Homegrown herbal teas


Homegrown herbal teas

words by
kristee semmler // the barossa nursery

I love growing herbs and using them in my cooking and recently I have really enjoyed using herbs to make fresh herbal teas. I have always had the intention of drying my own herbs and making my own dried herbal teas, but being time poor just never got around to it.

So, I started experimenting with fresh herbal teas, which require no pre-making or drying.

I enjoy being a little bit spontaneous with my teas and love the fact that I can just go to my herb garden whenever I feel like it, snip a couple of sprigs, add them to some (almost) boiling water and enjoy a fresh, home-grown herbal tea – so easy.

Below is a list of a some of my favourite herbs to use in fresh teas and some of their surprising benefits.

Lemon Myrtle

This was the first herbal tea I ever tried. I steeped it in boiling water on the stove for 10 minutes and it made my whole house smell amazing and lemon fresh! Since then, rather than bringing it to the boil on the stove, I just steep it in a teapot or mug of very hot water for five minutes (me being time poor or lazy this is quicker and easier).

Lemon Myrtle is a very uplifting tea but it is also anti-inflammatory and may help with minor aches and pains. Like its name suggests it has a lovely lemon flavour which is very refreshing.


There are so many different types of mint that can be used in herbal teas, but I really enjoy Peppermint, Spearmint and Ginger mint teas the best.

I often enjoy a mint tea at night after dinner. Mint teas can help aid digestion and being anti-bacterial may also help to prevent or alleviate sickness, not to mention they can help freshen your breath.

Mint teas are great before bed because they are naturally caffeine free and I find their fragrance calming. Mint also makes a lovely refreshing iced tea that is great to drink over the warmer months.

Thyme tea

Before getting into my teas, I would have never considered Thyme for herbal tea. Thyme actually has a lot of health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals but also has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

I prefer Lemon Thyme with its slight lemon flavour, it’s a great tea to help maintain all round health and well-being. It’s particularly good to drink thyme tea if you have a cough or cold as it can help fight infections and alleviate a cough or sore throat. Steep a few sprigs in hot water for five minutes before enjoying.

Rosemary tea

Just like Thyme tea, Rosemary tea has many health benefits. Once again, this herb is high in antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Drinking Rosemary tea can help fight infections and reduce symptoms.

It may also help to improve your mood and memory and is another tea that is great for all round general health. If I ever start to feel a cold coming on, I get straight onto the Rosemary teas, steeping a couple of sprigs in a cup of hot water. Rosemary tea may also help reduce headache symptoms.

Lemon Verbena and Lemon balm

These are two different herbs but have similar properties. Both of these herbs have a lovely lemon aroma and are calming before bed or great for relieving stress and nervousness.

Once again, they are high in antioxidants and are antiviral and antibacterial, so have many great health properties. Brew with the cup covered to help preserve the essentials oils, which can otherwise evaporate.

These are just a few of my favourite herbs for herbal teas to date. I’m still experimenting and there are plenty more I have yet to try. I just love how easy and uplifting fresh herbal teas are to make and that they have many health benefits is a bonus. Next time you’re out in your herb garden why not cut a few sprigs and experiment with your own fresh herbal teas!

Things to note

  • For best results steep fresh herbs in water that is not quite boiling temperature, alternatively add a small amount of cold water to boiling water to bring temperature just under boiling point.
  • From trial and error, I have learnt most herbs shouldn’t be steeped in hot water any longer than five minutes, as it can make the tea taste slightly bitter.
  • You need more fresh herbs than you would the dried equivalent to get the same amount of flavour.
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an underlying health condition or are on medication you should always seek the advice of your doctor before consuming fresh herbal teas.
  • It can help to lightly crush the herb before steeping to help release oils and fragrance.
  • Herbs can be added to normal tea to add flavour and goodness.
  • Add ingredients like citrus, spices, sweeteners or flowers to teas to add extra flavour.
  • “A cup of tea is a cup of peace” Sen Sshitsu VX

Happy Gardening!

Kristee Semmler


If you have any good gardening old wive’s tales, feel free to share them by leaving a comment online on the Barossa Mag’s website.

I do love hearing a good tale! 

In the meantime, happy gardening!

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