A cuppa for the soul
I’ve always loved the idea of taking what nature has to offer and creating something that feeds not only the body, but also the soul. Herbal and floral infusions are a wonderful way of restoring harmony within. Below are three blends that serve different purposes, but can be enjoyed at any time by anyone after a couple of minutes’ steeping in hot water. I have included information on some of the ingredients, but it is only the tip of the iceberg, so do get in touch if you would like to know more.
Chamomile is mostly known for soothing cramping tummies, for its mild sedative effect to aid in a good night’s sleep and because it relaxes the muscles. It is also antibacterial and improves immunity.
Rich in manganese, iron, calcium, and fibre, cinnamon improves glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, but also lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglyceride concentrations, and overall cholesterol levels without affecting HDL (good) cholesterol. Cinnamon is also antimicrobial and anti-fungal.
Dandelion tea detoxes and eases congestion of the liver, helps to purify the bladder and kidneys, improves digestion and aids weight loss. It contains calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, vitamins B and C, and helps to purify the blood, regulate blood sugar and improve blood circulation. It also helps to ease bloating and aching joints.
Rich in bioflavonoids, elderflower is a powerful antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory herb. The most common uses are for colds and flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory disturbances, as well as allergies. As a supplement, elderflower can be used as a diuretic and its laxative properties can be helpful in relieving occasional constipation. Elderflower also reduces blood sugar levels, very similar to the way insulin works.
Anti-bacterial fennel tea helps expel mucous, is useful in reducing gastro-intestinal tract spasms and flatulence, and in larger doses can help remove obstructions of the liver, spleen, and gallbladder. Fennel tea is a diuretic and also helpful in treating anaemia. It is said to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers and has long been used to prevent infant colic. Fennel tea can help relax the smooth muscles in the uterus, thus relieving menstrual cramps and discomfort during pregnancy. Fennel tea can help relieve conjunctivitis and sore eyes.
Stinging nettle is one of the most powerful herbal infusions available to us. It is a diuretic and decongestant, an anti-histamine and a tonic. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, and anti-spasmodic, and helps alleviate respiratory tract disease and asthma. It stimulates the lymph system, which in turn boosts immunity. In pregnant and lactating women, it helps to strengthen the foetus and promotes milk production, and is also said to reduce bleeding. In other women, it can relieve menopausal symptoms and help with menstrual cramps and bloating. Nettle is said to aid sufferers of gastrointestinal disease, IBS, and constipation, and also supports the kidneys and helps break down kidney stones. Nettle furthermore supports the adrenals, and the endocrine health by helping the thyroid, spleen and pancreas. Some research also shows that nettle relieves neurological disorders like MS, ALS and sciatica.
A wonderful tea for those trying to conceive, those carrying a wee babe, and those having produced one, raspberry leaf tea is said to increase fertility, relieve morning sickness, strengthen the uterine wall to improve chances of healthy implantation and the process of labour nine months later, and repair it thereafter. It is also rich in vitamins A and the B complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium in an easily absorbable form to help your baby grow and increase nutrient value of breast milk. Even for those not in the reproductive stage, it helps balance hormones.
The Mellow Rose
1/2 cup dried lemon verbena, crushed slightly
1 heaped tablespoon dried nettle
1 heaped tablespoon dried dandelion
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers, torn into smaller pieces
6 slices dried orange, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons crushed cinnamon bark or cassia
1/3 cup dried lemongrass, roughly chopped
1 heaped tablespoon whole ginger, roughly chopped
1 heaped tablespoon dried elderflowers
1 heaped tablespoon nettle
1 heaped tablespoon dried lavender
A Mother’s Heart
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 heaped teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon aniseed
1/3 cup dried raspberry leaf tea
1/3 cup dried chamomile flowers
1 tablespoon peppermint leaf tea
2 tablespoons dried red rose petals
1/4 cup chopped dried fennel
1 heaping tablespoon nettle
1. Combine the first four ingredients in a spice grinder, high speed blender or mortar. Now blend or grind until the spices are partly ground, with some larger bits remaining.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.