Just a short note about two of the mainstay tea herbs in our garden, Lemon balm and Holy Basil (Kapoor Tulsi). Both have distinct flavors and are very yummy and soothing. I use each as a one-ingredient cup of bliss, or you can add other herbs to complement their flavors. My favorite recipes:

Stearns Blend – Lemon balm, Apple mint, and Lemon verbena (or a new herb for us soon to be ready – Moldavian balm).

Penelope’s Brew – Holy basil, Spearmint and Anise Hyssop (soon to be ready).

These dried tea blends have been included in past Winter Shares. Be creative and always remember the honey!

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

The patron herb of bees, lemon balm encourages a bounty of sweetness in the world—not only does it gladden the heart, but it’s traditionally planted near honeybee hives to dissuade the bees from swarming (they adore lemon balm’s aroma).

With bright green leaves that waft an uplifting lemony fragrance into the air, lemon balm is known to levitate the spirit. It is especially helpful for digestive problems that are exacerbated by stress or mood. The calming effects of lemon balm extend to the nervous system, where it is used for anxiety and panic attacks.

The heavenly smell of lemon balm comes from its content of volatile oils, which are responsible for many of its medicinal properties. These oils dissipate particularly quickly when lemon balm is dried and so it is best to use it fresh where possible. It can be made into syrups, tinctures or honeys, or frozen in ice cube trays to preserve its fresh lemon scent. Lemon balm will be available all summer. Harvest by following cutting guide on the yellow dot. Wash, bundle to hang and dry. Dried or fresh – make a cup of tea.

Holy Basil – Kapoor Tulsi (Ocimum africanum)

Tulsi is one of the best herbs to grow for tea. It smells like heaven in a teacup and also in the garden when you walk by; when it’s flowering, all of the little pollinators think so, too. The flavor is a little fruity with an accent of clove, making it seem slightly sweet. Sacred basil has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen and for helping to alleviate stress. Other strains of tulsi are more commonly grown in tropical areas, however this temperate strain is more cool-weather tolerant than sweet basil and other sacred basil varieties. It produces lots of healing and delicious aromatics. 

Questions? Feel free to reach out to me – tina.marcus10@gmail.com