I recently purchased some herbal tea for my children to drink before bedtime. They love the box with the bear in front of the fireplace, they love the idea of having a tea party before bed and we believe the tea helps them to sleep better. I am now looking at a lifetime of night time tea drinking. Instead of spending $4 for a box of 20 tea bags, possibly indefinitely, I decided to try for some DIY bedtime tea. At Christmas time we usually make a big batch of healing herbal tea and package it to give as gifts. I decided to change the mix of herbs and make a children’s bedtime tea.
We could just copy the exact ingredients from the herbal tea box but that’s no fun! I got my beloved Rosemary Gladstar Herbal out and made a list of herbs that would render my children willing and eager to hit the hay at night. Then I visited my pantry to see what I had on hand (only lavender and peppermint saved from the garden) and visited the herb store to get my remaining supplies. Because dried herbs run the gamut from dirt cheap to prohibitively expensive, I used my list as a guide, not a recipe. If something was unavailable or too pricey, I simply left it out. Here are some herbs that are typically included in “Bedtime” mixes. You can use the list to create your own bedtime blend.
• Catnip (use sparingly. It is bitter.)
• Cinnamon (use a few pinches only.)
• Lavender (use sparingly. It has a strong taste.)
• Lemon balm
• Orange peel
• Rose hips (crush in a mortar and pestle or spice mill.)
• St. John’s Wort
• Stevia (a natural sweetener. A little goes a very long way.)
I included the orange peel, cinnamon and stevia for flavor. Stevia is an optional natural sweetener that is very, very potent. A pinch might be enough to sweeten the tea. Figure that each serving of tea uses around a tablespoon of herbs. The beauty of this project is that you can just combine a bunch of herbs in a jar and the tea is ready to be served. The herbs are beautiful and look nice in a glass mason jar, especially if you include the lovely yellow calendula petals.
You can get fancier and make your own tea bags using cut up coffee filters, a sewing machine and embroidery floss. There is an inspiring tutorial for this at A Beautiful Mess. Or if you want individual tea bags but do not want to sew them you can often purchase empty ones at health food stores, Asian grocery or at Mountain Rose Herbs.
You can also make boxes for the tea if you would like to make it as a gift. There are lots of available online. You can also take the easy approach (like we did,) and take an empty cardboard tea box and flatten it out and glue it back together inside out, then decorate it. My children decorated their tea box with night time symbols. You could use stamps or decoupage or pictures of the herbs you used and make it really unique.
Are there any herbs that I should have included?
Photos by Sarah Hart Boone