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Join Nicole and Ceanne from Farmhouse Teas as they talk about how to make your own tea blends to create medicinal teas with our herb garden.
What You’ll Learn
- How to blend medicinal teas for your specific ailments
- What is the medicinal tea triangle?
- Where to source herbs that you can’t grow
- How to properly brew medicinal teas
- The proper way to store tea for maximum shelf life and potency
Our guest today is CeAnne from FarmHouse Teas. CeAnne grows both her own food and their own botanicals for tea to support not just our families well being but also to help others find health through natural, local and seasonal food and drink.
Resources & Links Mentioned
- FarmHouse Teas Online
- FarmHouse Teas Instagram
- St. Fiacres YouTube
- FarmHouse Teas Facebook
- Medicinal Tea Blending Class*
- Email us! Ask@HeritageAcresMarket.com
*Denotes affiliate links
Medicinal Teas in Small Spaces
Take simple and common herbs and turn them into powerful medicinal teas! Imagine if you could take common herbs and confidentially turn them into powerful medicines that improved your own wellness as well as that of your family and friends. Medicinal Teas in Small Spaces will give you the lifetime learning and foundations necessary for your herbal medicine journey!
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Announcer: Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast from heritageacresmarket.com, where we talk about all things backyard, poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living, and more. And now here's your host, Nicole.
Nicole: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host, Nicole, and today we're joined by CeAnne with Farmhouse Teas. We're going to talk about how to make teas, the process and what we need to do to make our own delicious homemade blends. CeAnne, thank you so much for joining me today.
CeAnne: Thanks for having me, Nicole.
Nicole: We did an episode a couple of weeks back so this is our second one together. That's super exciting.
CeAnne: Yeah, I'm glad to be back.
Nicole: Today we're going to talk about making our own teas, which I think is something that a lot of people probably haven't even considered that it's a possibility to make their own tea, short of maybe some camomile that they grew in the garden. You specialize in the medicinal teas. Is that accurate?
CeAnne: We started out as a medicinal tea company and there's a lot of legalities around marketing medicinal teas, because you can't call it a medicine. There's some legal things that would get you into the drug labeling and that kind of thing. So we drifted towards teas more for sipping. We do have some wellness blends. We found that it's easier to teach people how to make their own medicinal teas than necessarily market them that way.
Nicole: I guess that makes sense. There can be certain stipulations that make things challenging, just like essential oils.
CeAnne: Yes. All herbal medicine, I think.
Nicole: If we wanted to get started with making our own medicinal tea, where's the starting point?
CeAnne: Oh, there could be lots of starting points. It's going to depend on whether you want to just start blending right now and you're going to buy dried herbs or if you're wanting to grow your own and you've got some out in the garden. There's two different paths there. Down the road, either way, no matter which path you choose, the key to blending medicinal teas is using the medicinal tea triangle. That helps you formulate your teas so that they work to their best.
Nicole: What is the medicinal tea triangle?
CeAnne: The tea triangle is broken down into three sections. It's got different types of herbs, their properties and what they do. The base of the triangle, you have your primary herbs. Those are going to be the ones that you probably pick and think of first for whatever your issue is. If you've got like a digestive issue and you're wanting to make a blend for that, those are going to be your primary herbs.
CeAnne: The middle part of the triangle is called the supportive herbs. Those are going to be the ones that are nourishing the body. They're supporting the body. Things that are full of vitamins and it could also be supportive in the way of flavor. Then at the top of the triangle you've got the catalyst herbs.
CeAnne: We think of a catalyst as in the person at the head of the army that's leading them all. That's the same with herbs. The catalyst herb is going to be the one that stimulates your body, helps get the blood flowing, it's also going to help get your digestive system going, it's going to help you absorb those herbs and get them moving into the right places and doing the right things.
Nicole: I'm going to build off this on a second. What would you say is the most common ailment that people want to make their own tea for?
CeAnne: I don't know if there's one, but there's probably a handful in our day and age. Life's really busy and so stress and anxiety are at the top of the list. Digestive issues. That could include IBS or Crohn's. Anything like that. You could probably put weight loss in there. I would say the fourth one would be arthritis or joint, back pain. Sorry about that.
Nicole: It's alright.
CeAnne: That was supposed to be turned off.
Nicole: No worries.
CeAnne: Those are probably the four that we hear about the most. You might throw in there cold and flu and acute issues.
Nicole: Let's say that I decided that I wanted to make a tea for stress relief. A general, after-work, before-bed, stress-relief kind of tea.
CeAnne: A wind down night-time tea.
CeAnne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Nicole: You mentioned the medicinal tea triangle. How do I even go about figuring out which teas I should use with this triangle?
CeAnne: We have foundational learning in our course that goes with blending these teas. Part of that is learning about herbal monographs and putting together a materia medica, which is basically an herbal journal, a reference guide. As you study individual herbs, find out all their medicinal properties and everything that goes along with that, you have this guide you can look up herbs for those things and use that as your base for filling out your tea triangle.
Nicole: When it comes to building the tea triangle how do we know that all of the flavors are going to get along well?
CeAnne: With medicinal teas that can be a little tricky, because a lot of medicinal herbs, they don't necessarily taste that fantastic. People are probably going, "Yeah, I have had medicinal tea before. It tasted horrible. I'm not getting it down." To get them to taste good I think a little bit of experience comes along with that. You've got to mesh the knowledge of blending teas for flavor along with blending teas for medicinal purposes and try and find your happy middle. That's going to change for each person because everyone's got flavor preferences. Things they like and things they don't like.
Nicole: You mentioned earlier, in your course... I guess we should say that you do have a course in medicinal teas. I'm sorry, blending them.
CeAnne: Yes. Blending, growing and preserving.
Nicole: As we talk about this, if somebody decides that they want to go ahead and blend their own teas, is that available on your website?
CeAnne: Yes. We actually have a different website. It can be found on our Farmhouse Teas' page too. Our educational site is called Grow, Create and Sip. So it'd be growcreatesip.com. All of the info on the course and future courses are there.
Nicole: Great, because I know that right now if I was to try to make a medicinal tea triangle I would be so lost.
CeAnne: It's a detailed process, which is why we created a course on it because it can be complicated. It involves a lot of prior information and knowing a bit of herbalism. But it can be simple too if you have the right tools.
Nicole: I assume the course is one of those tools.
CeAnne: Yes, definitely. It always helps to have a hand held and a guide.
Nicole: Absolutely. As we go along the process of creating our wind-down tea. We've looked at the triangle and we've picked some herbs. How do we go about sourcing the herbs? Let's say we can't grow all of them in our garden.
CeAnne: A lot of us can't grow a lot of things like cinnamon or anise. Those things that grow in really, really warm climates and they only come from certain parts of the world. We source teas from all over the place depending on what we need. But we look for quality as well as it being affordable. We try and mesh those two and meet in the middle so that we're not spending a fortune on herbs.
CeAnne: We're also making sure we get good quality, because otherwise our medicinal tea or medicine is not going to be high quality. A few of those places we like to source from are Starwest Botanicals, Mountain Rose Herbs, Monterey Bay Spice. If we're looking for something really specific that those places don't carry, we hunt around until we find what we're looking for.
Nicole: We'll all assume that we went through the process. So we've made a tea that we like and that it's balanced and flavorful. First, what's the best way to brew the tea? How do we know how to brew it to get the best nutrient or antioxidant release?
CeAnne: Most people are used to a cup of tea made from a tea bag. We really don't want to use those when we're brewing medicinal teas. It's okay every once in a while if you have an unbleached teabag. But a study just came out showing the bleached teabags are made with microplastics. So we're steeping that in our tea and those things don't leave our bodies very well. When we're doing tea for medicine we really want to skip that.
CeAnne: The other reason you don't want to use a teabag is because usually those herbs in there are really old. They're ground up or maybe the dust that's left at the bottom of the barrel after the loose leaf tea's taken off the top. We want to get quality herbs and we want to get whole herbs. Then we want to brew them differently for medicine. We want to steep them for a longer time. Usually 10 to 15 minutes if you're doing an infusion. Then we're going to use a larger amount of herb too.
CeAnne: Instead of the teaspoon that's usually used it's usually going to be a tablespoon or more. You're doing three to four times the amount. When you have a loose leaf tea, my favorite way to steep that is with a tea press or what some people might know as a French press, if you're a coffee drinker. That's a really simple way to steep it. You just throw it in, put the water on top, push the plunger down and let it steep.
Nicole: I didn't realize that you brewed it longer because I know most of my teas are only two to five minutes probably.
CeAnne: Yeah, two to five. You're looking at 10 to 15 if you're doing a leaf infusion. If you're doing a root infusion, like dandelion, chicory or burdock, you're going to want to put those in a pot on the stove and you actually going to want to simmer them and cook the water down halfway. So you're looking at maybe 20 to 30 minutes to make a decoction, because those roots are really thick and dense and it takes a long time to get the medicinal properties out. So they need to be steeped different than a peppermint.
Nicole: Yeah, that makes sense. When we're in between enjoying our tea, how do we go about storing our tea so that it lasts the longest?
CeAnne: I get that question a lot. "How do I know this herb is still good? Do they go bad?" Dry goods, and specifically herbs for tea, they don't go bad like the leftovers in your refrigerator. The leftovers are going to get moldy, they're going to get smelly and you know that they are bad. With the herbs, they don't necessarily just go bad. They slowly degrade over time. They might fade. They might get brittle. They might turn a darker color. They're going to lose their flavor and their medicinal qualities over time.
CeAnne: We just need to use our senses to be able to tell if those are good herbs or not. If moisture gets in there... Moisture's the enemy of dried goods. You're going to know because it's going to mold and then you can just toss those out or compost them. When we're storing them to keep them from getting that way, we want to remember two things. To keep them out of direct sunlight because light is going to make them fade.
CeAnne: Then we want to pay attention to our storage container. We can use clear glass if it's out of sunlight. Otherwise, an amber-color container or in a dark-color bag that's in a plastic tote. Keeping them stored that way will keep them fresher longer. Then we just want to keep them in a cool, dry spot and out of moisture so that we don't get that moisture in the dried herbs.
Nicole: How long would you say the average dried tea is good for?
CeAnne: When we're blending on the farm, we put a best buy date of about 18 months. It's just going to depend on how it's stored. Today I was just putting some herbs in jars. They're two years old and they are ones that we grew ourselves. They look fresher than some of the ones that we've bought before, which don't have to have a date on them. So I don't know how old the ones we buy are. Again, we just have to use our senses to know if they're good or bad. It's going to depend on how they're stored and how they were harvested even.
Nicole: It sounds like this process of blending tea... By the time we try to figure out which ones that we want for our triangle, then either growing them, sourcing them and then the actual process of blending them and storing them, it sounds like this is something that is a little bit labor intensive. Would you agree with that?
CeAnne: The actual blending of the tea it doesn't take much time. It's maybe formulating your tea blend, making sure you have the right ingredients, you have the right set up and all of that. I would say that once you have the knowledge, it probably would only take you 5 to 10 minutes to blend a tea for an ailment.
Nicole: It's probably not as overwhelming as it really sounds.
Nicole: Do you have any other tips, tricks or suggestions for those that are starting out and wanting to start blending their own teas?
CeAnne: Get started with what you have. That includes knowledge and that includes whatever dried herbs you have. If it's basil out of your spice cupboard or you have rosemary growing in your garden, whatever you have, just start there. Start with the one thing. Learn everything you can about basil or rosemary. Whatever the herb is just start brewing sipping tea. Even if it's the stuff in the tea bag. Just get used to flavors and knowing what they do. That's really is the best place to start.
Nicole: I know that that tends to hang people up as they spend so much time preparing and stressing about it. Getting started, the first step, it's sometimes the hardest.
CeAnne: Right. Just movement in the direction is the important thing. Then keep at it and make it a habit.
Nicole: Absolutely. One good step in the right direction of course would be your Medicinal Teas in Small Spaces class.
CeAnne: Yes, we would love to have everybody. It's a foundational course that's really starting at the very beginning with the very basics. You don't have to know anything. Even if you've had a cup of tea, it's just a great place to start.
Nicole: Fantastic. I know that that's something that I'm going to be checking out for a winter project. I can always use more things to keep myself entertained over the winter and then, of course, the great health benefits that come from it as well.
CeAnne: Yeah. With the cold weather it's totally tea season.
Nicole: Absolutely. Awesome. You mentioned also your Farmhouse Teas' website. Where else can people find you?
CeAnne: On YouTube we have free tutorials and videos, and also some farm updates. We're on YouTube under Farmhouse Teas. We're on Instagram under Farmhouse Teas. As well as Facebook. On Facebook, we also have our Grow, Create, Sip page, which has specific tutorials and information on growing, creating, and sipping your own teas.
Nicole: Fantastic. Those all sounded really great resources. CeAnne, I really appreciate you taking the time to join us today and to talk about brewing tea. Something, like I said before, I didn't even think that I could do in. Now I'm inspired and something that I'm going to definitely look into doing this winter.
CeAnne: It's a great winter project.
Nicole: Thank you so much for joining us, CeAnne, and I really appreciate your time.
CeAnne: Thanks for having me again.
Nicole: For those of you listening, thank you so much for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. We'll see you again next week.
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