Collecting herbal tea plants is a great activity
I live in a smaller village and have the opportunity to harvest some of the local medicinal plants I use for making tea. I have lots of herbs around my house, but also inside my garden. I wanted to have the herbs in my garden so I can harvest them easily, without having to walk through the tall grass out in the field, where they normally grow wild. Moreover, they are so beautiful when they bloom, they make a perfect addition to my garden. That's why I dug from the field almost every herb I recognized, such as the St. John's wort, corn flower, chicory, salvia, yarrow, poppies, elecampane and a lemon mint species - and planted them in my garden. More mint came into my garden from my neighbor, who wanted to throw it away, but I said that I would like to have it. Now I know why he wanted it away from his garden, because mint is one of the most invasive herbs. But I don't complain, because at the start of every summer I just pull the plants out from the ground, with the roots and all - thus stopping it from growing and invading - and give some of it to my friends, who are more than grateful for having so much mint for free. Mint is best to pick before it blooms, when the leaves are large and juicy. I harvest all the mint that I want and lay it on some sheets of paper inside my home, cover it with more sheets to prevent dust from falling on them and leave it to dry off for 2-3 weeks. Then, I can take the dry leaves off from their stalk more easily, by grinding them with my hand and deposit them in large boxes or paper bags.
Drying tea plants
Unlike the mint, St. John's wort is a plant which I water daily, for better growth. When it starts to bloom, I pick all the flowers daily and then lay them on a kitchen towel. Some days I forget to pick the blooms and they grow into seed pods, which spread the seeds all around the garden. That's why I have more plants every year, even though the old ones are dying. When the flowers are dry, I put them in a special box, which I always save for depositing St. John's wort flowers for tea.
I have several iron boxes, which I am saving from different plants I consume. Every summer I fill them up with dry leaves and flowers from the tea plants I'm usually using. Most of these boxes are filled with linden, which I buy from the monastery I attend every Sunday. The monks who live there pick the linden flowers and sell them for a small sum of money. This is how we have linden tea all winter long. Same as mint, I lay sheets of paper with linden flowers on them, all around the house and let them dry.
Plantains are good for tea
Another tea I use very much during winter is plantain. It's another herb which grows inside and outside my garden. I just have to wait until the leaves are big enough and then pull them out of the ground. I let all plants I picked to stay in a bucket with water for a while, until the soil clears out from their roots. Then I cut off the roots and wash thoroughly every leaf with fresh water. Then I lay all on kitchen towels, but not one over another - I am arranging them carefully one close to the other, so that every leaf would dry well, without getting moldy from overlapping each other.
Rose hips make a delicious tea
On the field nearby my house grow wild roses and their red, sour hips make a delicious tea. That's why, me and many other people in my village pick those hips when they are ripe and let them dry. Only those need to be crushed when I make tea, so the taste will be stronger from the middle of the hips.
Other tea plants
Last, but not least are the cherry peduncles which I always save and dry for tea.
This summer I had chamomile for the first time in my garden and had a nice crop which I dried off and deposited in a box. I also planted echinacea in my garden from which I pick the leaves for tea.
Careful drying practices result in great tea
You might wonder where do I keep all those sheets of paper and kitchen towels with the tea plants laid down for drying - well, everywhere in my home. They are on the table, on the office desk or even on a spare bed in my spare room. This only lasts for about a month, which is usually between mid-June and mid-July, when I pick most of the tea plants.
But it's good and no one complains (how could they?) because I'm always caring for my family's health and the tea plants are part of it.
Every winter morning I make tea with several of those plants and its taste is amazing, not to mention that it's an organic tea, since all the plants were picked up directly from my garden where I do not use chemicals on them.
If you would like to have such an organic tea, please follow my example and grow the tea plants yourself. In our country, people get paid for harvesting large quantities of tea plants which grow wild in the fields. I think it is a great idea that the medicinal tea plant producers had. Thus, there aren't any plants left unpicked on the field and people can find useful and delicious - moreover, organic - tea plants at the store.