Choosing the Right Herbs and Brands For Your Tea, And How to Make the Best Cup of Tea

Choosing the Right Herbal Tea Brands and Loose Herbs

And How to Make the Best Cup of Tea

If you use loose herbs to make your tea, which is the way I prefer, over using a tea bag, and you want to get as much of the health benefit from your herbs, then follow these simple steps. 

If you prefer tea bags, you should know what your tea bag may contain and find the safest options

What Not to Use

Tea Balls: While these metal and stainless-steel tea balls are very handy they are too small. They compact your herbs in a very small space and thus the herb compounds have difficulty getting released and circulated into your tea water. You will not reap the full benefits of the herbs when you use this. 

Non-Organic Herbs: These can contain pesticides and herbicides and fluoride. They can absorb the fluoride from the soil. Cheaper tea brands will use older tea leaves and thus will contain more fluoride since the older the tea leave, the more time it has had to absorb fluoride from the soil.  Fluoride is not healthy for you even though it is purposely added to many cities drinking water.  For more information on fluoride go to this link 

Tea Bags: While these are convenient and are good to use when you travel, some tea bags are better to use than others. 

  • Paper tea bags contain a compound that are used as a pesticide and become activated when it touches hot water. But you won’t know this by reading the ingredients label on the tea box. 
  • Plastic tea pouches are just as bad, as they will release toxins from the plastic into the hot tea water.
  • Most tea bags are not biodegradable so they are not good for the environment.
  • If you ever opened a tea bag, it is mostly “tea dust”. When you use herbs to make your own, you can see the leaves, roots, flowers and buds that you are getting in your tea!  
  • A tea bag, just like the tea ball, leaves no room for the herbs to spread out and circulate to release its full flavor and compounds.
  • Tea bags can be expensive! Buying loose herbs to make your own not only taste much better but is cheaper!

That being said, I will use tea bags when I am out and when I am traveling.  Try to stick with the brands down below that I suggest.  If you are not sure a place will carry the tea brand you like, there is nothing wrong with bringing your own.  I often will just ask for a cup of hot water.  

Tea Brands to Avoid: These brands contain the most toxins according to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2008 and in 2011.  The brands included:

  • Tetley Tea
  • Lipton
  • Twinning’s
  • No Name
  • Uncle Lee’s Legend of China
  • King Cole
  • Signal


What to Use

Loose Herbs: If you are purchasing your own herbs, choose organic. There are more local herb shops popping up and they are more than happy to help you decide which herbs to purchase.  Often, they can make a custom blend for you.

 If you buy herbs online I like as they have organic herbs in bulk at very affordable prices.   They also have herbal blends. Other herbal sites that are also reputable include Frontier Co-op, Pacific Botanicals, and Oregon’s Wild Harvest.   

Organic Herbs/ Non-GMO herb: These tend to be younger plants and they will not contain the pesticides and herbicides that non-organic plants will have. 

Tea Strainer: These are very handy. The tea strainer fits right on the mouth of your tea cup.  I like to use this when I am in more of a rush, or when traveling.  It is wide enough to give the herbs room to breathe and circulate.  Herb Affair sells bamboo tea cup strainers and I like this one because it is stainless steel and also has a stainless steel lid so that you can steep your herbs properly.  

Safe Herbal Tea Bag Brands: There are several to choose from and thankfully as interest in tea grows, more high quality brands are popping up.

These include:

Preferred Herbal Tea Method

Pot, lid, filtered water, strainer: This is the preferred method. 

  1. Heat up the amount of water that you need in a pot on the stove.
  2. Once the water is hot, turn off the heat and add in the herbs. (for one cup of tea you can use 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of herbs). 
  3. Cover the pot with a lid or a plate. This is important for very aromatic herbs. The more they smell, the more important it is to keep the lid on while they sit in the hot water. These aromatic compounds will be released into the air instead of the tea if you keep the lid off. Let it sit about 5-7 minutes, (roots tend to need longer and up to 10 minutes). 
  4. Once your tea is ready, pour the water through a strainer into your tea cup so that the strainer can catch all the herbs. You can reuse these herbs for another cup of tea.  


If you like to have tea when you are out to eat. Bring tea bags that you know are safer options and just ask for a cup of hot water as I mentioned above. If you are using a specific herb or herbal blend for therapeutic reasons, you should consume the tea 2-4 times per day, depending on the herbs used and reasons for use.  

Bottom Line: Herbs, when chosen properly and when used right, can not only be used in tea for enjoyment but also for therapeutic reasons as well. To get the benefits from your herbs, choose wisely!

If you want to know which herbs and herbal blends would be best, call me for a consult. 




If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit



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