A Cup of Herbal Tea

A friend of mine says her husband refuses any sort of medicinal or herbal tea. He calls it “weed tea.” I think he is refusing both pleasant beverages and relief in times of illness. A cup of mint or chamomile tea is very soothing for a tummy upset. Lemon balm and honey soothe a sore throat or a ragged cough during a cold.

I’ve been using some herbal teas regularly. They are proprietary commercial blends, since I have no room to grow herbs here right now, nor is there a good, reliable herbal supply shop nearby. I am surprised that Tetley, for instance, is making decent herbal blends. I don`t particularly like their black tea, but they have started marketing some really good herbal blends in grocery stores. Right now, I have a daily cup of `Cleanse`tea, which has lemon balm, lemongrass, nettles, blackberry leaves, elderflower, red clover blossom, ginger, lemon peel, sarsparilla root, burdock root, schinsandra and honey. This is a lot to put into one teabag; if I were blending it myself, it would have no more than five ingredients. Still, it is delicious, lemony and honey-flavoured, and all the herbs have some role in suporting the immune system. This is not a laxative tea, which is what most people think `cleansing`should mean. While a healthy colon is part of a healthy immune system, stop thinking that`s what it is all about!

Many of us have used Traditional Medicinals teas for years. They are a bit pricier than grocery store blends, but they are top-notch in quality control. Here in midlife, I wake often during the night. Sometimes it is hard to get back to sleep. I`ve been using `Nighty Night`tea from TM, and it is working well. It has passionflower, chamomile, linden flower, catnip, hops, and for flavour, spearmint, lemon verbena, lemon peel and lemon grass. I`m usually yawning in a few minutes after finishing a cup of this!

Both kinds of tea, because of the stabilizing effects of lemon balm and passionflower, also will help soothe frazzled nerves and calm anxiety throughout the day. A regular lemon balm habit is a good way to deal with daily stress. Lemon balm, melissa officinalis, is an easy perennial to grow. So starting a few plants will keep an herbalist well supplied.

Other herbal products I use are Bach`s Rescue Remedy (for sudden stress), candied ginger (thick syrupy slices of ginger root coated with sugar, for upset tummies) and tincture of myrrh, which our local pharmacist mixed for me. Myrrh is for oral infections and inflamed gums. I put a few drops in water, and rinse my mouth. It can be put directly on a mouth ulcer, but the taste is very strong and the alcohol in the tincture will sting. Some people do not tolerate the taste. It is like having a mouthful of incense, sweet and resinous. I love it, but it makes others nauseated.

If you have favourite herbal remedies, let us know!

Neither Tetley`s nor Traditional Medicinals have anything to do with this post, excpet for producing some good products.

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25 thoughts on “A Cup of Herbal Tea

  1. My husband and I are recent converts to herbal/fruit teas. My husband prefers peppermint tea, while my favourite is liquorice. We’ve both found that such teas are an acquired taste, however, after a while we found that we prefer them to ordinary ‘builder’s’ tea!

    • We prefer Russian tea by 3 Crowns, a German company, for our “camilla sinensis” tea. It is lightly smoked, and not as tannic. 3 Crowns makes good, inexpensive teas, to those high German standards. Most of their teas sell here for a little over a dollar for a box of 20 teabags. They have several herbal varieties as well.

  2. Herbal tea is not, well, my cup of tea. The only one I like is lemon and ginger but I get an upset stomage from it. I think the main reason I do not like it is that I do not like chamomile or mint and most varieties you buy in stores have one or both these herbs. If someone would mix a tea for me I might like it, but I know no such person and I do not know what to pick myself.

    My aunt thought my grandmother should drink herbal tea instead of coffee. My grandmother described the taste of it as ‘tasting like the dirty straw or haw on the floor of your barn or stable’. She then returned it to my aunt…

    • Teas made from old, dried out herbs will taste like straw. You may have sensitivity to some of the oils in herbs, or an allergy to ragweeds -so stay away from anything with a flowerhead in it, like chamomile. Try lemon balm – melissa officinalis – it is lemony. It is also one of the old longevity herbs. Also, try some of the “sour” herbs like rosehip and hibiscus. A good herbalist should be able to help you, but I know I need to see someone and listen to them to get a good idea of what they need.

      • Sorry, I seem to have lost some words in my post. I get an upset stomage from lemon and ginger tea, but I do not get any reaction from chamomile or mint, I just do not like the taste of them in tea. I do have allergies however so I think that certain teas are less suitable for me. I know a guy who drinks ‘dream tea’ which is mainly based on a plant I am very allergic to (the English name is not in my head right now) so I have never tried it. Appearently you remember your dreams better and you get vivid dreams from it so if I would not have been allergic I might have tried it.

      • Okay. I understand. Still, lemon balm has no lemon in it, and it doesn’t have flowerheads. You might try it, or catnip, which has mint qualities but not the minty taste. The herb to which you refer as dream tea is probably valerian. The more you use it, the more frequent and vivid your dreams become, and you will remember them better. It has no side effects I know of, except a taste that is like old laundry boiled. Valerian incrases in strength as the root ages, and so does the taste. It is extremely, saliva-inducing, plug-your-nose pungent bitter. Your friend may be using a blend that masks the taste. I can drink valerian tea straight, most can’t.

  3. Herbal tea has offered me great health benefits. I drink different kinds of herbal tea for headaches and digestive problems. I also drink herbal tea for its soothing effect after a long day.

    • I’m glad to hear from you. What a beautiful website you have! I hope people visit it. Blessings on your web-page building business, too.

  4. Magdelaina,

    Though I am one for camelia cenensis (excuse spelling) and don’t mind what is marketed here in Australia by Twinings as ‘russian Caravan’ tea (very smokey and pungant; not a suitable morning tea for me) and adore their English Breakfast, irish Breakfast and especially, their orange Pekoe tea, I can’t go past ginger when my inner ear/balance system problem crops up, leaving me feeling like I’m walking on the deck of a listing ship on a storm-tossed sea and rather beset by stomach and same feeling in the ear itself… Ginger beer in summer, the ‘hotter’ and gingerier the better, is a great relief, especially when my appetite is shot. In winter, I grate ginger straight into the teapot and let it steep with boiling water. We grow our own mint here so I occasionally make up mint tea to serve after a meal; very refreshing and it aids digestion. Thank you for the information on mirr; it might not be too easy to come by here in Aus, but I will have a look for it. Norganics used to make a tea called ‘honeybush’ tea (from South African plant, I think) that was adorable!! Well, the rotten so and so’s ceased making it around 20 years ago!! When it was available, I’d drink it instead of normal tea, I liked it so much. If you know of a present day decent supplier, I’d love to hear.

    Blessings,

    Sarah.

    • Is honeybush the same as rooibos, or red tea? It seems to be making the rounds these days. Try it to see if it is the same. Russian tea is an acquired taste, I think. The Russians make it very strong and then add water to the cup ofr the strength they like. That’s what the samovar is for. It’s a big kettle. The tea goes in a pot kept hot on top.

      Have you tried making your own ginger beer? My grandparents used to do that many years ago. I have no idea how, though. We get a good strong Jamaican ginger beer made by Schweppes here in North America. I remember that it was excellent with dark rum, if you are the sort for that. Can you grow your own ginger there? (And mint is the key ingredient in American mint juleps- oh my misspent youth!)

      Ask the pharmacist for myrrh. It comes as an essential oil, and should be available everywhere. I’ve had a necklace made from myrrh beads, to wear next to the skin for respiratory ailments. I think it may have helped, but at least I smelled really good and fragrant!

  5. The Shakers had quite the cottage business with teas. Personally I add a bit of cream to mine. As you pointed out, freshness is important in teas just like fruits and vegetables. I’ll be including a section on teas in the next release of the Farmers’ Market Companion iPhone/iPod app.

    • The Shakers would still be in business if they had allowed procreation! Herbs should be no more than a year old dried, and if fresh – well, they need to be fresh! Many culinary herbs also have medicinal uses – parsley, rosemary, thyme, and sage, too. While aromatic herbs such as these mentioned can by minced and frozen for culinary use, they lose their medicinal properties with freezing. It is better to dry them – in a dark, dry place, hanging upside down or spread on cloth mesh screens. Not in a sunny window, as I saw recently on some pseudo-historic television programme! Once completely dry, strip off the leaves and store in a jar in a dark cupboard or pantry where they won’t get too hot. (Not over the stove or refrigerator – too much heat and humidity, and not on the countertop.)

  6. I checked what the herb was called, it is mugwort.

    Valerian I have tried as a pill and it does work. I used it for a while when I was very stressed and had trouble sleeping. I got a bit calmer and could fall asleep easier. Even the pills had a horrible taste, so bad I had to have something to mask the taste afterwards. I am in awe that you can drink tea from that herb.

    • Mugwort is an artemesia – go easy with it! It is not for daily use. Artemesias contain a volatile element that can become cumulative; so it is for occasional use. Valerian has the same effects but is much safer. Melissa is a safe and effective daily tea for stress.

      • Yes, it is. It is basically meant to ‘improve’ your dreams, perhaps once a year or so. But do not worry about me, as I said, I am very allergic to its pollen anyway and would not consume it for all the money in the world.

        I will stick to Valerian if I ever get sleeping problems again but at the moment I am fine and sleeps comfortably all night without any herb.

  7. magdelaina,

    I’ve tried ‘red tea’ and its nothing like honeybush; Honeybush was distinct, almost a timbery, honey type flavour and aroma, virtually the colour of black tea. beautiful!!

    Thank you for the tip re Russian Caravan; Two teaspoons for pot; I’ll fiddle with it and see what I come up with 🙂 I’d love to make my own ginger beer; hubby isn’t too keen in setting up the microbrewry in the shed; imagies of exploding bottles etc!!!!! We have ‘Kirks’ here and ‘Bundaberg’ though Kirks is much hotter and stronger; less sweet, also. As for a spot of rum; even a half nip kicks me in the guts!! :-0 however, a little cognac I don’t mind with hot lemon; or tonic in summer… cognac used prudently I’ve found, can be most beneficial. (though it is not politically correct to mention such these days)…

    I’ll try for the mirr from our pharmacist… many thanks!!

    Pity about the shakers; lovely furniature, also…surely they’d work out that they’d eventually die out….

    I’d love to look into this further.

    blesings,

    Sarah.

    • Then I don’t know what “honeybush” is. I don’t care for rooibos, myself. I’d love to do my own brewing too, but the startup is expensive, so it will have to wait. I have inherited the Gaelic tolerance for alcohol, which isn’t really a good thing, but I don’t drink much.

      As for the Shakers – they were milleniallists. They expected the imminent return of the Kingdom even if some of their numbers “fell asleep” waiting. They recruited entire families who then lived separately – women in one building, men in another. They also adopted orphans, which was probably a much better life than the orphanage. Young people who wished to marry could leave the sect and go into the world. Except for the perpetual celibacy, they lived much as Hutterites. If you have a paper to write on church history, the Shakers are an interesting topic. There are “new” Shakers. Most of the settlements closed their ranks, but at least one has re-opened. It is a kind of Protestant monasticism.

  8. Magdelaina,

    I’m studying church history next semester. If there’s scope in the unit, I may just write that paper…Thank you for the suggestion.

    Currently I’m writing a presentation dealing with food as a human right from the slow food/slow cities/sustainable/herritage agriculture angle, introducing a significant theme of Eucharist into it (If I’ve already mentioned this, forgive me repeating myself). I’ve been crawling all over the net all day!! Tomorrow will be the day for church documents and encyclicals (Catholic uni so have to use Catholic material, though, the scripture referencing in the V2 constitutions and encyclicals is second to none). What are your thoughts on Anglican monasticism or even intentional communities of faith set up after the benedictine model etc (I seem to remember an Anglican blog; ‘Anglican Community project’ where this sort of thing was discussed, but it seems to have closed down…

    Blessings,

    Sarah.

    • I’m in favour of monasticism, even the new monasticism, although they need to follow the Benedictine model a bit closer in my opinion. (Discipline is everything in community!) Except for the celibacy, I would have been tempted to be a Shaker.

  9. I use to be a huge herbal tea drinker, but now my doctor makes me check with him before I drink any. He doesn’t want it interacting with my medication. So mint tea is about all I drink or chamomile, in the herbal world. I do, however, keep a massive amount of candied ginger and hard ginger candy. It doesn’t help my stomach when it’s in tea form, but it’s wonderful when it’s in a solid form.

    • Yes, some herbals will conflict with medications – you don’t want too much of a good thing! Your pharmacist should have a copy of a book that cross-references herbals and medications for interactions. It’s a big expensive professional tome, so while I’d like to have a copy, it doesn’t seem a practical choice. I take no meds myself, though Nicholas has three, all to prevent another stroke. Candied ginger is definitely my standby for sour stomach or upset stomach.

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