2023's Herbal Tea Plant Trends: Spotlight on the Top 20
By Ryan Dorn, SouthernSeeds.com
The herbal tea landscape is ever-changing, with trends ebbing and flowing as time passes. Just like fashion or music, what is popular today might not necessarily be the go-to option tomorrow. At Southern Seeds, we have the unique opportunity to witness these shifts in popularity firsthand through our customer interactions and overall product demand.
This list isn’t your typical roundup of herbal teas; it’s a reflection of what we’ve seen rise to the top in 2023. While chamomile may have been the reigning champion in years past, that doesn't necessarily mean it's what people are seeking out today. Our list will guide you through the top 20 herbal tea plants that have captured the attention of tea enthusiasts this year.
A noticeable shift has occurred in the herbal tea landscape, with a trend towards natural healing and medicinal plants. In the past, you would have seen traditional favorites like jasmine and others firmly at the top. However, today we are seeing a surge in popularity of medicinal plants like ashwagandha, reflecting a growing interest in holistic health and natural remedies particularly those with mental or sleep boosting properties as well as those that aid the immune system. This list encapsulates this shift, highlighting plants that offer not just delightful flavors but also substantial health benefits.
Multiple Uses of Tea Plants
The versatility of herbal teas is one of their most attractive features. While some people enjoy these teas primarily for their delightful flavors, others seek out specific health benefits associated with certain herbs. The plants used in herbal teas often have a range of medicinal properties that have been valued for centuries. From soothing a sore throat to calming a restless mind, these teas can provide a natural and gentle way to support health and wellness.
But the beauty of these plants doesn't end with their therapeutic uses. Many of the plants used in herbal teas can serve a multitude of purposes beyond just brewing a cup of tea. They can be incorporated into culinary dishes, used to create natural remedies, and even added to skincare products. Their multipurpose nature makes them a valuable addition to any garden, providing a rich source of flavors and benefits right at your fingertips.
It's interesting to note that the term "herbal tea" is somewhat of a misnomer. Traditional teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which includes green, black, white, and oolong teas. When we use other plants to make tea, the correct term is "tisane." However, most people commonly refer to them as herbal teas, regardless of the specific plants used in their preparation.
Top 20 Herbal Tea Plants of 2023
Now, let's dive into the heart of our blog - the top 20 herbal tea plants that have taken 2023 by storm. This list might surprise you, as it's not your typical lineup of usual suspects. We've curated a list that truly reflects what consumers are wanting to grow in their tea gardens.
While Stinging Nettle in the past would have been a surprise at #1, that's not the case any longer. Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic surge in popularity with Stinging Nettle and its position is no longer a surprise. While many people associate Stinging Nettle with its slight burning sensation, it is without a doubt an herbal powerhouse. Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium, Stinging Nettle is not only great for tea, but also for overall health. Its popularity in 2023 is due to its medicinal benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its use in culinary dishes, making it a versatile choice for many.
The adaptogenic properties of Ashwagandha have been a significant factor in its popularity in 2023. Known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress, Ashwagandha has become a popular herbal remedy for those seeking natural ways to manage stress and anxiety. Its unique flavor profile, which is earthy and slightly bitter, adds depth to herbal tea blends, making it a favorite among tea enthusiasts and herbalists alike.
The soothing and calming properties of Valerian have made it a popular herbal tea, especially in 2023, as more people seek natural remedies for stress and anxiety. Its mild sedative effect makes it a popular choice for those struggling with insomnia. Valerian's earthy and slightly sweet flavor profile, combined with its medicinal properties, has contributed to its rise in popularity this year.
Rosemary's distinct and robust flavor has made it a popular herb in culinary dishes, but its potential as a herbal tea has also been realized in 2023. The aromatic leaves of Rosemary are packed with antioxidants and have been known to improve memory and concentration. Its versatility in both cooking and herbal remedies has made Rosemary a must-have in tea gardens this year.
Mullein has seen a significant increase in popularity since 2020 as a herbal tea ingredient. Known for its tall spikes of yellow flowers and large, velvety leaves, mullein makes a soothing tea that has traditionally been used for respiratory health. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor has made it a favorite among tea enthusiasts looking for both taste and health benefits. The plant's striking appearance also adds a unique element to gardens, and its ability to thrive in poor soil makes it an easy choice for gardeners of all levels. The rise in popularity of mullein in herbal teas reflects a growing trend toward natural remedies and the dual-purpose nature of many herbal tea plants.
Echinacea, commonly known as Purple Coneflower, has seen a resurgence in popularity this year, owing to its immune-boosting properties. Its earthy and slightly bitter taste is complemented by its beautiful purple flowers, making it a favorite among gardeners and herbal tea enthusiasts alike. The antimicrobial and antiviral properties of Echinacea make it a go-to remedy during cold and flu season.
The invigorating and refreshing taste of Peppermint has remained a constant favorite among herbal tea drinkers, especially in 2023. Its ability to soothe digestive issues and provide relief from headaches and migraines has made it a valuable addition to many herbal medicine cabinets. The vibrant green leaves of peppermint are not just for brewing tea; they can also be used in various culinary dishes to add a fresh and minty twist.
The vibrant flowers of Monarda didyma, or Scarlet Bee Balm, have captured the attention of gardeners and tea enthusiasts alike in 2023. Known historically as Oswego Tea, this plant's minty and citrusy notes make for a refreshing and aromatic beverage. Its popularity has been further fueled by its historical significance, having been used by the Oswego Native American tribe as a medicinal beverage, and later adopted by American colonists as a substitute for British tea during times of protest.
9. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm, or Melissa officinalis, has continued to be a mainstay due to its versatile uses and delightful lemony aroma and flavor. Its calming properties have made it a go-to herb for those seeking natural remedies for stress and anxiety. Lemon Balm can be easily grown in pots or gardens and makes for a refreshing and calming tea, perfect for winding down after a long day. And don't forget that you can use Lemon Balm as a highly effective mosquito repellant.
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, continues to be one of the most popular herbal teas year after year. Its earthy and slightly spicy flavor profile, combined with its revered status in Ayurvedic medicine for its healing properties, has made it a staple in many gardens and kitchens. The adaptogenic properties of Holy Basil make it an excellent natural remedy for managing stress, and its antimicrobial properties make it a beneficial addition to any herbal tea blend.
11. German Chamomile
The classic sweetness and calming properties of German Chamomile have made it a constant favorite in the herbal tea world, and 2023 has been no exception. Its gentle apple-like flavor and proven benefits in treating insomnia, anxiety, and digestive issues have contributed to its popularity. Furthermore, German Chamomile has found its way into various skincare products, amplifying its presence and usage beyond just a delightful cup of tea.
12. English Lavender
Lavender has long been known for its calming scent, and in 2023, it has become increasingly popular as a herbal tea. The beautiful purple flowers of English Lavender can be used to brew a soothing and aromatic tea that helps with relaxation and sleep. Its versatility also extends to culinary uses, with lavender being used in various dishes to add a floral touch.
13. Lemon Bee Balm
Lemon Bee Balm (Monarda citriodora), with its citrusy and minty flavor, has gained popularity as a refreshing and uplifting herbal tea. In 2023, its antibacterial and antiviral properties have also been recognized, making it a valuable addition to any herbal medicine cabinet. The vibrant pink flowers of Lemon Bee Balm add beauty to any garden and can also be used in culinary dishes. Lemon Bee Balm goes by many names including Lemon Mint, Lemon Bergamot and Lemon Horsemint.
14. St. John’s Wort
Known for its mood-boosting properties, St. John’s Wort has remained a popular herbal tea in 2023. The yellow flowers of St. John’s Wort can be used to brew a tea that helps alleviate symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Its antiviral and antimicrobial properties also make it a valuable herbal remedy.
15. Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop has seen a surge in popularity in 2023, and for good reason. With its delightful licorice-like scent and taste, it makes a soothing and refreshing herbal tea that's not only delicious, but also beneficial for digestive health. The plant's vibrant purple flowers are not only a feast for the eyes but also attract pollinators to the garden, making it a multi-functional addition to any outdoor space. Its versatile nature allows it to be used in culinary applications, bringing a unique flavor to various dishes. Anise Hyssop truly encompasses the trend of herbal teas that are not only beneficial for health but also add beauty and functionality to gardens.
16. Common Mint
Mint's refreshing and invigorating flavor has made it a constant favorite among herbal tea enthusiasts. In 2023, its ability to soothe digestive issues and provide relief from headaches has been recognized, making it a valuable addition to any herbal medicine cabinet. The vibrant green leaves of Mint can also be used in various culinary dishes to add a fresh and minty twist.
The sweet and minty flavor of Wintergreen has made it a popular choice for herbal teas in 2023. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable remedy for pain relief, while its antiseptic properties help boost the immune system. The vibrant red berries and glossy green leaves of Wintergreen also add beauty to any garden.
Elderberry's immune-boosting properties have continue to make it a popular choice for herbal teas ever since the Covid-19 pandemic. The dark purple berries of Elderberry can be used to brew a rich and flavorful tea that helps alleviate symptoms of cold and flu. Its antiviral properties also make it a valuable addition to any herbal medicine cabinet.
A surprise addition to the list this year, Fireweed has risen in popularity in herbal tea making. Fireweed is an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. The antioxidants in fireweed benefit the digestive system, the circulatory system and the immune system, the lungs, and the skin. Its popularity in 2023 can be attributed to its health benefits, as well as its unique flavor that adds a touch of the wild to any tea blend. Be aware that the yellow "fireweed" (Senecio madagascariensis) is invasive, so make sure to look for the Epilobum angustifolium variety.
Another surprise entry into the Top 20 this year, this herb has seen a significant rise in popularity for its potential immune-boosting properties, making it a common ingredient in herbal tea blends designed to support overall health and wellness. Astragalus has a mild, sweet taste and can be easily incorporated into a variety of tea blends. The roots of the plant are typically used in traditional Chinese medicine to enhance the immune system, support heart health, and improve energy levels. Its popularity in 2023 reflects the overall shift that we have seen in natural healing and remedies over the past few years.
Wrapping Things Up!
As we wrap up our journey through the top 20 herbal tea plants of 2023, we hope you've discovered new flavors and potential health benefits that you might want to explore further. The beauty of herbal teas lies in their versatility, not just for their delightful flavors, but also for their medicinal, culinary or simple aesthetic uses.
At Southern Seeds, we are always excited to be part of your gardening and tea-brewing adventures. As trends continue to evolve, we look forward to providing you with the seeds and knowledge to grow the most popular and beneficial plants for your tea garden. So, whether you're looking for a calming cup of tea to unwind at the end of the day or seeking natural remedies to boost your health, remember that your garden can be your greatest ally and we're always here to help if you have any questions. Happy brewing!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. While the potential health benefits of the herbal teas mentioned are supported by various studies and historical use, they should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. The content of this blog post is based on the author's research and observations and may not be comprehensive or applicable to everyone. Southern Seed Exchange is not responsible for any adverse reactions or consequences resulting from the use of any of the plants or recipes mentioned in this post.