More than a cup of tea (try rose petals or dried apples)

Herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years to add flavor to food ingredients, for beauty and health products, and for their exceptional health properties. One of the fantastic ways that herbs and spices have seeped into our everyday lives is through herbal tea blends.

There must be more than a thousand different combinations of herbal tea blends that are available. With all the various herbs for making tea, all you have to do is choose the one that most appeals to your senses. Mixing different combinations of herbs and spice can be as scientific as creating the perfect wine.

Tea making is more than just throwing a tea bag in a hot cup of water. It begins with the type of herb or spice that may serve as a cold remedy, induce sleepiness or provide a stomach aid. Different terms are used for describing herbal teas, like tisane, a French term for herbal-flavored tea infusion. Whatever term you use, the end result is all that matters.

In the summertime, we just love sipping on freshly brewed ice tea made with dried apple and cinnamon; it is the perfect way to stay feeling refreshed throughout the day. Some other basic herbs or spices used for making remedy teas at home are chamomile and sage, which can be sipped before bedtime to induce relaxation. If you have an upset stomach, use a tablespoon of dried licorice root per pot of water; and on a cool, sweet note, use mint. The coolness of any mint leaves blends well with any other herb, and it is also an achy stomach soother, plus it is so refreshing.

Another herb that has been used for millennia is the much sought after rosebud. Some have claimed that rosebud tea offers a wide range of health benefits, from increasing blood circulation and improving digestion to calming the nerves. Orange blossom tea is equally good for home-made tea blends; you have the sweetness and tartness of the orange and it tastes great. We love to add a few cinnamon quills to the pot to add a hint of spicy sweetness.

The all-purpose ginger is another herb or spice (depending on the application) that is extremely popular as a tea. We suggest using dried ginger as it is easier to digest and brew. Simple ginger tea is great for dealing with sore throats and colds, and, it is loaded with anti-oxidants.

Tulsi, also referred to as holy basil, is another all-purpose herb for making one of the most exceptionally healthy tea beverages. Tulsi is much revered in India as a remedy for everything from the common cold to diabetes. It also helps reduce stress and restore balance to the body. All you need are 2 teaspoons per pot of hot water to feel healthy.

Tea terms are relatively subjective to your own preference. But if you need a guideline, then follow this simple step: Use at least one teaspoon of dried herbs per cup of water and adjust to taste. The term “part” refers to whatever measurement you are using — for example, a handful, a cup, a tablespoon — and the same applies to the number of herbs or spices used. After you have made your freshly brewed tea, you should store the unused portion in the fridge to keep it fresh before you heat it up, or sip it cold.

Enjoy ice cold home-made tea at a summer gathering with family and friends. Sipping tea can be a quiet ritual, where you make the time or create the space in your busy day to bask in a relaxing moment.

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