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Herbal Tea, grow your own

Herbal teas from the organic garden

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If the cold, winter days are making you feel a little run down, then maybe a warm cup of tea made from some regular garden herbs is just the thing to lift your spirits, writes PHIL DUDMAN.

Thyme is fabulous for flavouring food, but did you know it’s also a well-known antiseptic? A brew of thyme leaves is very effective for soothing a sore throat. You can sip it if you like…or let it cool and use it as a gargle. In the garden, it’s an easy herb to grow where there’s plenty of sun and good drainage. If your drainage is poor, grow it in a pot.

Peppermint tea can also take the edge off a winter cold. It’s good for settling an upset stomach too. This one loves to grow in a rich, moist soil and is suited to both sun and shade positions, but like all mints, it can take over if you’re not careful, so give it plenty of space, or try growing it in a big pot to keep it contained.

When you’re feeling on edge, try a soothing cup of lemon balm tea. It’s said to have a calming effect on the nervous system, and it’s a very pleasant tea to taste that even kids may enjoy. Lemon balm is easy to grow in sun and semi-shade.

Perhaps the best-known calmative herb is chamomile. For some, a warm cup of chamomile tea in the evening guarantees a good nights sleep. Chamomile grows happily in full sun to part shade. To make a brew, use the small white flowers. You can harvest and dry them for storage when they’re in full summer bloom.