Guest Author - Lisa Beth Voldeck
While growing houseplants simply for the beauty they can provide is enjoyable, sometimes its nice to grow something that provides a little more. Many herbs that make delicious teas can be grown indoors making them available for use any time of the year. Some of these herbs are grown for their flavors and aromas; others are grown for their therapeutic benefits. A sunny location is preferable, though part-sun will do.
Try a few of these herbs. Its fun to experiment and mix them creating your own special blend.
Lemon Balm – has a subtle lemon flavor with a hint of natural sweetness. Can grow to be quite large, so will need space or frequent nipping back.
Lemon Grass – has a zesty lemon zing. The flavor is slightly floral, but the scent is all lemon.
Lemon Basil – has a light, sweet and lemony basil with floral undertones. The flowers and leaves are used.
Lemon Thyme – has a lemony scent and flavor with a hint of floral undertones.
Lemon Verbena – the leaves are used. Lemon verbena provides the strongest lemon flavor of all the lemon herbs.
Catmint (a.k.a. Catnip) – a virtual cure-all, catmint can be used to relax the body and mind. It settles the stomach and reduces fevers. It even aids those suffering from respiratory ailments.
Peppermint – known for its stomach-soothing qualities, peppermint is refreshing as a hot or cold tea.
Spearmint – tastes similar to peppermint, but has less of a bite to it. Spearmint also calms the stomach, lessening nausea and indigestion.
Other mints to try are: chocolate mint, licorice mint, pineapple mint and orange mint. They all have a full minty flavor with a touch of the flavor and aroma described by their names. Mints not only make good hot teas, they are excellent iced.
Angelica – good for the digestive tract and aids the respiratory system.
Anise – thought to be helpful to the respiratory and digestive systems. Has a very strong flavor.
Coriander – also known as cilantro, coriander has a spicy flavor with citrus undertones.
Feverfew – the leaves and flowers can be used to alleviate migraine headaches and arthritis pain.
German Chamomile – traditionally used to aid relaxation before bedtime. Chamomile’s sweetly scented flowers are used to prepare an herbal infusion.
Lavender – the perfect natural stress reliever, lavender soothes tension and relaxes. Use the flower buds in infusion.
Marjoram – both the leaves and flowers are used can be used in an infusion. Marjoram has a fruity and minty taste.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) – the leaves and stems are the portion used for an infusion. It is used as a sedative, may lower blood pressure and relax muscles.
Pineapple Sage – has a lovely pineapple scent and flavor. The leaves are used in a tea to aid in digestion. Tastes great hot or iced.
Rosemary – aids in circulation and uplifts, bringing some relief to those suffering from depression.
Sage – thought to be helpful to the liver and kidneys. It can also be used to fight off colds and ease sore throats.
Stevia – a natural substitute for sugar, stevia is safe for diabetics.
Thyme – a spicy herb, good for soothing sore throats and stomach aches
These are just a few suggestions of herbs you can try growing indoors. If you don’t see some of your favorites listed, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a try. Most herbs will do just fine indoors.
Harvest leaves first thing in the morning to catch them when the essential oil concentration is strongest. With most herbs, you will get the best flavor before the plant goes to flower. When flowers begin to form the plant will reroute all available resources to making flowers, detracting from flavor. If you don’t intend to use the flowers, pinch them off as soon as you see any growing. Place about 1 tbs. of fresh leaves in one cup of boiling water and let steep for a few minutes.