Drink Your Herbs
Making teas out of your favorite herbs is a great way to gain an array of health benefits.
Health class teaches us how to organize our meals: healthy fats, proteins, veggies, fruits, etc. The Drink your Herbs series explores the side of nutrition that’s not always so easy to dive into! Drinking herbal teas once a day to once every few days can help us soothe an upset stomach, protect against inflammation, and so much more. Have a tea night with friends over zoom or make them for yourself as you relax after a long workday. Herbal teas can be found at the grocery store or you can find ways to make them at home with a few ingredients from the grocery store. As always, when it comes to herbs, check to make sure they don’t interfere with any medication you may be taking at the time!
We all love adding new herbs and spices to our meals, but those herbs can also be just as delicious and powerful through drinking them!
Ginger is the spicy root we all walk past at the grocery store but aren’t sure how to use it in our kitchens (at least I did).
I knew of ginger due to the ginger shot craze, drinking my ginger tea at night to ease my digestion, and recently as my secret ingredient in my morning smoothies. Ginger has great wellness properties, such as helping with inflammation and nausea, and might also help aid in the fight against certain cancers.
Drinking your ginger can improve digestion post-meals, help with any nausea caused by nerves or morning sickness, and the antioxidants in ginger may help improve your immune system and reduce stress. Ginger tea can also be found at most supermarkets, but if you want a strong dose of the spicy ginger flavor, making it at home can be most fulfilling.
Ginger Tea Recipe
- Wash and peel your ginger root.
- Thinly slice six to eight pieces of ginger. The more slices the stronger and spicier your tea will be.
- Fill a medium pot with 2 cups of water.
- Put ginger in the water and put the stove on a low setting for 20-30 minutes. The water will come to a boil while the tea steeps and the longer the tea is left to steep the stronger the taste of the tea will be.
- Remove from heat when it is to taste and strain out the ginger slices.
- Add lemon or honey to taste!
When I moved away for college and began eating dining hall food, I began to drink peppermint tea as a ritual before bed. It helped calm my stomach and my nerves and felt refreshing before bed.
Peppermint tea is great for your gut as it helps with bloating to relieve digestive problems. It also has antibacterial properties that help kill germs that cause dental plaque, which may benefit your breath too!
Peppermint has also been studied as a potential way to help relieve headaches and muscle pain!
A new nightly ritual with herbal tea can benefit you in many ways but do know that one cup is not a fix-all. Usually, the benefits of herb teas can be seen after you make drinking them a habit.
Peppermint Tea Recipe
- If you have a mint plant or just like making your tea from scratch, this recipe is for you!
- Boil 2 cups of water.
- Add 15 to 20 fresh mint leaves. The more leaves, the stronger the taste!
- Some recommend rubbing the leaves in your palms before adding to the water
- Turn off the heat, and let steep for 15 minutes
- Strain leaves and pour yourself a cup.
- Sometimes I like to add some lemon for a burst of vitamin C!
I love creating a Golden Milk Latte now and again (recipe for this included too) but when I’m not feeling like a rich nighttime beverage, I love making fresh turmeric tea instead. Turmeric contains antioxidants which are great anti-inflammatory and often help with some autoimmune disease symptoms.
Do be wary of the yellow color though as it stains clothes. You can find great teas at the market that contain Turmeric in them, but if you want to make yours at home, look no further!
Turmeric Tea Recipe
- Boil 4 cups of water.
- Add 2 teaspoons of ground, grated, or powdered turmeric. You can buy it powdered at a health food store or can ground the root yourself for your tea.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 15 minutes. I like it to steep for 2 minutes longer to get a stronger flavor but if you like your teas more mild taste it at ten minutes too.
- Strain the tea into a cup and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before drinking.
- Add black pepper for spice, honey for sweetness, or lemon for some vitamin C.
Golden Milk or Mylk Latte Recipe
*I like to make this with non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or flax milk but feel free to use whatever milk you choose! The taste may vary depending on the milk type and the sugar content of the milk.*
- 1 1/4 cup light milk of choice
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom *optional* (I like it because it adds a chai spice flavor to the drink)
- 1/4 tsp. coconut oil
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Sweetener of your choice to taste (I like to use honey)
- Add milk, ground turmeric, ground ginger, cinnamon, coconut oil, black pepper, and sweetener of choice to a small saucepan.
- Mix to combine and warm over medium heat.
- Heat while continuously stirring (don’t let boil), for 4-5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and serve.
*This drink is best when served fresh, but can be refrigerated for a day or two and reheated. It might take a few tries to perfect the sweetness to your preferences.*
A large benefit of chamomile tea is its calming properties. I like to use it especially when I’m experiencing anxiety or stress. . It is also said that chamomile tea helps with indigestion due to its soothing nature and has an immune-boosting property to it.
A lot of grocery stores will sell chamomile tea in a teabag form or if you want to make your own, stick around for our recipe! Now when brewing your chamomile tea at home, the tea is brewed using *just* the flower heads of the plant, not the entire plant.
Chamomile Tea Recipe
- Some people add lavender or mint to their teas for extra flavor! Add in a few mint leaves or a few lavender flowers.
- Remove the entire flower head from the stem. Rinse the chamomile flowers in warm water and pat dry. If using flowers already removed from the stem, carry on!
- Boil water (around 1-1 ½ cups) in a large pot on the stove.
- Once the water has boiled, place flower petals (about a handful) in an infuser and let the tea steep in the kettle or pot for 8 minutes.
- If you don’t have an infuser it is ok to put the flowers directly in the water- the infuser helps keep the straining process mess-free!
- Strain out the flower petals and optional mint leaves or lavender
- Enjoy your chamomile tea!
Nettle Leaf Tea
Nettle Leaf is not the tastiest tea I’ve ever tried, but it has powerful qualities that make the taste worth it in the end. Nettle leaf tea helps boost the immune system, fight inflammation, improve digestion, help with allergy symptoms, and might even help balance hormone levels. This tea is more of an acquired taste, but with each sip, I found it became more palatable. It tastes less light and spicy like ginger tea and instead has a more vegetable-like flavor.
When making your teas at home you can use dried or fresh leaves. Most grocery stores are also stocked with nettle leaf teas now as well. Buying loose leaf teas for wholesale is also an option if you start drinking nettle leaf teas regularly.
Nettle Leaf Tea Recipe
- Add one cup of nettle leaves to two cups of water.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Let steep on low heat for three to five minutes.
- Pour the mixture through a small strainer.
- Add a bit of honey or cinnamon to taste! Enjoy!
Sage naturally has a lot of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that help with oral health and even menopausal symptoms. Sage also has an amazing aroma when steeped in warm water that can be rather therapeutic. Some of the nutrients in sage include vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, and iron, just to name a few.
Sage Tea Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 ounce fresh sage leaves *washed* (roughly 23 leaves)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (Vitamin C Boost!)
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add in lemon + sage leaves (use an infuser if you have one or just add to water).
- Let steep for 25 minutes
- Strain out leaves
- Enjoy! Add honey to taste if you enjoy a sweeter tea.