Sunday, February 12, 2012

Marcia Herman's Sipping My Garden

Cover image of Marcia Herman's Sipping My Garden.


My book, Sipping My Garden, was a labor of love—for the herbs, for delicious drinks, for lovely illustrations, and for gardening and gardeners. This is how it all began—my sweet affair with sipping my gardenThe preface tells the story of how I met my friend in Provence and what I learned from her about her plant gathering, drying, and making of herbal teas. For many years as a child she had watched her grandmother gather and dry herbs and blend them into delicious mélanges and now I was to learn to share this across the ocean in America. Except for the occasional cup of peppermint tea, I realized for herbal teas we all bought those boxes with names like Zinger, Bed-time, and Peach Peppermint instead of sipping our own gardens.

So, I began researching the herbs and perfecting an easy, foolproof, and quick way to make herbal teas from plants that many gardeners already have growing. There are chapters on the method of making the teas (tisanes strictly speaking since these are herbal decoctions), plant lists, recipes, resources, and what to do if you don’t have a garden. The book is beautifully illustrated by a local artist, Emma Scurnick, and one from the west coast, Nan Feagin.

A sample recipe:  Peppermint-Lemon Grass Tea

¼ cup dried peppermint leaves
A heaping tablespoonful of dried Lemon grass
Pinch of green tea
Two stevia leaves if a little sweetening is wanted

This, as well as any other recipe with dried leaves, may also be made with fresh herbs using larger amounts.
Place in teapot or stainless steel cooking pot and pour 6 cups of near boiling water over the herbs. Let steep 30 minutes to several hours. Strain and pour into a pitcher and enjoy hot or cold all day.

Thank you, Marcia E Herman
Chatham County, NC It retails for $16.95. It makes a great gift book. Maybe for Valentine's Day!  In Chatham County the book is also available at Chatham Marketplace, New Horizons Trading Company, Lyn Morrow Pottery, and Cooper Mays Pottery.
How to order:
Sipping My Garden may be ordered from

This is a pitcher of rosemary, sage, and green tea, one of the recipes in Marcia's book.
Bio:Marcia E. Herman is a lifelong gardener and lover of herbs who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to a full time career in pediatrics and public health, she has studied the science and lore of herbs for many years and assisted with the establishment of the Medicinal Garden in the Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden at the NC Botanical Gardens. Marcia lives in Pittsboro, NC, in hearing distance of the Haw River.

Comments on the back cover:

This delightful book will be sought by all converts to the locovore movement. I’m glad for the book’s suggestion to consult local references about what herbs will grow in any given area.  And if growers and herb enthusiasts will follow the simplified plant identifications and precautions, then they will find the pleasures of teas harvested from their own gardens.  It doesn’t get any more local than that!  Al Cooke, Extension Agent, Horticulture, Chatham County Center, N.C. Cooperative Extension

 The plant kingdom provides us with so much--shade and color, changing seasons, endlessly varied forms in the shapes of leaves, and fragrance, not to mention the basis of our food supply.  That plant diversity harbors another secret: plants are a virtual library of interesting compounds, many that evolved with the animal kingdom and so are able to interact with animal physiologies, including our own.  Marcia E. Herman’s writing, in an easy-to-read way, shows how this chemical diversity furnishes us with a great array of teas and gently leads us into its emotional, medicinal, and aesthetic pleasures.  This lovely book will open your passion for these delights.  Dr. Peter S. White, Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill

 Marcia rightly looks to herbal teas for leisure and pleasure. I think of herb teas as the best of medicines. Leisure and pleasure are good medicine, and phytochemicals are good medicines. Here’s to your health, sipping your garden teas.  James A. Duke, PhD, Author of The Green Pharmacy (Rodale 1997) and distinguished alumnus, University of North Carolina,  Chapel Hill (1948-61)

Marcia Herman, happy herb gardener and herb tea expert.

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