Assuming your herb gardening is going as planned this year, then pretty soon you’re likely to be overwhelmed with an abundance of fresh herbs. As much as we love our fresh herbs, incorporating them into breakfast, lunch AND dinner just so you can get through them all can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re going to be spending some time in the coming weeks talking about creative ways to use your fresh-grown herbs besides eating them.

One such way to use your herbs is teas, or more accurately ‘tisane’, as we recently learned from chatting with Morgan Siegel, founder of Jeddah’s Tea. Thanks to Morgan’s expert input, in this blog we’re going to be sharing with you some tips and tricks on how to turn your herbal bounty into delicious tisanes that will both delight your taste buds as well as heal your body.

About Jeddah’s Tea: Jeddah’s Tea aims to foster community and broaden worldviews, horizons, and palettes by shining a light on underrepresented geographies and cultures in the tea sphere. They believe in drinking to equity, understanding, and appreciation.

What is the difference between Tea and Tisane?

Morgan tells us that “Tea” refers to one species of leaf – Camellia Sinensis, which is part of the Theaceae flowering plant family. Your green, black, yellow, oolongs, pu’erhs, white and other varieties of Camellia Sinensis are indeed ‘tea’ in its truest form. 

Herbal concoctions are known as “tisanes”. By placing fresh or dried herb(s) into a vessel and infusing it with hot or cold water, you can extract the many benefits that these leaves contain and enjoy a delicious beverage. Of course, you should always do some independent research as to the benefits and risks of each herb, so that you are clear as to what you are ingesting. 

How do you make herbal tea / tisane?

For most herbs, it is recommended to use around 3g of herbs per 8fl oz (240ml) of water. In the case of a hot brew, use water between 190F and 205F and brew 3-5mins. If it gets hotter than that (or if brew time is extended), it may interrupt the infusion and give you a bitter result.  In the case of a cold brew, use the same ratio in room temperature water and let infuse for 4-12 hours.”

Which herbs can be used for Tisane / Herbal Teas?

You’ve probably already heard of mint, chamomile, lemon verbena, lavender and rose tisanes, but many other common garden herbs also make for a good brew, including Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Catnip, Rosemary and Thyme.

Generally speaking brewing Tisane with fresh herbs (vs dried) is going to give you a better result – with more flavor and more release of the plant’s essential oils. That said, if dried is all you have then don’t let that stop you! Why not try it with both, that way you can see the difference for yourself.

According to Morgan, more and more people are hungry for turning inward – taking the time for relaxation, self-care and balance. A tisane makes the perfect complement to important daily rituals such as this. Some of her personal favorites are Egyptian Chamomile and Lavender Rooibos. Egyptian Chamomile has been used since at least the days of the Pharaohs, and is known worldwide as a relaxation aid. Chamomile is very light and floral, and lends to a beautiful yellow brew. Rooibos has been harvested by the Khoisan people of South Africa for thousands of years- it aids in regulating blood sugar, is high in antioxidants, and has antibacterial properties. It brews to a beautiful reddish-brown hue, and has a slightly nutty taste that marries beautifully with lavender, which further aids in relaxation. She recommends organic, fair-trade and pesticide-free options for maximum moral enjoyment and relaxation.

Ready to make your own fresh tisane?

Arguably the most important part of a good tisane is the herbs. Although Urban Leaf doesn’t offer everything from the list above, you will find:

We also offer all of these seed varieties (and more) individually. 

You don’t really need any special equipment to make tisane – a coffee cup or mason jar will work just fine. But if you do want to go all out, here are a few neat looking sets we found online.

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