RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The short, dark, chilly days of winter can make us long for something hot to sip in the evenings. And though you could start planning the number of tea bushes you'll plant to grow your own tea one day, chances are you’re looking for more immediate relief. A windowsill herb garden could be the answer.
"Most people don’t take full advantage of the herbs they have in their kitchens," says Leslie Alexander, a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and co-owner of Restoration Herbs in northwestern Pennsylvania. She says anything from sage to rosemary to ordinary basil can be used to make enjoyable, natural herbal teas. All you need is to steep a few teaspoons of the herb for several minutes. "The length of time depends on the herb in question," she notes, but 10 to 15 minutes normally does it.
While herbs and herbal supplements can interfere with certain drugs such as heart disease or thyroid medications, a single cup of herbal tea won't come with a high enough dose to cause harm, says Alexander. However, drinking three or more cups a day could be a problem, so if you plan on drinking a lot, check with your pharmacist or doctor first.
Whichever type of herbal tea you brew, just be sure to enjoy it, says Alexander. "Part of being healthy is getting the nutrients from our food,” she says. “The other part is taking pleasure in it."
Keep reading to find out which herbs make the best and healthiest teas.