In an attempt to economically support my new found pastime, I’ve decided upon this weeks’ DIY (do it yourself) project!
MAKING TEABAGS FROM THE
HERBS IN MY GARDEN!
It’s unbelievably easy and you’re saving money that would be otherwise unnecessarily spent. If you already have a herb garden then great for you! Otherwise you can bum a stalk of your favorite tea herb from a friend, get some info on planting and caring for said herb then plant it. Thus starting your own garden!
Or if you really just like spending money and you don’t care for the benefits and potential feeling of success that one gets from gardening, you may continuously go down to the store to purchase fresh herbs from the grocery weekly/monthly.
For this blog post I’m using the herb, Rosemary. The name is derived from the Latin name, rosmarinus, ‘ros’ meaning dew and ‘marinus’ meaning sea. Hence “dew of the sea”. Rosemary acquired it’s name because in many locations it needs no other water to live than humidity being carried by sea breezes. A herb after my own heart aha.
Let’s do this!
What you need:
>tea bag material (I used previously used teabags, cleaned them out, left them to dry overnight, then used them again)
>leaves of the herb you decided upon
>’no meat’ chopping board
Step 1: Getting your herb
Find some herbs that you like to drink or have at your disposal. If you can’t think of any, some regular ones such as Mint or Chamomile or Rosemary as in my case are good places to start. I’d advise you however to do some research on the benefits of different herbs and some of the risks that you may be exposing yourself to especially in cases of pregnant women.
When you know which herb you will be using, go get it! If it is a herb from your garden then you should head online and find out when is the best time to harvest your particular herb. In my case, Rosemary, should be harvested on a dry morning before the atmosphere gets particularly warm. Do your research for optimal tea.
Step 2: Preparing your herbs for a new life
Now that you’ve selected and harvested/purchased/bummed your preferred herb get on to the cutting, washing and drying of them. Decide whether or not you will be using bits of the entire stem or just the leaves as i did. Pick the leaves off then run some water over them and use your fingers to get off anything that shouldn’t be there. If you have a soap that you feel comfortable using on something that you’re going to be ingesting then be my guest. My garden is chemical free so I don’t have much to wash off besides possibly some dust.
If you live in a climate where your garden will not be producing year round or the herb that you would like to use isn’t deciduous then you should place the air/paper towel dried leaves flat on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes at around 200°F to dry out. Whatever leaves you do not use at once may be stored in an airtight jar and stored in a cool area for future use.
For regular use and drying, simply leave them to air dry or use a paper towel to lightly dab at them until they are dry. In the case of Rosemary, and many other herbs, if they are flowering it is fine to also include the flowers in your mix of leaves.
Next use a sharp knife and chop them up on your ‘no meat’ chopping board or leave the leaves 😉 whole depending on their size and how you feel. I chopped mine. Gather them together and prepare them for packaging.
Step 3: Preparing the Teabag Material*
*If you are infusing your leaves directly into your tea, this step is unnecessary for you to follow.
I used old tea bags that were made of some sort of organic material and pressed together for sealing the length of it. Thus while effective while in use, it was not difficult to pull apart for reuse.
Ensure that the paper is dry. Bring across your chopped/whole herb leaves.
Step 4: Teabag Making Time
Fold the sheet in half from the longest side like shown above. The lower centers of each of those halves are essentially the ‘bags’ that your herb leaves will be in. Next place about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tsp. of the leaves onto the sheet. Refer to the picture below for directions on placement.
The other part of this step is the folding of the sheet to create your teabag. I dipped my fingertips in some water to make rolling the paper easier. Bring the outer edges of the longest side of the sheet together and roll them as highly as possible for about 1cm. Then, press them together and lower the folds onto the enclosed herbs, pressing out the edges with your finger tips or press it beneath the chopping board for sharp sides.
Your bag is starting to shape up now and that’s pretty rad! Next take a piece of string and lay it across the halfway mark on the sheet, between to two deposits of herb leaves. If you want to do it as quickly as possible you can decide to not place the string at the half mark and move very quickly when folding the two ends together so that the two piles of herbs are onto of each other in. If you used the string method; pull the string firmly to ensure that none of the herbs can move freely from one pile to another, then fold the ends together so that there is a pocket of herbs on each side of the bag.
Step 5: Sealing the Bag
Now you have a folded sheet with two pockets of herbs. The next step is for you to fold the top of the bag in a manner that will ensure that what’s in stays in and what’s out stays out. The best way is to fold the end of the sheet as you would the edge on a rectangular gift. Bring the two outer corners together at the center, then fold the now triangular point down on top of what were the outer edges. Refer to the picture below if you don’t understand.
Then you can choose to either use a stapler to seal the fold together and attach the string or you can use a needle and the string to make a few loops to seal the bag shut and the string on. While the teabags I got the material from previously used the needle and string technique, I used the stapler, to save some effort and time. I don’t think any way is particularly better than the other. If you want an all natural look then don’t use a staple. If you want to reuse the bag then don’t make too many passes with the needle and string.
The entire process, post acquiring leaves and reading, takes only about half of an hour. The time period will increase or decrease depending on the number of bags that you are making. All in all it was really relaxing and does not require much physical effort. It’s safe for children to join in on this project once they are old enough to determine what to put into their mouth and what not too. I enjoyed making these teabags and I’m sure to make more and variations in the future. Near future. I didn’t get any prior instruction on making tea bags, it was a on a whim project and luckily my camera was charged so I got to take some pictures along the way. As usual please don’t use my images without my permission, I’d really appreciate that.
As child I was forced to drink tea as part of breakfast every morning and I hated it. Hot beverages weren’t my thing. In recent times though I’ve begun to study the benefits of essential oils and using them for their benefits versus regular drugs and supplements. It is entirely confusing! I still have a lot more reading to do and speaking to others who use that method. In the meanwhile though I started drinking tea again. No milk, no sugar, herb tea. It’s relaxing and refreshing, now I understand my mother’s love for tea although I would say that I’m not on her level. So cheers to life with tea.
Benefits & Cautions
Rosemary- Increases circulation to the brain reducing the formation of Alzheimer’s disease later in life as well as calms indigestion. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it poses a threat to pregnant women who consume the herb in large quantities as it possess uterine-stimulating properties.
Mint– Promotes digestion and is a quick remedy for nausea, it is effective at clearing congestion from the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs that is associated with the common cold.
Chamomile- From my own usage I can attest to the fact that Chamomile tea is relaxing, I drink it most afternoons now. It is said to be relieve anxiety and ease insomnia, while boosting the immune system. It relieves colic in babies as well. You may be allergic to the herb Chamomile if you have an allergy to any plant in the Asteraceae (compositae) family such as: ragweed, echinacea, dandelions, arnica, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, feverfew, calendula or asters.
There are lots of benefits to using herbs in your diet but you are not certain as to what effect a particular herb may have on you. Hence it is always a good idea and recommended to slowly introduce this new herb into your diet in small quantities to establish whether it is having an adverse reaction on you or not.
Also, prior to having any invasive medical procedure you should discuss the herbs that you use with your doctor. You may have to stop using some for a period of time before the procedure due to blood thinning properties possessed.
I’m not a physician/doctor/herbalist, I’m a gal who’s getting a bunch of those FDA approved foods and drugs that are actually pretty harmful, out of my diet and opting in for more natural remedies and nutrition. I’ve read extensively on different herbs, their benefits, drawbacks and potential harms. DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY. Check with your local herbalist for more info and instruction on using herbs. I can recommend the National Geographic’s special publication, ‘Nature’s Best Remedies’ if you are now beginning your research on herbs, there is a lot of information in there.
Enjoy your tea!
Grow your own.
Have an awesome week and thanks for reading! Have you used any herbs or herbal remedies recently? Share them below and your thoughts on growing your own produce. Let me know!