Friday, August 02, 2013

Drying and gathering herbs for infusions - What's your tipple?

We are making the most of the hot dry weather and gathering supplies to make a range of infusions to drink. Luis has always taken infusions but for me, there is nothing like a strong cup of coffee.

On a recent Skype consultation with Lucy Jones from the Myrobalan Clinic, part of the advice offered was to drastically reduce my caffeine intake as she felt it was partly to blame for a range of minor health problems I had been experiencing. Since reducing my coffee and switching to herbal infusions, and increasing my hydration generally, most of my symptoms have subsided and I am feeling much better.

Whilst the growing season is in full swing we are gathering and drying: Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Mint and Chamomile. These will be stored in air-tight jars and will last us most of the year.

There is a problem with our chamomile though - by itself it has a really bitter after taste. We were sure it was the German Chamomile and not the English which can be bitter. I will probably source another plant when I am next in the UK just in case.

We also use rosemary, wild fennel, green and black tea, sage and dried liquorice. We have started blending our own infusions and making note of combinations that taste refreshing, warming or restorative as required.

In addition, we are growing for the first time, Stevia to dry and use as a sweetener. We managed to buy a small plant in Oviedo and up to now we are pleased with the results. We rarely use refined sugar and normally use honey sourced from a vet who keeps bees. We pay around €5 per kilo and order 30 kilos a year for home use. Introducing Stevia will help reduce the calorie intake a little.


I have read about adding spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or cayenne so I will be experimenting with these in the coming months.

What's your tipple?

Do you drink infusions?

If so, what do you recommend? I'm sure we have lots more usable plants and herbs in the garden but we are a bit unsure what to try...Suggestions?

Coffee breaks have been replaced with tea-breaks, cake or biscuits replaced with foraged nuts, what could be better than iced tea on a summer's afternoon...

By the way, if you are looking for a consultation with a Registered Medical Herbalist, I can recommend Lucy Jones who I found to be really thorough, helpful and insightful. Myrobalan Clinic


  1. Sorry you´ve been under the weather. I only drink iced tea, being an American barbarian, but remember reading about a cold remedy that sounded interesting. Slice a whole lemon and a knob of ginger into a jar, cover with honey and allow to infuse in the fridge. Add to your preferred tea or infusion as you like.

    1. We love iced tea but find it difficult to get good tea in Cafe bars and get strange looks when we ask for ice...

  2. Hi Ian, what part of the Fennel do you use? I have all our fennel plants to harvest in the next day or so, is there any way I can use the wonderful foliage either dried or frozen?

    1. Hi Anne - around here the locals dig the wild fennel and use the root but we would use the seeds. I understand you can also dry the feathery bits and use that which I might try this year. I suspect alone it might be too strong but as a mix with other herbs and leaves it might be acceptable.


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