Archive for the ‘Tea Blends’ Category

The Devil … errr.. Tina Made Me Do It!

Sunday, November 17th, 2013


When I got off work on Thursday afternoon, I kicked back on the sofa with a cup of tea and the most recent issue of The Essential Herbal Magazine.  My intention was to relax for a short while, unwind from a busy day in the shop, and then have dinner waiting for my husband when he came in after dark from deer hunting.  That’s not what happened.  Instead, I read an article written by my friend, Tina Sams, the editor of the magazine, entitled “Grocery Store Preparedness”.  The article was about how to stock your cupboards to be somewhat prepared for an unexpected cold or bout of the flu.  It also included some instructions for a few herbal concoctions meant for prevention and easing symptoms.  At this point I went off on a wild hare.  Pictured above is my kitchen counter within 10 minutes of reading the article, just before it exploded.

My herbal remedies arsenal has dwindled dangerously low, and I’ve procrastinated restocking for weeks. Tina’s article was just the motivation I needed, and dinner ended up being reheated leftovers, instead of the meatloaf I had originally planned.

First on my agenda was getting a few tinctures started. From left to right is Eleuthero root, Astragalus root, and Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi). Making tinctures is quick and easy.  I just fill a jar about 1/3 full of dried herb, and cover with vodka.  I let it sit about 6 weeks before using.  At that point it can be strained and bottled.  I store mine in the jars and strain off what I need into 2 ounce dropper bottles as I need it.

making tinctures

Eleuthero is an immune system booster, effective against colds and flu. Astragalus, one of my favorite preventives,  is effective against viral infections, helps boost the production of white blood cells, and promotes interferon production in the body. Interferon is a chemical that disrupts the life cycle of a virus. Holy Basil is most commonly used for stress and anxiety, but it’s also a powerful adaptogen, rich in phytochemicals, which exhibits both antiviral and antibiotic effects.  These three have a significant presence in my household, along with elderberry, which numerous studies have shown to be effective against multiple strains of influenza.

Next, I mixed up my favorite blend of herbal tea which I like to use when I feel a cold coming on, and also during a cold.  I need to give it a name.  I blend the following in a bowl and store it in and old bail lid canning jar.

2 parts Holy Basil
2 parts Dried Elderberries
1 part Dried Ginger
1 part Lemon Verbena
1 part Lemongrass
1 part Hibiscus

herb tea

I like this blend because it meets the criteria for my personal preferences. It tastes good – some zip is provided by the lemon verbena, lemongrass, and hibiscus (which also gives the tea a rich rosy color).  The elderberry and Holy Basil help combat the virus, and the ginger provides a warming effect that can help break a sweat and fight off chills. Elderberry also helps promote sweating.

herb tea

Next, I made a batch of garlic infused honey, recommended in Tina’s article. I’m not even going to go into the myriad benefits of garlic.  You can Google it.  When I eat garlic I seem to stink worse than most people.  When I eat it raw, I fart – a lot.  You want to stay far, far away from me when I’ve been eating raw garlic.

garlic honey

I also made the Ginger Elixir and the Fire Cider included in Tina’s article. A friend of Tina’s and mine calls the Ginger Elixir “ginger lemon honey throat yum yum stuff”.  That about sums it up. Since these are in the current issue of the magazine, I’m not going to give them here.  I bet if you visit The Essential Herbals Facebook page and ask about it, Tina might share … or you could just subscribe to the magazine, and she’ll start you off with the current issue.

Snowy Day and Herbal Tea Blending

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Yes, I know I’m a delinquent blogger.  However, in defense of my delinquency, I’ve been all work and no play for the last several weeks. Also, the projects I’ve been working on can’t be posted here unless I want to announce all Christmas gifts to my family.  For the first time in weeks, I find myself with a little free time to play around with.  I was able to spend all day yesterday at my son’s wrestling invitational, where I watched him whup his opponent.  I shot team photos throughout the day, but I’ll only make you endure one shot (although you know I want to make you look at page after page of my baby).

Today snow is flying outside my window, and up to 8 inches of lake effect snow is expected over the next couple of days. I found myself in the mood to experiment with some herbal tea blending. When this type of cold snowy weather hits, I find myself wanting to guzzle hot tea but not the caffeine or sugar that usually accompanies hot beverages.  As the holidays loom on the horizon, it’s no surprise that I ended up with this cranberry apple herbal blend. Not only is it pretty and festive, but the sweetness and warmth of apple and cinnamon and the organic cranberries (slightly sweetened with organic cane juice) eliminated the need for further sweetening.

Cranberry Apple Herbal Tea
2 parts dried apple
2 parts dried cranberry
1 part cinnamon chips
1 part hibiscus flowers
1 part rose hips
1 part lemon grass
1 part orange peel
2 parts calendula petals

I use organic ingredients whenever possible, and my fruits are chopped into small uniform pieces. The blend brewed up a warm festive cranberry color that suited the flavor perfectly.

My second blend isn’t quite as pretty as the first, but it’s very warming and tasty with ginger and lemon flavored herbs.  This blend is very good sweetened with a little bit of honey.  I can’t take credit for this blend, as it was inspired by an herbie friend of mine.

Lemon GingerMint Tea
1 part dried ginger pieces
1 part peppermint
1 part lemon grass
1 part lemon verbena

I guess I will announce one Christmas gift.  I think I’ll make up some tea bags using empty heat seal tea bags, package a few in a tin tie bag with a label or hang tag, and give them as stocking stuffers.