Are you thinking how to make your own loose leaf tea? You can grow your own tea or gather it on the nearest meadow for your daily enjoyment and as a cure. Buying tea is fast and easy but making your own loose leaf tea can be quite exiting.
I gather herbs for tea for almost 10 years now. It all started when I had first menstrual pain. I took my health problem seriously and decided to help myself (doctors didn’t help much). The whole process from picking herbs to preparing a tea calms me and gives the energy that help me through good and bad days. If you are a nature lover and love to pick herbs; than you should read this article.
Making your own tea isn’t that hard. You just need to know some rules regarding the process so your herbs will give you the most active substances. There are many benefits of making your tea at home. You can educate yourself which herb you want to have for the tea, what are its benefits, and so on.
With proper knowledge you will be ready to go outside and get your favorite tea herb that you will enjoy through whole year. Making your own tea can be a great hobby, adventure and a big helper when you seek for natural remedies for diseases and health symptoms, so let’s get to it.
How to make Your own Loose Leaf Tea?
Before going in the nature and pick some herbs you should know what herb you want and why. People have different purposes for picking herb tea.
You can enjoy in peppermint tea because it has a great taste or use a chamomile tea for relaxation. Ask yourself why you want a specific herb and do a research about it.
Use books and internet (our site) to find the herb and know all about it. Learn what its benefits are, how it looks like, how to use it and last but not least, what are its side-effects. With the proper knowledge you are ready to go for the next step – picking herbs for the tea.
Picking Herbs for Your Tea
First I would like to tell you about few rules for picking herbs for tea. Be a conscious herb gatherer so that you and the nature will benefit both.
The rules for the harvesting herbs
- Learn to recognize herbs
- Never gather protected and rare plants. These drugs can be bought at the pharmacy store
- Gather only those plant parts that you need. Be cautious and don’t damage the whole plant
- Gather just as many plants as you urgently need
- Always gather herbs in dry and nice weather before noon (avoid morning dew)
- Gather herbs that grow in unpolluted environment. Avoid roads and train rails, factories, pesticide fields and walking trails. Many healing plants can be also successfully grown in the home garden or on the window sill
Perfect Gathering Time of Herbs
Medicinal plants gather throughout the year depending on the species and the part of the plant that we intend to gather.
Gather them only in dry weather, never in the morning when the dew is still on the grass. The best gathering time will be around noon.
The plant healing power is reduced in the evening because of circulation of juices during the day and in the evening or at night. If it rained, wait for at least 3 days before gathering them.
You can also consider the moon, when the days are suitable for picking flowers, leaves, roots and fruit. This way, active substances of healing plants will be more persistent and will have greater effect.
Gathering Herbs for Tea
For gathering herbs for tea use the same tools as in gardening: shovel, hoe for digging up roots and other underground parts, scissors for cutting twigs and woody parts, strong knife and gloves. It is the best that you store harvested crops in the basket or rarely woven bag. Thus you protect plants from damaging.
It is for the best that you gather only one plant or separate individual plants from each other. Be careful during harvesting so you won’t damage other plants and the surrounding area. Always pick the healthiest plants and don’t pick all, so you won’t destroy the nature’s balance.
You should never pick up the whole plant if you don’t need it. If you just need a flower, only tear the flower and don’t cut any twigs. When you gather roots, leave some root in the ground.
We pick whole plant and leaves usually just before flowering or during flowering when the amount of active ingredients in the plant are the highest.
Cut the plant from five to ten inches above the ground to facilitate her recovery. If the plant has several peaks; cut just one or two.
Never pull the whole plant with roots from the ground. If herbs are gentle (as Thyme); we gather all of their above-ground parts. You remove the stem and thicker twigs in case of a higher plant because it usually contains less active ingredients. If you are gathering leaves; collect only healthy grounded and middle leaves which aren’t eaten from insects and attacked by rust.
Pick flowers and inflorescence soon as they open, because they will have more active substances. Never gather half-withered blooms. Some flowers open at night or in extreme heat so pick them when they are open.
We usually store herbs that are dry. You should dry herbs as soon as possible so don’t wait. First, you should see what you have gathered. Discard everything that is damaged in any way without feeling guilty. Clean herbs from soil, dust and bugs before drying them.
You should dry herbs in dry, clean and airy place, preferably in the attic. If you dry herbs outside; they should be dried in the sun so they will be dry as soon as possible. This way, herbs will maintain a beautiful color, pleasant scent and many active ingredients while they still capture the power of the sun.
Most of the plants are dried in the sun in one day. Don’t let them outside through the night or when it rains (avoid any moisture). Look for the unhealthy and damaged parts and remove them during drying process.
Spread plants in a thin layer on a clean surface, wrapping paper for example. Drying process should be quick. Turn drying herbs or even replace the damp ground during drying. If your plants are properly dried, they shouldn’t have much different color from fresh herbs.
You can use vegetable boxes for drying them which can be placed one on another. You can also prepare boxes with mesh bottoms.
You should thoroughly wash roots before drying them but don’t soak them in water. Then cut them into slices and gather them on a string.
Join whole plants in bunches and dry them hanging on strings with flowers facing down. Drying time depends on the climate and weather, and also varies from plant to plant. Properly dried plants can break nicely but do not disintegrate into dust.
Plants can be dried with artificial heat too. You can dry herbs in the stove. They may also be dried in an oven at the lowest temperature stage with the open door. Microwave oven can be used but in this case, drying time is measured in minutes. Plants will maintain distinct color if you follow this advice.
You can buy smaller dryers for fruits, vegetables and herbs in the store. Carefully monitor the temperature when you use artificial heat. The temperature shouldn’t exceed 36° C when drying herbs. Roots and bark are dried at a temperature between 50 to 60° C.
Store Your Herb Tea Properly
Store dried herbs in tea containers that are tightly closed and protected from light. The most suitable are colorful glass containers in green. You can store it in the closed cardboard and wooden (unpainted) box. Put them in a dry and dark place. Glue label on the container with the name and year of harvested plants.
Ungrounded stored herbs will prevent rapid evaporation or oxidation. Each drug is stored separately. Crush herbs and prepare tea mixtures in a small amount so it won’t get old.
How Long Should You have Loose Leaf Tea?
You should use dried herbs in one year from storing them. When new season of herbs come you will gather fresh ones. Herbs will lose their active substances after one year so they aren’t appropriate for drinking anymore. But you can use them in the bath or as compresses.
Gather Herbs that You Know
We came to the end of this interesting topic. Now you know how to make your own loose leaf tea that will serve you well. Follow our simple rules from gathering, drying and storing tea herbs and you will drink the most quality home-made tea.
Nevertheless you are picking herbs as a cure or for enjoyment; you should always know what you are doing. Some herbs are poisonous and harmful so be sure that you picked the right herb.
Are you not sure for picking the right herb? Contact herbalist or someone who works with plants and herbs, he will help you.
Making your own loose leaf tea can be fun. You can learn about specific herbs, enjoy in nature, release stress and much more. You can also engage your kids into the process and you will have the most beautiful trip ever.
Did you ever ask yourself how much money you can save this way instead of buying tea through whole year?