather than be intentionally planted. However, some have amazing health benefits and many herbalists welcome their appearance.

 

Shrubs are woody multi-stemmed larger plants that are hardy in our area. Many shrubs produce flowers and berries, some of which can be used in teas.

 

Trees… we all know what a tree is lol. We also have a couple of trees, outside of fruit trees, which produce flowers and berries that can be used in teas.

 

 

Safety First!

Correct Identification: As with all plants, it is crucial to be sure of the correct identification before consuming any plant. A plant can be toxic and sometimes deadly if it is consumed when it has been misidentified for a similar-looking species.

 

Chemical Free: Plants absorb chemicals from their surrounding environment. Be sure to avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals in your garden. Consider using organic growing methods that are chemical-free when growing plants for consumption.

 

Moderation: Herbal plants are often rich in nutrients and offer amazing benefits to our health. But even too much of a good thing can be harmful to our health. It is always best to be well-read on the specific plants you intend to consume. Know how much and how often it is safe to consume. Know if it is known to have interactions with certain medications or should be avoided if certain medical conditions exist. If you are unsure, seek out the help of a health care practitioner or a well-trained herbalist.

 

This blog is meant as an educational and informational resource. While we strive for accuracy, the information provided in this blog is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Please consult your medical practitioner or herbalist before using any plants especially if you take any prescription medications, have a pre-existing condition, allergies, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Kiwi Nurseries Ltd. and the author of this blog do not accept any liability or responsibility for any consequences caused by consuming or using any plants.

Annuals

Borage

Borago officinalis

 

Parts Used: Flowers and leaves

Taste: Pleasant cucumber-like taste

Uses: Calms the nervous system and promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use borage in excess or for prolonged periods of time. Borage may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause or worsen liver disease. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Calendula

Calendula officinalis

 

Parts Used: Flower

Taste: Mild, slightly bitter

Uses: Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family (Asteraceae). Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Fennel

Foeniculum vulgare

 

Parts Used: Leaves, seeds, and bulb

Taste: Sweet and herbal, with a distinct taste of anise

Uses: Promotes healthy digestion

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the parsley (Apiaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Licorice

Glycyrrhiza glabra

 

Parts Used: Root

Taste: Sweet and earthy

Uses: A natural sweetener that promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the legume (Fabaceae) family. People with high blood pressure, heart disease, or impaired kidney or liver function should NOT consume Licorice. Licorice is considered safe for short-term use, DO NOT use for longer than 2 weeks. Consult a health care practitioner if you have low potassium levels or if you are taking diuretics, corticosteroids, cardiac glycosides, or other potassium-depleting medications. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

German Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla

 

Parts Used: Flower

Taste: Floral and fragrant

Uses: Calms the nervous system and supports healthy digestion

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family (Asteraceae). Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

 

Parts Used: Leaves

Taste: Mild, with subtle citrus notes

Uses: Calms the nervous system and aids in digestion

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. May cause drowsiness. Use caution when driving or involved in activities that require mental alertness. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Sage

Salvia officinalis

 

Parts Used: Leaves

Taste: Fragrant, earthy, and refreshing with a hint of mint taste

Uses: Anti-inflammatory and promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Stevia

Stevia rebaudiana

 

Parts Used: Leaves

Taste: Sweet

Uses: A natural sweetener that promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Perennials

Purple Cone Flower

Echinacea

 

Parts Used: Flowers, leaves, and root

Taste: Earthy and floral

Uses: Boost immune system

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. People with autoimmune disorders or who take immunosuppressive drugs should NOT consume Echinacea. Echinacea is considered safe for short-term use, DO NOT use for longer than 2 weeks. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Munstead Lavender

Lavandula ang. ‘Munstead’

 

Parts Used: Flowers

Taste: Fragrant and floral

Uses: Calms the nervous system and improves mood & sleep quality

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

NOTE: Depending on the variety of Lavender it may be grown as a perennial or as an annual. Most varieties are only hardy to zone 4 or 5. Munstead can be grown as a perennial in zone 3.

Mint

Mentha

 

Parts Used: Leaves

Taste: Fragrant and cooling

Uses: A natural sweetener that promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

NOTE: There are many subspecies of mint each with its own unique flavour profile, many make great teas, including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, orange mint, lemon mint, apple mint, berries and cream mint, strawberry mint, and several more.

 

NOTE: Depending on the variety of Mint it may be grown as a perennial or as an annual.

Bee Balm

Monarda

 

Parts Used: Flower petals

Taste: Citrus or spicy depending on the variety

Uses: Adds flavour and promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Wild Perennials

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

 

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and roots

Taste: Leaves and flowers are earthy, but can be bitter as the plant matures. The root can be roasted to have a taste similar to coffee.

Uses: Promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

NOTE: Dandelion root is often used as a herbal substitute for coffee.

Red Clover

Trifolium pratense

 

Parts Used: Flowers

Taste: Subtle, earthy, and slightly sweet

Uses: Promotes overall health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the legume (Fabaceae) family. Red Clover contains phytoestrogens, consult a health care practitioner if you have a hormone disorder or take medications to treat hormone imbalances. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Stinging Nettle

Urtica dioica

 

Parts Used: Leaves

Taste: Earthy

Uses: Anti-Inflammatory that promotes overall health, especially in women

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the legume (Urticaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Shrubs

Currant

Ribes

 

Parts Used: Leaves and berries

Taste: Fresh and earthy with a slight tart fruity flavour

Uses: Anti-Inflammatory that promotes overall health and boosts the immune system with high levels of Vitamin C

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the Grossulariaceae family. Consult a health care practitioner if you have low blood pressure or bleeding disorders. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Rose

Rosa

 

Parts Used: Flower petals and hips

Taste: Flowers are floral and fragrant. Hips are fragrant and fruity.

Uses: Anti-Inflammatory that promotes overall health and boosts the immune system with high levels of Vitamin C

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the rose (Rosaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Raspberry

Rubus idaeus

 

Parts Used: Leaves

Taste: Full body with earthy

Uses: Anti-Inflammatory that promotes overall health, especially in pregnacy

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the rose (Rosaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Elderberry

Sambucus nigra

 

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers and berries

Taste: Sweet and tart

Uses: Antioxidant and immune system booster

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the Adoxaceae family. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

NOTE: Uncooked leaves, stems, and berries can be unsafe to consume.

Trees

Hawthorn

Crataegus

 

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and berries

Taste: Earthy and fruity

Uses: Antioxidant and improves heart health

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the rose (Rosaceae) family. Consult a health care practitioner if you have a heart condition or take medications for a heart condition, including blood pressure medications. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Linden

Tilla

 

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and wood

Taste: Refreshing with a hint of lemony citrus

Uses: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Precautions: DO NOT use if you are allergic to plants in the Malvaceae family. It may cause drowsiness. Linden is considered safe for short-term use only, DO NOT consume for more than 2 weeks. Consult a health care practitioner if you have a heart condition or take medications for a heart condition, including blood pressure medications. Consult a health care practitioner if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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