Mother Nature provides us with the tools for good health. One of the pleasures of a herb garden is the harvest of leaves and flowers which can be infused into such teas.
Herb teas are healthful, delightful to the senses, and will increase our scale of appreciation, for when we imbibe drinks of new ingredients, we are more conscious of the variations in flavors and fragrances than when taking the habitual China tea, cocoa, or coffee every morning upon arising.
When we see what subtle means the Chinese employ to flavor their teas, we realize how sensitive they must be to shadings in taste and smell. They flavor certain of their teas with jasmine and others with orange blossoms, or the petals of roses, or peonies. We, too, can put the petals of the damask or Provence roses in with the leaves of sage, bee balm, or costmary for a day or two to flavor them and then sift them out, or if we live in the South, mix jasmine flowers or orange blossoms in with the dried leaves of the herbs to flavor our homemade teas, as the Chinese do in their more intricate and expert way.
People all over the world from the most primitive to the highest stages of civilization have steeped herbs in hot water. Infusions of sage leaves have been given for colds, chamomile flowers or peppermint leaves for indigestion, and balm to bring out perspiration, and countless others for their soothing or stimulating qualities. At one end of the scale are the American Indians, who drink herbs steeped in hot water as medicine, and in the middle are the Europeans from south to north who drink teas for health as well as pleasure, while at the furthermost peak of civilization are the Chinese who, before the Japanese had made a religious rite of drinking tea, had laid the foundation for the tea ceremony of the latter country.