5 DIY herbal teas to try at home

A cup of tea, as well as being delicious and refreshing, can have some amazing health benefits, especially when you're using fresh ingredients. 

Tea drinking is a tradition which has been revered in Eastern culture for thousands of years. However, modern studies show that tea, with its antimicrobial properties, could also help with health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. This is as reported by health site WebMD, which also suggests that tea may help with weight loss and elevated cholesterol. 

Katherine Tallmadge, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association can't find a downside. "I think it's a great alternative to coffee drinking," she says. "First, tea has less caffeine. It's pretty well established that the compounds in tea – their flavonoids – are good for the heart and may reduce cancer."

If you've read our piece on container gardening for your home, then you may well be on the way to growing your own herbs. If not, then maybe you'll consider it when you have a look through some of the amazing herbal teas you can make at home and pop in your Onya reusable coffee cup.

By using herbs you've grown yourself, you not only get the immense satisfaction of reaping the rewards of your hard gardening work, you're also cutting down your grocery spending buying boxes of prepackaged tea. In addition, you're reducing the waste of the boxes and tea bags (especially if you're a big tea drinker). 

  • Mint tea – while fresh mint tea involves steeping fresh leaves in hot water and serving, for a peppermint take, try using dried mint leaves with a pinch of raw sugar to sweeten.This makes super refreshing cup, while the menthol in the mint gives it a relaxing property as well as settling a disturbed stomach and aiding digestion. 
  • Chamomile – thought to be beneficial for those wanting a good night's sleep, this particular tea involves infusing dried chamomile flowers (many methods for drying your flowers are available online) and leaving them to infuse for a good 3-4 minutes before straining into a cup. If you want, you can add a dash of lemon juice or some honey to taste. 
  • Ginger tea – while you may not have ginger growing in your garden at home, this root makes for a beautiful cup of tea. Slice your ginger root finely and leave to rest or sift through a fine mesh infuser to prevent any flakes of the ginger skin escaping into your tea. Let it steep for a few minutes, although if you are after a spicier taste, consider leaving for 5 minutes or longer. Like chamomile, ginger goes well with a touch of lemon or honey (or both!). 
  • Lavender – this beautiful pale flowering plant brings us one soothing cuppa. With either fresh or dried buds, steep the lavender in hot water for approximately 5 minutes. You can add chamomile flowers and leave to brew for longer for a fragrant concoction, or you can add a bit of honey once the lavender has been steeped to soften the taste. 
  • Rose – while this might sound like a bit of an unusual one when it comes to tea, rose buds contain vitamin C says WebMD, and make an aromatic, slightly fruity tasting cup of tea. Using either fresh or dried buds or petals, leave them to steep for a longer period in hot water for a beautiful result. Steep 2 tablespoons of dried buds for up to 20 minutes to get the full flavour. 

Remember of course, that any of these teas can be poured over a tall glass filled with ice to transform them into iced tea which makes for a refreshing drink to fill up your drink bottle.