Skip to main content

How (and why) to drink herbal tea

I've always thought that tea bags were wasteful, so I was pretty happy a few years ago to find out I could use a "tea ball". You can get them from speciality tea places, or any kitchen-ware place would stock them these days. It just means that you can scoop up some tea leaves and brew a single cup of tea in your mug instead of using a teabag or a teapot. Its quicker, it reduces mess and waste AND loose leaf tea is cheaper than tea bags. I have a cup of tea using my tea ball every morning at work. I was thinking about posting about this a while ago and then Rhonda from Down to Earth wrote about something similar, so that saves me explaining all the details of tea balls vs tea bags!

Rhonda wrote about black tea, but I don't drink black tea, because the caffeine doesn't agree with me at all (get the shakes, can't sleep, etc).  I stick to herbal teas.  Nourishing Traditions recommends drinking herbal teas, both as an alternative to obvious bad choices (sugary drinks, black tea, coffee, pasteurised milk) and even to plain water, as they contain some of the minerals that are essential for healthy bodies.

Herbal teas also contain something called "phytochemicals", these are chemicals found in plants that interact with the human body.  Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of what the various herbs are traditionally known to do (just google "herbal tea"), the actual chemical interactions are not well understood or proven by conventional research.  This means that it is possible to get sick or die from drinking too much of the wrong tea.  This only proves to me that herbs can be used as gentle "medicine" to alter body chemistry, and that they deserve a certain amount of respect.  I have had some teas where I could feel the difference after I drank them, and some have even had side-effects that I didn't feel comfortable with, just another situation where its important to listen to the signs from your body.

I am not sophisticated enough to know which herb to use in each situation, or have a wide variety of different herbs in my garden (yet), but as I only have one cup of tea in the morning, I think a "detox" or "refresh" teas is just what I need to start the day. When I'm at home, I pick mint and spearmint from my garden and put a few leaves into the tea ball.  If I was more organised I would take fresh leaves to work as well, but in the meantime.  My mother-in-law has a lovely Lemon Myrtle tree and when I'm at their place I usually have a few leaves of that in my mug to make a refreshing tea.  Even in summer when its too hot for tea, I enjoy chilled herbal tea (or I just let it go cold in my mug until its comfortable to drink).

Unfortunately much of the research into phytochemicals (for example)  is in regards to extracting these chemicals, understanding their impact on the body and producing them as commercial drugs.  This makes me cringe!  I think we are always better to use these chemicals in their natural form, where there may be other chemicals in the plant that compliment or reduce any negative effects.  The rest of the research seems to be reports of the side effects of overdosing on herbal teas, as if the researchers want to scare us from using them rather than help us to find sensible doses or at least understand the effects.

Do you drink herbal tea?  What is your favourite combination?

See more about the teas I make using herbs that I grow.


  1. I'm growing lots of different herbs for teas. Lemon balm, lemon verbena, lime verbena, pineapple sage, sage, pepper/spear/chocolate mint,... I keep finding new ones to grow!

  2. We are a household of 2 both quite serious tea drinkers and I would take a guess that at any one time there are about 10-15 tea options including a variety of greens, herbals and black teas. most of them are loose leaf but I do keep a few tea bags on hand as well. I have not grown any yet but it is something I will get around to one day.

  3. I second the recommendation to do loose leave teas over bagged teas. The quality is much improved...and less likely to have "natural flavors" and weirdness added.

    I would also recommend adding some cream of tartar to your diet. If you get the shakes from caffeine, in my personal experience, it might be because you don't have enough potassium and/or magnesium in the diet. Cream of tartar is from a potassium salt that precipitates out of grape juice in the wine making it's a real food supplement. ;)


Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

** Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about my garden, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.

The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!

The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…