Many of the plants I read about and see can be used for tea. Some must be dried first, and some can be used dried or fresh. I would like to start with the most common ones first. These plants can be found almost anywhere. I found these three growing in my yard upstate.
While mowing the lawn Sunday, I smelled the familiar spicy-minty smell of ground ivy, also known as gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, catsfoot, and several other localized nicknames. Ground ivy is a small ground cover that frequently runs amok at the edges of lawns and around buildings. It has fan-shaped, toothed, opposed leaves, and produces small funnel-shaped blue to violet flowers. It grows with runners, and will appear like many small vines tangled in the other weeds that grow at the edges of landscaped areas.
Crushing and smelling the leaves will confirm that you have ground ivy. It has a distinctively mint-like odor. Tea from ground ivy should be made from dried leaves. I did some research on the uses for ground ivy tea. The medicinal uses are extensive.
It can be used to treat problems involving the mucous membranes of the ear, nose, throat and digestive system like glue ear, sinusitis, throat and chest problems, kidney diseases and indigestion among others. Research is being performed on ground ivy's effectiveness as a treatment for many serious diseases. It is a good source of vitamin C.
I also found two other very common plants for tea. White and red clover. White clover is common in most lawns and produces the familiar round white flowers. Red clover has larger leaves, with purple flowers. The name is a bit of a misnomer since the flowers aren't really red. Both white and red clover make good tea when dried whole with leaves and flowers. These two are listed as good cough treatments and like ground ivy contain vitamin C and are good for respiratory issues. An excellent website to research these and other medicinal herbs is Plants For A Future.
I picked a few handfuls of all three of these plants, washed them well in a strainer, and dried them in a warm oven (180 degrees F) for about 2 hours spread out on a cookie sheet. A fine screen or grid works even better. Then I shredded and crushed the results and stored in a glass jar. To brew, put about a teaspoon of finely shredded tea for every 5 ounces of water into a tea ball or infuser, and brew for 10 minutes in hot water. I added honey to mine and passed it around the lunch table. Everyone agreed it was pleasant and soothing. I need to find a larger stand of ground ivy so I can make more. I seem to have mowed quite a bit of it down!