Make Herbal Tea: How to Prepare, Brew, and How Long to Steep St. John's Wort Tea

Updated on April 5, 2017

No Bag? No Ball? No Problem!

brew herbs loose in a covered pot, then pour through a strainer
brew herbs loose in a covered pot, then pour through a strainer

I Might as Well Just Make a Big Pot

It's dreary this morning. The winter chill in the lake air has started to lose its sting, but it's not really warm or sunny yet. Rain's drizzling, the kids are rowdy and I am dragging - think I'll brew up a jug of my cheer-boosting tea. Might need it today.

I put a glass pot filled with just over 6 cups of filtered water on the stove, and am bringing it to second boil. When it gets there I'll turn the heat off and throw in 2 Tbsps (6 tsps, 1 tsp for each cup of water) of dried St. John's Wort. While I'm waiting, my 4-year-old daughter tells me she wants "teleporter seeds". She apparently wants to grow a teleporter.

I've removed the pot of water from the heat, stirred the dried herb in the water loose and covered the pot. It's going to steep for 10 minutes because I want to fully release the medicinal components of the herb and I don't mind it tasting slightly bitter because it brewed a little longer - this brew is for effect!

Online search returns few promising leads on the teleporter seeds. Thankfully, her desire has moved on to the more easily obtainable yo-yo now.

Hunting around my kitchen, I'm looking for a strainer and a container to pour my tea into. I found my strainer, and I found a pitcher, but can't fathom how I'm going to not spill this pot of water all over the counter during the transfer. Staring my coffee pot straight in the face, I get a better idea. I'm going to put a coffee filter in the basket and spoon the tea in one scoop at a time, filtering the plant material out and releasing the rest of the tea into the carafe. If I can't pour tea out of a carafe into a pitcher without watering my kitchen floor I might as well give this up...

When I lift the lid off the pot a warm, herbaceous aroma rises up and hugs my face. Cheers! Just what I was looking for.

The infusion is now filtered. I'm going to enjoy a hot cup now and put the rest in the fridge to sip throughout the day. My kids have their shoes on the wrong feet and are beating each other with stuffed animals, but at least the sun is starting to shine.


  • 1 tsp St. John's wort, dried
  • 8oz filtered water


  1. Bring water to second boil in a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel pot (a good boil with medium sized bubbles breaking frequently, but not yet a constant, rolling boil)
  2. Steep it for 3-10 minutes. For a better tasting, less bitter infusion, steep a short time. For a more effective medicinal brew, steep longer. You can throw it in the pot loose, or use a tea ball to steep it in a teapot or mug. Whatever you do, cover it to help the tea release it's full potential.
  3. Remove the St. Johns from the water and enjoy. You can add milk and sugar, though doing so may alter the medicinal components of the tea. Because of this, I enjoy this tea either plain or with just a drop of honey.

Important Information Regarding the Use of St. Johns Wort

St. John's Wort is traditionally used to improve mood and enhance cheer. It should not be used in conjunction with MAOIs or protease inhibitors. It also may increase sensitivity to sunlight and can contradict contraception, lowering the effectiveness of birth control. Please talk to your doctor before adding any herb to your diet that may contradict your current regimen.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Barbara Tremblay 9 months ago

        Why not put a handful of St. John's wort before adding water to tea pot

      • profile image

        Tim 3 years ago

        Hi Lee,

        Thank you very much,

        May I please ask, while you say to use 1 tea spoon of dried St.John's Wort extract, so to use fresh st.john's wort, I will just use 2 tea spoons of the yellow flowers?

        oh and how much would 1 tea spoon be in mg.

        example: you can buy them at the Pharmacy, they come in 300mg.

        So how much would one tea spoon be in mg?

        Thank you very very much.

        Thank you.

      • Karine Gordineer profile image

        Karine Gordineer 3 years ago from Upstate New York

        Thanks Lee!

      • Lee Tea profile image

        Lee Tea 3 years ago from Erie, PA

        Hi Karine!

        Most people just harvest the flowers. That's probably the best way to go.

        I only harvest a small amount myself, the rest I order in. I'm sure you could find better info on the process than my personal experience - I'm a terrible gardener lol. I like to use the Old Farmer's Almanac for guidance on new plants - maybe check their website.

        Best -


      • Karine Gordineer profile image

        Karine Gordineer 3 years ago from Upstate New York

        Lee, how do you find it affects the plant to pick the entire stem? I harvest a lot of St. John's Wort every year but I only harvest the flowers. I find the plant will continue to produce more buds that way. Wondering what your experience has been. Karine

      • Lee Tea profile image

        Lee Tea 3 years ago from Erie, PA

        Hi Tim!

        You can use the flowers and stems fresh, just use twice as much as dried.

        To dry, lay the fresh stalks with flowers out on paper bags in a dry part of the house - I use my attic. They will dry in about 3 to 7 days. When they turn brittle, the stems snap when bent and the flowers crumble to the touch, you can store them in an airtight container. They'll keep their max potency for about 6-8 months...long enough to get you to next harvest season :)

        You can also tie the stalks in bundles of 4 or 5 and hang them to dry - they look pretty that way.

        Any other questions, let me know! Happy to help.

        Be well,

        Lee @ Lee's Teas

      • profile image

        Tim 3 years ago

        How do you dry St.John's Wort?,

        I just collected St.John's Wort from the garden, put the flowers and boiling water in a tea pot, then wait 10 minutes, and then drink.

        Any idea please??? ?

        thank you.

      • Lee Tea profile image

        Lee Tea 4 years ago from Erie, PA

        Oh Violet, what a morning that was hahaha... glad you found all the cheer you needed here! Be well :)

      • Violet Scoble profile image

        Violet Scoble 4 years ago

        I had been searching for basic steeping advice but your article was so much more. Thank you for this wonderful article!

      • Lee Tea profile image

        Lee Tea 4 years ago from Erie, PA

        Nice tip Sharon, I'll try that. Thanks!

      • profile image

        Sharon Moffett 4 years ago

        I really like the taste of it......with ICE....=)

      • Lee Tea profile image

        Lee Tea 5 years ago from Erie, PA

        Thank goodness indeed! Thanks Karine, much appreciated.

      • Karine Gordineer profile image

        Karine Gordineer 5 years ago from Upstate New York

        This was great! I could picture your morning getting off to a maybe slightly chaotic start....thank goodness for morning tea, yes? Very informative - I voted up.

      • Lee Tea profile image

        Lee Tea 6 years ago from Erie, PA

        The way I prepared it, it pretty much tastes like barky-plant water. I know how well it cheers me up, so I don't pay much attention to making it taste awesome. If brewing for taste, you can add 1 tsp of dried St. Johns to your other favorite flavored herbs to make a cheerful brew that tastes good too. Also, I put a spoonful of sugar into my cold tea today - didn't hurt. Couple ice cubes and it was as refreshing as a regular iced tea. I added the standard precautions for using St. Johns Wort to the hub, be sure to check them out before using this herb. Thanks!

      • Joan King profile image

        Joan King 6 years ago

        I love herbal tea but never tried St John's Wort now I will. Thanks


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