Anxiety and depression tea, an herbal remedy you can grow!
Are you looking for an EASY and CHEAP herbal method to help cope with anxiety and depression symptoms?
Are you willing to (slightly) flex your green thumb?
I think you’re going to be interested in this post. 🙂
I’ve found a low maintenance and low cost way to consume the benefits of herbs grown specifically for their flavor and medicinal properties.
Here’s the exciting part: the tea made from these herbs have been used for uncountable years and have proven to remedy feelings of anxiety and depression.
It’s easy, and only requires a plot/pot of dirt and/or a window sill, a few seeds/plants and some soul satisfying patience.
Anxiety and depression.
It’s something I struggle with. I wish I didn’t have it and sometimes fantasize what my life would be like without it.
But as my friend Shandra says, “I’m not fond of my illness but we’ve come to an understanding and I work with what I’ve been given.”
I’m pretty sure that LIFE is all about the ability to “work with what I’ve been given”.
One of the ways I’m trying to “make it work” (Tim Gunn fans out there?) is by taking moments throughout my day to show myself: Small Acts Of Kindness, or SAOK (pronounced “Say OK”), as in “Say OK to yourself”. 😉
And one of those SAOK moments, manifests in tea.
Of the drinking kind.
I spent all of last winter researching the medicinal herbs I could grow in my zone, and also the best way to partake of the benefit of those herbs. There are various ways you can consume them, but true to form, I was looking for maximum impact with the least amount of effort.
Making herbal teas kept coming up in my research and what could be easier than picking leaves and covering them with hot water?
I ordered seeds of various ‘tea type’ herbs and with some effort was rewarded by a bounty of a herb garden!
Funny enough, I was kind of apprehensive about making my first cup of tea… What if it didn’t taste good? What if I hated it and did ALL THAT WORK for nothing??!?!
I can confidently say that first cuppa was the best herbal tea I have tasted in my whole life. For reals.
This summer I had so much fun with the whole process, from the growing, tending, to the harvesting, but my real joy was getting up every morning, walking barefoot in the dew and harvesting the leaves and flowers for my daily tea.
It became a contemplative ritual. It allowed me to stop and pause, breathe fresh air, and remind myself that unless I take the time to daily replenish my soul, I can’t offer anything to anyone; let alone function as a semi-normal, human being.
Did I mention it tastes amazing?
And to boot, using different herbs and combining their medicinal properties, I have formulated a tea that actively combats depression and anxiety!
This SAOK is a double whammy – not only am I basking in the mentally restorative powers of gardening, I am consuming a delicious beverage whose components have been shown to help lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
I’ve been drinking about a litre of homegrown herbal tea almost every day for 4 months and feel a lot better. (It also helps that I’ve been seeing a therapist 🙂 another great SAOK).
I fill my teapot (1.5 litre) and have a big cup in the morning. The rest of the tea? I put the entire teapot (with tea ball still in the tea for a few hours) into the fridge and leave it until right before bed, and then drink it as a cold, refreshing infusion that helps my mind wind down enough to sleep. If I don’t get a chance to drink it right away, it can stay in the fridge for about 4 days.
All the herbs have more than one medicinal property and drinking this tea has also really helped with some of my chronic pain issues.
I planted a bunch of different types of tea plants, but through experimenting with flavours have come up with an incredibly easy to grow tea medley that will literally help you FEEL BETTER.
Base herbs used:
- Lemon Balm (perennial) – not only does it help with anxiety and depression, it also effectively treats cold sores, headaches, and eases digestive discomfort.
- Mint (perennial) – not only is this known to relieve fatigue and depression, it also effectively treats colds and congestion, IBS and bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, and promotes digestion.
- Anise Hyssop (perennial) NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH HYSSOP – not only does it treat depression, it also effectively treats cold sores, fever, respiratory infections, gas and bloating, diarrhea, and has anti- cancer properties.
- Lemon grass (tender perennial) – not only does this help with anxiety and stress, it also helps treat spasms, muscle cramps, headaches, high blood pressure, reduce fevers and all manner of bowel issues. (must be brought indoors for winter if you live in a cold climate).
These are the base herbs I use without fail, but I LOVE experimenting with other herbs as well, depending on my medicinal needs for the day.
I sometimes add these herbs for the following reasons:
- Feverfew (re-seeding annual) – for fevers and pain management.
- Chammomile (re-seeding annual) – I’m not a huge fan of the flavour but I have used it when feeling excessively anxious.
- Sea Buckthorne (perennial shrub with berries) – leaves for GI upset, and berries for colds and coughs.
- Lemon zest – for indigestion.
- Raspberry leaves – for mensutral cramps.
There are plenty more herbs that I am excited to experiment with and when I find other great combinations, I will update this post!
Right now my absolute favorite tea concoction is the following recipe:
- Fill LARGE tea infuser ball* with the following proportions: 1/2 mint, 1/4 anise hyssop, 1/4 lemon balm, 4 strips of lemon zest, 1 stalk of lemon grass bundled up.
- Place tea infuser in the pot and then add either: 2 TBSP of home-made cherry syrup and/or honey (I use my backyard sourced honey or a turmeric honey mix depending on how I’m feeling), and only 1 TBSP of each when combining.
- I fill my 1.5 ltr teapot 3/4 full and let sit for 5 minutes. I often swish the tea ball around to make sure that all leaves are saturated.
- Have a cup!
- After its cooled, place the teapot (ball still in tea) in the fridge, and after a few hours remove ball. This creates an “iced tea” infusion, which is slightly more potent than regular tea and is perfect to drink before bed time, especially if you struggle with racing thoughts or insomnia.
These plants are EXTREMELY easy to grow in any type of condition. I know, because I’ve planted all but the lemon grass from seed.
Check out your locally owned garden centre for seeds or plants. You can even get a lemon grass stalk from the supermarket – peel off the outer sets of leaves and put in water. When it roots, pot it up (keep soil moist when establishing roots).
If needed there is a great offer online. If you’re interested in a ‘tea garden’ I would recommend this economical ($21.59), tea garden growing kit:
It comes with anise hyssop, mint and lemon balm, AS WELL as bergamot, calendula, catnip, echinacea, goji berry, heal all, hyssop, and lemon mint seeds.
I am attempting to grow every single one of these plants and can attest to how easy they are to tend.
(affiliate links: see here for full disclosure)
Now that winter is upon us, I potted up the herbs that form the base of my tea: lemon balm, mint and anise hyssop, as well as lemon grass. I have brought them indoors and placed them in a south facing window and under my kitchen counter top grow lamp.
Speaking of which, this is too cool not to share:
You can grow plants even without a window!!
I’m getting one for Andrew’s sunlight deprived office; I’ll let you know what I think!
I love that even in winter, I am growing my own tea!
While all my potted tea herbs are growing well indoors there is a small decrease in size of leaves and speed of production so I am not able to drink as much as I did during the summer. In order to be able to have tea a few times a week, I have 2 pots of each herb growing and I rotate cutting from each.
It is important to fertilize your indoor plants so that they maintain their vigor. I like to use an organic, dry seaweed powder that I buy from the on-line company: ttseeds.com. I like it because it’s unlikely to burn the plants, and it’s also CHEAP! I tiny bit of powder makes up a huge jug and that jug is enough concentrate to mix into 300 liters.
My plan is to multiply the herb plants outside so that next summer I can harvest and dry enough throughout the season so I can have dried herbs during the winter to supplement the days I’m not picking fresh from my indoor pots.
If planting outdoors, you are going to have to keep in mind that mint, as well as lemon balm (member of the mint family), like to spread out and take over whatever dirt they can get their roots into. You will want to keep them growing in a confined space or even potted in ground in order to keep their roots in check.
– Harvesting Tips:
- When collecting the leaves, it’s best to do it in the morning so all the aromatic oils (gives tea its taste and smell) that are on the surface of the leaves, don’t dry out from the sun.
- Choose tender shoots and do not wash them – need to save those yummy oils!
My friend Carissa (who knows her stuff) told me that in order to make great tea you should NOT pour boiling water on the herbs as it can scald the leaves and affect the flavour. It’s best to catch the kettle right before it boils or let it cool a few minutes before pouring.
*It is imperative to know that if you are making tea from fresh leaves you will need more of them than if you were using dried herbs. That means you will have to have the appropriate size tea infuser ball. I find that you CAN’T go below a 3.5 inch/8.5 cm diameter for a teapot over 1 ltr. I bought my tea diffuser ball at Bed Bath & Beyond for $10, but I found an even cheaper option on Amazon: They have two sizes: 8.5 cm for $3.88 and 11 cm for $4.39, depending on the size of your teapot.
So that’s my anxie-tea. 🙂
If you ever come over to my house, I’ll make you a cup and we’ll chat! Tea with friends is my favorite SAOK.
p.s. do you grow tea? What are your favorite plants?! Please tell me! I’m looking for new types of herbs to add to the garden!
p.s.s. If you’ve tasted this tea you should let readers know what you thought! Leave a comment! You know who you are 😉