Around the world, flowers have been used for centuries in both medicinal and flavorful applications. A staple in creative kitchens, they are often used in food and beverage for their unique flavors, aromas, and aesthetics when garnishing. Sipping steeped flowers offer soothing properties and wellness benefits. Explore the power of flowers with our selection of elegant floral teas, infused sugars, botanical blends.
Chamomile, also spelled camomile, is of the aster family (Asteraceae) with origins tracing back to Ancient Egypt. The chamomile plant characteristically has a yellow blossom surrounded by white petals with structure similar to sunflowers and daisies.
The word “chamomile” comes from Ancient Greek and translates to “ground” and “earth apple.” In the world floral tea, chamomile is queen. Appreciated for its health benefits and flavor, it is widely consumed for its soothing and healing components. Chamomile tea is not only sipped, it is also used as an antiseptic and is also highly prized in the culinary world for adding a delicate nuance to craft beverages and desserts.
The history of chamomile is a versatile one, it has been used as a fever reliever, cosmetic, and even in embalming oil for preserving the deceased. When consumed, chamomile has been known to assist with sleep, provide calming effects, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation. Apigenin, an antioxidant in chamomile, promotes sleepiness. Chamomile tea is abundant in flavones, a class of antioxidants known to support blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Chamomile tea has a mildly sweet flavor evoking apple and fruit blossom and is appreciated for its gentle, honey-like sweetness. A perfect beverage for capturing quiet moments or to sip before turning in to catch some zzz’s.
Beautiful, vibrant, and tropical, the hibiscus is one of the world’s most versatile flowering plants and can be grown in a variety of climates. Commonly used in culinary, hibiscus tea is enjoyed by many cultures and often celebrated in savory cooking as well as beverages.
Hibiscus tea is made from the sepals of the Hibiscus Sabdariffa plant, also called the “Roselle”, with origins likely in Africa. For this reason, this drink is sometimes also called Roselle tea. Hibiscus has a long history of consumption in several countries and regions, though especially in hot, tropical climates, including the Middle East, Central America, and Southeast Asia where the Roselle plant grows easily.
Rich in minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and B-vitamins, hibiscus is also a good source of anthocyanins – antioxidants that help support digestion and immunity. It contains organic acids like malic and citric, to promote healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Hibiscus has a complex flavor profile described as tart and fruity, with an aroma reminiscent of its cranberry-like flavor. Steeped hibiscus produces a deep red infusion enjoyed both hot and iced and is often a base for many fruit tea blends.
With a history over 2500 years, the origins of lavender, or lavandula, are linked to the Mediterranean, Middle East and India. A flowering plant of the mint family, it is known for its beauty, sweet floral fragrance, and multiple uses across skincare and culinary applications.
Common in aromatherapy as an essential oil for its calming effect, lavender is also prominent in cooking for its iconic aroma – including Herbs de Provence – a popular and versatile herb blend used in many dishes, from eggs to fish to sauces. While there are over 40 different species of lavender, the English and French varieties are prized for steeping.
Studies suggest that compounds in lavender may stimulate activity in certain areas of the brain that boost mood, while its calming properties are also linked to promote healthy sleep cycles. Lavender oil has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects when used topically to help heal wounds and alleviate symptoms of acne and psoriasis.
Lavender’s flavor is considered herbaceous and earthy with minty undertones. Although it is a member of the mint family, lavender has a distinctive flavor that separates it from more traditional varieties. Its floral and pungent aroma provides a complementing counterbalance when blended with other teas and botanicals.
Symbolic and feminine, the rose is a versatile flower used in various ways. Essential oils, waters, liqueurs, extracts, and teas are among the most popular uses for its fragrant, delicate petals and other components.
Ancient apothecaries grew roses for their medicinal value. Naturally caffeine-free, rose tea is suitable to sip any time of day and is packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which are also found in green tea. Rose tea is particularly rich in gallic acid, known to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.
While the rose family has over 130 edible species, some varieties are sweeter than others. Roses belong to the botanical family Rosaceae, as do strawberries, cherries, apples, and even almonds. Rosa Damascena (commonly known as Damask Rose) is prized for use in tea due to its sweet floral flavor and lack of bitterness.
Whether you use these fragrant florals in cooking, aromatherapy, or steeped for hot and iced beverages, share it with us on Instagram @spiceandtea!