Your peppermint tea tastes like weeds? Really? You grew the peppermint. You’re pretty sure it’s a real peppermint plant. It said so on the little tag when you brought it home from the nursery.
When you ate the raw leaf, sure there was a hint of weedy-ness, but the peppermint was so strong it burned your mouth a little. However, after you steeped it, your tea tasted like weeds with the far-off memory of mint tickling the back of your mind. What happened? Did nature wrong you?
There could be many reasons your peppermint tea doesn’t taste right (location or proximity to other plants, weed sprays, pesticides, soil nutrients, water…), but, in my opinion, the properties of menthol are the biggest. I whined to a Facebook garden group about my weedy tasting tea and ended up learning much more from them than I did in online searches.
Peppermint and spearmint contain menthol. Menthol, a cyclic alcohol, is the compound responsible for the strong, minty flavor of peppermint and spearmint plants. Have you ever heard that when you cook with alcohol the alcohol burns off or cooks out? That’s why nobody’s getting drunk off chicken Marsala. The Marsala wine has cooked out.
NOT SO HOT
So, back to your tea kettle… Did you use boiling, hot water to steep your tea? Guess what? Your mint cooked out. The reason your peppermint tea tastes like weeds is because you’re drinking water infused with boiled weeds, I mean mint-less plant matter. If you’re lucky, a tiny bit of mint flavor survived.
My garden friends, almost unanimously, agreed that peppermint tea needs to be steeped in merely hot water, nothing close to boiling. It saves the mint flavor and isn’t hot enough to boil the flavors of the plant part into the water.
So, yes, steep your tea right in the cup or in a loose-leaf teapot. Just don’t steep it with boiling, hot water. One of my Facebook garden friends tells me she stuffs a quart mason jar with clean, fresh mint, fills it with cold, tap water, and sets it in the sun to steep. When it has steeped enough she strains it into liter bottles and drinks it cold. Sounds refreshing.
The content of this site is for informative, educational, entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute professional, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nursing or pregnant woman should use caution and seek medical guidance when using herbal supplements.
A member of the Asteraceae (daisy) family, chamomile is a cheerful little flower with an impressive array of benefits. When the remains of Pharaoh Ramses II (1100 BC) were chemically analyzed, chamomile was a prevalent herbal ingredient in the embalming oil. Also good for the living, this little flower is famous for its calming, nervine effect. It is a friend to any garden. Because it is anti-microbial and anti-fungal it protects nearby plants.
BENEFITS OF CHAMOMILE
Anti-microbial (Room temperature chamomile tea is good for soaking garden seeds in before planting because it is antimicrobial. It’s good for seeds with damping-off disease or mold issues.)
Anti-inflammatory properties, especially when used as a topical
Antioxidant (acetylene and chamazulene derivatives)
Sleep-aid—Take tea made from flowers a half hour before bedtime.
Pain relief—when taken internally or used topically
Helps with intestinal problems (anodyne compounds which are anti-spasmodic ease constipation.)
Kidney restorer—heals and protects kidneys, not just a diuretic
Helps with Jaundice
Helps with Hepatitis
Helps with Menstrual cramps
Helps with Crohn’s disease
Helps with Hemorrhoids
Eye health (warm, soaked bags of chamomile tea of the eyes assists with eye swelling and with dark circles under the eyes.)
Sinus congestion relief (eases inflammation of mucous membranes in nose, throat, and mouth)
Molecular Medicine Reports journal article lists conditions that might be improved, using chamomile (Source 3)
Cancer (apigenin antioxidants have been shown to counteract ovarian, breast, prostate, and skin cancers.)
CAUTIONS FOR CHAMOMILE
The content of this site is for informative, educational purposes only. It does not constitute professional, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nursing or pregnant woman should use caution and seek medical guidance when using herbal supplements.
It is important to note that those allergic to ragweed and chrysanthemums could be allergic to chamomile.
Chamomile contains coumarin, which increases the risk of bleeding. It should be avoided by those with bleeding disorders.
This is by no means a complete list of cautions. Research chamomile and consult with your doctor to see if it is right for you.
MAJOR TYPES OF CHAMOMILE
German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) grows 1-3’ tall.
Self-seeding annual (will seed itself for next year)
Commonly used in gardens.
Produces more flowers than the Roman chamomile
Most commonly used for teas.
Flowers smell like green apple candy.
Flowers can be eaten raw.
They have a lightly tart and medicinal flavor.
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile):
Lower growing (floppy)
Like a matting, creeping ground cover.
Though it can be used for tea, it is not commonly used.
More bitter than German chamomile
St. John’s or Dyers Chamomile:
Completely yellow flower
Can be used for tea
Start with premoistened, slightly compacted soil.
Chamomile’s tiny seeds are light-dependent and need to be surface sown.
Scatter seeds over soil.
With a dry finger, compress seeds down so they adhere to soil.
Use a spray bottle on a gentle setting to water the seeds.
In 10-14 days the chamomile seeds will sprout.
Thin the plants to one inch apart when they’re large enough. When transplanting to the garden, space them 8 inches apart for larger plants.
Prefers full sun
Spring crops thrive best, but summer crops are possible.
Prefers regular watering
Pluck mature flowers, when flowers are fully open. Note that immature, white flower petals hang down, clinging near the stem. A mature flower will be fully open with the white petals framing the yellow center.
The flower is the medicine.
Slide two fingers to the top of the stem and pop the flowers off.