Tea leaves are herbs. Photo by Zakir Ghouse | Fotolia.
We use the term “herb tea” to specify a tea made of caffeine-free herbs. But black, green, oolong and white teas, which come from the plant Camellia sinensis, are also herbs themselves.
According to Chinese legend, in 2737 B.C.E., Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea by accident. While boiling drinking water in the garden (a standard safety practice in the millennia prior to safe water systems), a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot—inadvertently brewing the first pot of tea. (More on the history of tea.)
While you probably can’t grow a tea tree or bush in your home or garden,* you can grow other herbs that steep into delicious “herbal” teas.
*If you live in a hot, moist climate, you can try it. Tea grows in temperatures ranging from 50°F to 86°F, in areas with an average yearly rainfall of 787 inches and an elevation of between 2000 and 6500 feet above sea level.
Herbs To Grow For Tea
1. PLUCK and rinse the herbs.
2. CRUSH them in your hand to release the essential oils.
3. ADD the leaves to a cup or pot and cover with boiling water to steep, for three minutes or longer. Use 3 teaspoons of herbs per cup of water (if the herbs are dried, 1 teaspoon per cup of water).
4. ENJOY the tea hot or iced.
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