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Herbal Tea

Herbal Teas – Thirst Quencher and Medicine

Let us commemorate all discoverers of those substances that make a refreshing and soothing herbal tea when steeped in hot water. They took high risks as herbs are nothing to be trifled with. Some bring gloomy dreams, others make you ill. Not all that smells nice is nice.
Luckily the times of perilous botanic adventures have been over for long – very long. People knew quite early what herb to brew for what purpose. No matter if as thirst quencher or medicine, they already drank herbal teas before antiquity. Historical evidence dates back to the second and third millennium B.C. It consists of recipes and their effects written down by Egyptians, Chinese and Sumerians.
In contrast to black and green tea, herbal teas usually do not contain caffeine resp. theine. Exceptions are maté (yerba), guarana and cola nut. The main ingredients of the utilised leaves, blossoms or seeds are essential oils (they determine the flavour), vitamins, trace elements and minerals. You want to know more about one or the other herb? Here you go with a little overview:


The spicy-sweet aroma of its tiny fruits reminds a bit of liquorice. Those who have ever had a liquor such as ouzo, sambuca or pastis before ought to know it. Anise grows wild in the eastern Mediterranean region, but is meanwhile also grown in other European regions. Harvest time is late summer.


The grains are brewed as a whole, often together with fennel or anise to reduce the strong flavour. Caraway mainly grows in the Mediterranean area but is also grown in other parts of Europe. It is often used for digestive problems such as bloating (


Out in the nature on hot summer days its scent stands out and makes thirsty. Chamomile is native to all over Europe, where its petals and flower heads belong to the most popular herb teas.

Cola Nut

Not all that is called cola has to be sweet and fizzy. Dried, ground and brewed with hot water, the seeds of the cola nut are rather bitter. However, this herbal tea is ideal for breakfast as it contains caffeine. Home of the cola nut are the tropics.


The blossoms of black elder are dried and sieved before they go into the cup. They refresh with a fruity sweetness. Opinions differ on the question whether elder is a tall bush or small tree. Anyway, it can grow up to thirty three feet.


Since related to anise fennel has a similar taste. It grows up to seven feet high and is spread over the whole world. In temperate regions it can be harvested throughout summer. Its seeds should either be dried or ground before they are used in herb tea.


Confucius says: “He who takes ginger on his journey will much better withstand its hardships.” Actually there are ginger drops against travel sickness. We don’t know whether a sip of ginger tea helps as well, but it will definitely not harm you. Its sweet pungency clears your head and awakens the spirit. It is the so called rhizome that is used for herbal tea – the shoot axis between root and upper part of the plant. Ginger mainly grows in the subtropical zone, yet under good conditions in temperate regions too.


A climbing plant that grows in the deep Amazon Basin. Its peeled, dried and powdered seeds really have it. When brewed as tea they keep you wide awake, and not only for a moment at that. Due to a high concentration of tannins the caffeine works much longer than it does with coffee.


Belongs to the mallow family and grows in warmer regions of the earth. Its dried blossoms make a reddish brew of acidic flavour. Apparently scientists have found out that hibiscus lowers blood pressure (

Lemon Grass

What must it feel like to lie in a field of seven feet high grass that smells like lemon? Try to imagine it while drinking a cup of this South Asian and South American herb – nothing easier than that.

Lime Blossom

When its buds open, the top of the lime tree starts glowing kelly-green. A lot of sunshine arrives up there. Is it its warmth the blossoms pass on with their sweet scent when drunk as herb tea?


As caffeinated lemonade maté has become an insider drink of the hacking scene. The dried and chopped leaves of the South American holly plant Ilex paraguensis are actually called yerba. The word maté originally stands for the vessel yerba is drunk out of.


Also named lemon balm because of the scent. Its dried leaves are used for herbal teas. Originally melissa is a South European plant, that also grows well in temperate regions and already was part and parcel in any medieval cloister garden.


When speaking about mint one usually speaks about peppermint – probably the most common ingredient for herb tea. Among the twenty mint species peppermint is the only one to contain a fairly high ratio of menthol, whose pungency it must owe its name to. The leaves can be brewed in fresh or dried state. Some of our samova mixtures (for example »Green Chill«) also contain spearmint which is a little softer.


Never judge by the look. Sage leaves are wrinkled, hairy and don’t seem tasty at all. But in the teacup they impress with a strong and refreshing flavour. Sage is mainly native to the Mediterranean world and was already loved by the Romans. They named it salvus, which derives from the Latin verb salvere meaning “to be healthy”.

Stinging Nettle

When added to hot water, it is usually dried and doesn’t sting anymore. The painful little hairs on the leaves are gone by then. Among the thirty-five species it is the common nettle that suits for herbal tea. Its soft flavour goes well with a dash of lemon. But be careful not to drink too much: Nettle tea is said to be diuretic.

Our Tip:

Enjoy your herbal tea hot in Winter and ice-cooled in summer. Whoever likes a fruity note adds a shot of natural apple juice. Dried herbs should steep about ten minutes, whereas fresh ones can be removed right after brewing.