Parenting

Home-grown tea, anyone?

Today, my husband and I harvested two small buckets full of hops. We discovered the vine growing in our backyard last year and this year we figured we would do something with it.

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After some research and asking twitter (thanks @natures_backpack) we learned that aside from making beer or bread yeast, hops makes a pretty effective nighttime tea and herbal sleep pillow. Paired with other herbs we’ve discovered in our garden, we might just be onto something here.

In addition to hops, we have lemon balm, mint, chocolate mint, lavender and rosemary growing in various places around our yard. After we harvest it, I plan on making tea sachets to give as gifts this Christmas.

So what makes these herbs so great for tea?

Hops
Growing on a very tall vine, the cones are harvested for several reasons – tea is one of them. My plans are for tea and “hops pillows”, which are said to help aid sleep. Hops is known to help relax, aid sleep and anxiety. It also can help with digestion and even in building milk supply in nursing mothers.

Lemon Balm
I’ve read much about lemon balm aiding in sleep and digestion. It’s a mood enhancer, so it may also be the happy perk needed on a dreary rainy day or dreaded Monday mornings. I can only imagine how powerful this may be paired with hops. Though the plants have flowers, it’s the fresh or dried leaves that are used for tea or lemonade.

Lavender
It’s common knowledge that lavender has calming properties in its scent. It is great for inducing sleep, calming anxiety and can even aid digestion and -ahem- flatulence. Can you imagine what a trifecta of hops, lemon balm and lavender could do for falling sleep and treating insomnia? I can’t wait to find out.

Mint (including chocolate)
If you’ve ever had a sour stomach, someone may have suggested mint tea to you. Not only is it good for the gut, it also has anti spasmodic and sedative properties. Hello hops-lemon balm-lavender-mint tea!

Rosemary
This isn’t a traditional herb found in tea but hey, why not? It’s a powerful antioxidant, can help indigestion, poor circulation and has lots of vitamins. I’m thinking rosemary and mint might actually make a good pair.

So while I’ve got an idea of how this will work, some experimenting will have to be done to best suit the personal palate. So while I try these out, try them for yourself and let me know what you think.

Hops sleepy-time tea:
2 tbsp hops
2 tbsp mint
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 tsp lemon balm
4 c hot water
Let sit for 20 minutes and strain. Sweeten with honey, if desired.

Calm tummy tea
1 tsp lavender
1 tbsp mint
1 c boiling water
Steep for 3-5 mins and then strain. Sweeten with honey, if desired.

Savory tummy tea
1 tbsp rosemary
2 tbsp mint
2 c boiling water
Steep for 3-5 mins and strain.

Hops pillow:
Using a muslin pouch, fill it with two parts hops and one part lavender. Close the pouch tightly and place under or next to your pillow. Fresh herbs are more aromatic, so give them a try, if you have them.

There are probably many combinations I could make with what’s growing in my garden – it will just take experimenting.

Happy tea drinking, sweet dreams and happy tummies to you!

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