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The Book of Herbal Tea
By Sara Perry
RECIPE: Spring Garden Herbal Tea


Old News About Herbs

Making Tea With Fresh Herbs

Spring Garden Herbal Tea

In her new book about using herbs to make tea, Sara Perry surveys the extensive library of previously published guides to herbs dating back to the world’s first "herbal," the "Pen Tsao Ching," which was published in China 3,000 years ago. Every great civilization ever since has had its own chroniclers of herbs.

That doesn’t stop Perry from trying to come up with something new to add to the genre. But much of that which is new could have been left unsaid. Perry writes, for example, that you can dry herbs in an attic, laundry room, shady balcony or a child’s playhouse but not in a garage used to park cars.

Perry’s descriptions of 40 of the most popular herbs are a bit more substantive. She summarizes the ancient wisdom and concludes with instructions on how to use them to make tea.

How to Make Herb Tea

In short, immerse 2-3 teaspoons of the fresh herb or 1 teaspoon of dried herb in one cup of water that has just come to a boil and steep for 5-10 minutes. Place the herb either directly in the water or use a tea ball. Don’t use water that has reached a rolling boil as it will evaporate too many of the volatile oils. Capturing as much of those oils as possible in the tea itself is the key to expert herbal tea-making, she writes.

For that reason, dedicated herbalists should, if possible, grow or gather their own herbs or buy them at farmers markets, where they are likely to be fresher and handled less.

The following recipe is recommended by one of the Pacific Northwest’s most renowned herbalists, Patti Chambers, for the days of springs when plants are just coming to life.

Spring Garden Herbal Tea

10 fresh purple sage leaves
16 fresh lemon balm leaves
12 small mint leaves
petals of 1 red rose
2 rose-scented geranium leaves (optional)
6 cups freshly boiling water

1. In a pre-warmed, 6-cup teapot, place the sage leaves, lemon balm leaves, mint leaves, rose petals, and geranium leaves (if using).

2. Pour in the freshly boiling water, and let the tea steep for 10 to 20 minutes.

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef