If you follow us on instagram or Facebook @myvalleymistsmile you’ll have seen that herbal tea is our go to for hydration. On our social media platforms we like to share more than skincare solutions and tips. Often we’ll be encouraging you to grow your herbal tea and suggest good seasonal combinations that work well. Handmade herbal tea is one of the easiest ways to start your holistic and sustainable living journey.
Connect with nature
We all feel better for being in nature, surround yourself in the greenery of the outdoors and enjoy the healing effect of mother nature. When you start to grow your own tea you might see a change in your perspective; what was once a messy patch of useless nettles becomes a valuable ingredient to your herbal tea collection.
If you start with nettles make sure just to pick the new growth from the top, the tips. Always pick your nettles before Mid Summer or before they have started to show signs of flowering. Once nettles start to flower they develop minute needles that our bodies can not tolerate. These needles (microscopic rods of calcium carbonate) can interfere with kidney function, so do make sure there are no signs of flowering before picking. April and early May are the perfect times to pick your nettle leaves, make sure to collect enough to last you ALL year! (Make sure you don’t over pick and stunt the whole plant, but if you’re just picking the tips the plant will be fine).
Save pennies and the pounds look after themselves. One box of herbal tea that will probably last only a week can add up even if you choose a cheaper own brand; at about £2 a week this accumulates up to over £100 a year. At the rate we drink herbal tea, we would need more than one box a week! Saving money always creates a feel good factor and so if connecting with nature doesn’t appeal to you then saving money might be your driver to creating a fresh cup of home grown herbal tea.
Sense of satisfaction
I can not emphasise enough the huge sense of satisfaction that comes from growing and then harvesting your own ingredients. Whatever it is you are cultivating or even foraging for, that sense of gathering and then creating is so very addictive, in the best way. Forage or grow your herbal tea! At this point I have to give a nod of recognition and respect to my in laws from Latvia, they are the inspiration behind our tea drinking habits and foraging in the woods and hedgerows is a way of life for them. If you do decide that foraging is for you, it is really important to remember that there are plants out there that can kill as well as cure, so always be sure that you’ve identified a plant correctly if you intend to eat or drink it! .. maybe a good reason to grow rather than forage so you can be sure of what you are harvesting.
This can’t be news to you, there is plastic in some of our tea bags, you know this right? For years at Valley Mist HQ we have been composting our food and garden waste. We were always a little surprised to see how long some tea bags would linger year after year in our composted soil. Of course this was all before Blue Planet 2 alerted the world to the crisis we have created and then became big news that plastic is everywhere. So yes, my apologies for pointing this out, I am sure you are well informed about the plastic that has seeped into pretty much everything we use. Although, things are changing. It is now a key concern for companies, large and small to ditch plastic where we can. 🙂
Thankfully there are now many herbal tea companies offering plastic free teas but there are still a number of them still using teabags lined with plastic to strengthen the bags.
A change is as good as a rest
Every cup of tea is different when you start making your own blends. There are so many ways you can make your own tea. Our favorite method is to quite literally add big tufts of the days selected herbs and flowers to the bottom of the cup and pour over with freshly boiled water. A teapot is a great investment and can look pretty cool. Also think about a thermos flask, often we will make flask to last the morning to reduce the amount of times we boil the kettle. Remember, natural ingredients whether in tea or cosmetics, always change from batch to batch.
Hydrate; any good skin guru will tell you this and most likely you’ll know the importance of staying hydrated. Hydration is the first step to a healthy lifestyle. Dehydration depletes our body’s ability to function properly at a cellular level. Without the right amount of water intake in the right way we can be left dehydrated; this can then lead on to a whole catolgue of problems aside from tired, dull skin. I aim to enjoy around six cups of herbal tea a day, some days I don’t manage that many but it’s a healthy target to work towards.
Herbal tea made from the ingredients you would grow or forage is caffeine free. Nettles, fennel, peppermint all contain 0% caffeine. Highly addictive and overly stimulating caffeine is something we should all think about reducing. Caffeine is connected to high blood pressure, increased levels of anxiety, dehydration and even insomnia. Caffeine does have some health benefits and certain people can tolerate it better than others. Personally for me, caffeine needs to be restricted.
However, an absolute treat for me is coffee. Let’s be honest, we take it for granted but we should all consider coffee as a treat rather than a necessity.
One wonderful cup of coffee a day is more than enough and that is what makes it a treat, something to savor, look forward to. Make sure that this one coffee is a treasured moment in what is usually a blur of a day with a to do list as long as your arm. There was a time when I would easily go through at six cups of coffee a day, as you can imagine around that time I was pretty unbalanced. This section was supposed to be about caffeine not so much coffee but the same rules should apply to normal tea.
Fresh vitamins and antioxidants
If you eat or drink something fresh then it makes sense that you would benefit from that freshness and increase your mineral, vitamin and enzyme intake. From my studies of Ayurveda, I learnt the less processed a food is the more beneficial it is to the human system. This is not to say that dried herbs do not contain a level of nutrition, but the fresher the ingredient, the higher the potency of these live plant compounds. Eat fresh, look fresh, feel fantastic!
Zero carbon footprint
It stands to reason that if your ingredients for your herbal tea have less miles to travel before they reach you, then quite simply you are reducing your carbon foot print. I don’t think I need to expand on this further, it just makes good sense.
Compost your waste and go full circle
Once you have enjoyed your fresh and almost free cup of tea you can empty your teapot or cup directly into your compost bin. If you don’t have a compost bin or have often wondered why anyone might want to compost then please have a read of our post on composting and why its important.
This brief list of benefits should have given you inspiration to consider ways you might grow your own herbal tea. If nothing else, I do hope it has spiked your interest in the subject.