Making Tea From Your Garden

Messy herbal teas at Melbourne Tea Festival

Herbal teas at Melbourne Tea Festival

Ever felt tempted to pick a few mint leaves or sprigs of rosemary from your garden to make a cuppa?

Except if you’re like me, you’re never sure if you’re doing it right.

Should I be using them fresh or dried? Just leaves or stems too? Which ones can I mix?

I was happy to pick up a few tips at the recent Melbourne Tea Festival, where I attended a workshop on mixing my own herbal teas and tisanes. The workshop was run by Sarah Cowell, a former tea sommelier at one of Australia’s best restaurants Vue de Monde, and a tea educator at

Herbal tea workshop at Melbourne Tea Festival

Unfortunately I learned that mixing your own tisanes is not art nor science. It’s a subjective process of choosing flavours you like and what you’re in the mood for.

Listen to my interview with Sarah Cowell here:

What I am able to reproduce here are Sarah’s notes on the benefits of popular tisanes:

  • Chamomile: Sleep, nervous stress, calms the stomach, colic.
  • Cinnamon: digestion, circulation, antiviral, colds.
  • Ginger: Digestion, reproductive system, cramps, morning and motion sickness, respiratory (lungs).
  • Hawthorn berry: Heart tonic, heart blood pressure.
  • Hibiscus: Vitamin C and bioflavonoids (anti-oxidant), digestive, immune, inflammation.
  • Lavender: Headaches, nervous tension, sleep.
  • Lemon balm: Calming, anti-viral, antiseptic, indigestion.
  • Lemongrass: Cold and fever, stomach aches, pain, cough.
  • Nettle: Mineral rich (Zn, Mg, Ca, K, Si, Fe), PMS, menopause, liver, kidneys, hay fever, blood purifier, anemia.
  • Oat straw: Nervous system, sexual tonic, anxiety, heart.
  • Passionflower: Calming, anxiety, depression, sleep, ADHD.
  • Peppermint: Digestion, nausea, gas, colds, diarrhoea.
  • Raspberry leaf: Iron, diarrhoea, pregnancy, childbirth, illness-recovery tonic.
  • Red clover: Detox, respiratory (cough, cold, bronchitis), mineral-rich (Ca, Ni, Fe), skin, blood purifier.
  • Rosehip: Vitamin C, cold and flu, stomach disorders, UTI.
  • Rose petals: Heart, brain, skin soothing.
  • Scullcap: Nervous system, headaches, insomnia, stress, menstrual tension, anxiety.
  • Spearmint: Cooling, refreshing, uplifting, digestion, stress, heart, immune, respiratory.
  • Tulsi (Sacred Basil): Antibacterial, fever, antioxidant, asthma, respiratory.

Please note: If you’re going to consume a lot of a type of tea for a particular health benefit, get your doctor’s advice before you do so. Tea can be more potent than you think!

So go ahead. Pick those leaves from your garden (just check they’re not grown in a polluted environment), perhaps supplement your mix from herbal supply shops and have fun experimenting!

Messy herbal teas at Melbourne Tea Festival


The author of LaneByLaine was a guest at the Melbourne Tea Festival for Travel Writers Radio.


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