Did you know tea can be used for more than just drinking it? Essentially, herbal tea is the grown plant, harvested, dried and then steeped in hot water as a calming or refreshing beverage treasured for its aromatic taste and benefits to your health. Many of the herbs used in our most well-loved and common herbal teas can be used in more ways than one.
Similar to your hot beverage, you can turn your hot bath into a pot of your favorite herbal tea and soak in it! This allows you to experience the benefits of certain herbs such as lavender, peppermint, chamomile and lemon balm through the skin by adding them to your warm bath. If you add them loosely, be sure to protect your drain using a mesh cover. You can also add them to large sized bath tea bags or muslin cotton bags. Soaking in certain herbs helps to not only release their scent but allows you to gain their medicinal properties without oral consumption.
Some herbs can be burned as incense when lit in a fireproof and heat tolerant dish or when arranged into a handheld bushel. Lavender, for example, has a light and refreshing floral scent when burned. Herbal incense can be used as a home air freshener or for aromatherapeutic purposes.
Dried herbs can also make incredibly decorative potpourri with a mild scent for your home. Arrange your dried plants in an attractive bowl or in a basin as a colorful home accent. You can even add dried chamomile or lavender to sachets. Securely seal them. Place inside of your bedroom pillow for a soothing scent to help you relax. Try a combination of dried herbs and flowers for the perfect look and scent.
Tinctures are a concentrated version of the herb that is taken orally. You can make tinctures at home using freshly grown herbs. With lemon balm, for example, chop the lemon balm leaves and keep in an airtight glass jar filled to the brim with high grain alcohol. Store the mixture for 6 weeks. Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. Once the herb is separated from the alcohol, pour the strained liquid into dropper bottles. You have just created your own lemon balm tincture! Unlike herbal teas, the mixture is to be taken sparingly using only a few drops of the liquid under your tongue when needed.
Depending on the specific herb used, you can create your own herbal oils. Herbal oils can be used anywhere from flavoring meals to moisturizing your skin and hair. Similar to tinctures, they are fairly simple to make. For peppermint oil, for example, chop and crush fresh peppermint leaves. Place them in an airtight glass jar filled to the brim with olive oil. Store them in the sunlight allowing them to steep. 2 days or more is best. Shake the jar periodically. Strain the oil removing the leaves using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
As you can see, herbs that make excellent teas can also be enjoyed in other ways! Freshly grown herbs at-home can always come in handy and can make it easier to utilize their variety of purposes!