It is fall, but the smell of verbena lingers clearly in the air as I brush against it during my autumn garden clean-up. The scent of fresh, balmy lemon is irresistible, and so I pluck a few leaves for a fresh herbal tea, or tisane. This is the tea that I sat down to after a long day in my childhood garden. My mother followed the instructions of the Farmer’s Almanac, which said that October was the time to clean up the garden. And so, every October, we did just that; tying cuttings of thyme and lavender, wrapping the fig tree and rosemary bushes, and plucking leaves of dried mint, honeysuckle, and lemon verbena for tea.
A lemon verbena tisane–a tisane being any kind of herbal steeping that does not include tea leaves–helps promote a relaxing and peaceful state of mind. Light and fragrant, all you need is hot water and leaves of lemon verbena and honeysuckle or jasmine. However, if you want to mix things up from time to time, many other herbs make great accompaniments such as mint, oregano, or sage.
1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves
2 cups hot water–almost boiling, but not quite
1/4 cup honeysuckle leaves
Place your lemon verbena leaves in whatever container you’re using, and pour the hot water over them. Let them steep for however long you like. Since there are no tea leaves to release tannins, you don’t have to worry about over-steeping or burning the brew. The longer you steep the leaves, the more aromatic your tea.
Multiply the recipe as needed for however much tisane you want to make. If you are using any other herbs, like the honeysuckle that I recommend, add another 1 cup of water for every 1/4 cup of herbs that you use.