The easy to grow herbs, weeds and plants that you can make into tea

The closest you’ve probably been to a dandelion is blowing on its flowers to make a wish.

Well, if your wish is to find a great caffeine-free alternative to a strong cup of coffee, you’ve come to the right place.

While considered a weed in most states, dandelions or Taraxacum sect. Taraxacum is commonly found growing in your backyard and through the cracks of your pavement.

Gardening Australia guest presenter Hannah Moloney says the roots can make for a great, nutrient-rich cup of tea.

Roasted and ground, they turn into a rich, bitter earthy drink full of minerals and vitamins.

Dandelion roots.(Supplied: Adobe Stock)

Method

  1. 1.Pull up the plants — It’s easiest to pull up the plants after rain or after giving the ground a good soak. Be wary of picking from the roadside and parks where pesticides may have been used.
  2. 2.Remove leaves — Put aside to add in a salad or juice.
  3. 3.Wash and cut the roots — Remove any soil and cut into small sized pieces so they cook evenly.
  4. 4.Pop on a tray and roast in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20–30 minutes. Keep an eye out for any burnt pieces. You want them dark brown and brittle.
  5. 5.Grind into a powder — Allow to cool, then use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.
  6. 6.Add to boiled water — A teaspoon or two per cup will do. Give it a good stir and drink black or add milk and sugar.

Hannah says the powder will stay fresh in an airtight container for a few months.

Can I grow other tea leaves at home?

Here are other herbs you can try growing to make your own herbal brew.

They are all easy to grow in the ground or pots, making them a good option for courtyards and balconies.

Each can be used fresh or dried to store in an airtight container.

Peppermint

It’s refreshing and is said to aid digestion and reduce nausea. By crushing the small leaves, its strong essential oils are released along with the unmistakable smell of peppermint.

You only need a little bit of peppermint to make a big impact.(Supplied: Alexander Schimmeck via Unsplash )

You can make tea from the fresh leaves or stems, which you steep in boiling water for five minutes.

In late summer dry the stems by hanging in bunches in a cool place, or lay them on a tray to dry.

Lemon balm

If you’ve got a moist, shady or partly shady spot in the garden — lemon balm is for you. Native to southern Europe and Africa for two thousand years, Arab people used it to treat depression and anxiety.

Today the herb is still used by some as a remedy for fatigue, insomnia and headaches.

Like peppermint, its leaves can be cut fresh and put straight into the pot for a refreshing lemony tea.

Thyme

Thyme for a pick me up? Look no further than this warm, clove-like flavored herb that aids digestion and helps to relieve headaches.

The plant loves a sunny spot in well-drained soil.

Thyme tea is one of the easiest to make.(Supplied: Olena Sergienko via Unsplash )

Simply add several fresh sprigs of thyme to a cup of boiling water and steep for five to eight minutes.

Chamomile

Chamomile tea is made from the flowers, which look like tiny daisies. The Roman and English varieties both work well and grow best in light soil in a sunny position.

Snip the flowers off when they’re flowering in summer.

Add a teaspoon to a cup of boiling water with a spoon of honey for a sweet calming drink.

Chamomile flowers are both pretty and delicious.(Supplied: Monika Grabkowska via Unsplash )

Above

While the leaves, bulb and seeds can all be used in cooking, the tea is made from the seeds.

Harvested in summer and autumn, snip off the flower heads and dry in the sun for a couple of days.

Shake the seeds out and into an airtight container.

Add one teaspoon to two cups of water.

Hot tip — they have a slight licorice taste and can be used as a breath freshener.

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