29 June 2014

Making Tea.

Not so long ago I wrote about my love of fruit teas. I wanted to write something on making your own tea flavours from scratch and the benefits of each plant being used. Some have remedy effects on the body, others have a great smell & taste. Teas can be made by drying out edible plants that have flavour. These can be herbs, spices, fruits & fruit skin or flowers. This can be done using a dehydrator, oven or simply allowing them to be air dried.

Some examples of edible plants I have dried out for use in my dehydrator include; lemon slices & skin, orange slices & skin, small ginger pieces, also some herbs: sage, lemon balm, fennel & mint, cherries, apple, strawberries & raspberries all chopped finely.
To prepare your fruits and herbs for drying, simply chop them up finely and dry well until they start to harden and all moisture is gone. For herbs, whole leaves can be used.

The combination of tea flavours and the amount of each ingredient used in each mix is really down to personal taste, but I have made some suggested recipes. To make the tea itself, place a small teaspoon's worth in a metal tea orb suspended in boiling water and allow it for sit for 5 minutes to infuse. I personally like to let mine sit until the water has cooled down to a warm temperature, which really brings out the flavour.

Full list of ingredients & uses:

Hibiscus & White Hibiscus: A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.
Camomile: Often used as part of sleep teas, because it contains an amino acid known for its tranquillising effects. It acts as a relaxant and helps to promote sleep.
Lavender: Inhaling lavender is used for insomnia and agitation. A tea made of lavender flowers relieves tension caused by “nerves and stress. Lavender also reduces muscle spasms, increases relaxation and helps with menstrual cramps.
Rose buds: can improve the skin, It works on CCVD, high blood press & heart diseases.
Rose hips: High in Vitamin C.
Elderflower: Good for Vitamin A, the B-1, B-2, and B-3 complex, and Vitamin C.
Cornflower: Provides a good colour to your tea.
Marigolds: Uses have included treatment for colds, fevers, coughs, wounds, infections, rashes and wasp and bee stings.
Dandelion: Is great for the body, a good digestion aid, diuretic, removes toxins from the liver, rich in antioxidants, acts against cancer, regulates blood sugar, helps lower high blood pressure and helps lower cholesterol.
Cranberries: Has Vitamin C, E & Fibre as well as helping with UTI's.

Cloves: Improves digestion.
Cinnamon: May lower blood sugar & helps fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
Star Anise: Anti-bacterial & Anti-fungal Properties.
Ginger: Helps with the early stages of infections, it can promote fever and therefore hasten healing. Mixed with lemon it can be relieving for colds.
Cardamon: Good diuretic, used for digestion and good oral health.
Vanilla: Delicious flavour.
Liquorice: Some people use liquorice for sore throat, bronchitis, cough, and infections caused by bacteria or viruses.
Lemon Grass: By inhalation, the essential oil of Lemongrass is used as aromatherapy for muscle pain.
Turmeric: Is used for arthritis, heartburn (Dyspepsia), stomach pain, Diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, Jaundice, liver problems and gall bladder disorders.
Chilli: Has high levels of vitamins and minerals.

Although they often have no real benefit to the body other than vitamins, they are a delicious compliment to the herbs.
Lemon & Rind
Orange & Rind
Black Currents & Leaves
Blackberry & Leaves
Sea Buckthorn Berries

Sage: Anti-inflammatory & rich in antioxidants.
Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (Flatulence), vomiting, and Colic. For pain including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache.
Rosemary: Is used for digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas (Flatulence), liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. It is also used for gout, cough, headache, high blood pressure, and reducing age-related memory loss.
Fennel: Relaxes intestinal muscles and helps clean the kidneys, which also promotes clearer skin.
Mint & Peppermint: A traditional remedy used to help treat both stomach ache and nausea. Peppermint breaks down fat in the digestive system and relives the sickness.
Thyme: Acts as a decongestant for the chest.
Nettle: A rich source of iron & calcium.

These are not all tried and tested but a general combination I have found.
Cold & Sore Throat Tea: Honey, ginger & camomile.
Refreshing Morning Tea: Apple & elderflower.
Spicy Lunchtime Tea: Ginger & peach.
Digestion Help Tea: Peppermint, fennel & dandelion root.
Sleep Tea: Lavender, honey & lemon.
Detox tea: Cranberries, dandelion, lemon juice & ginger.
Orange Winter Spice Tea: Black currant, orange rind, chilli, cinnamon & rose hip.
Fruity Tea: Currants, hibiscus, rose hip, blueberries, raspberries, black currants.
Herbal Chai: Apple pieces, camomile flowers, cinnamon, nettle leaves, ginger, star anise, cardamom & cloves.
Herbal Infusion: Spearmint, liquorice root, peppermint, apple, lime oil & cornflower.
Sea Buckthorn Herbal: Apple, pineapple, sea buckthorn berries, lemon balm, blackberry leaves, blackcurrant leaves, rose hip, lemongrass, white hibiscus, apple slices, hibiscus flowers & marigold petals.
Fruit Herb: Orange, Lemon & Sage.
Fruit Herb: Hibiscus, lemon grass, passionfruit, mango and papaya.

Spiced Orange & Black Cherry Tea.
1 tbsp dehydrated chopped black cherries
3 slices of dehydrated orange, chopped
1/2 tbsp cloves
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
This is my personal recipe and one of my favourite recent creations.
Combine your ingredients and place 1 teaspoon's worth into a metal diffuser, then place in a cup of hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes.