Spill the Tea, discovering healing leaves
BY : KATE GILBERT
TEA AS MEDICINE <3
Having an evening bedtime routine is essential to getting a good night’s sleep. Especially in times of stress, having a nighttime ritual ensures a sense of constancy and calm in my life. As I am getting ready to go to sleep, I begin by putting my phone down. Next, I sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow, light a candle, take a steamy shower, and sip hot tea.
Though herbal classics like chamomile or mint are nice, a custom blend of herbs can help serve your personal wellness needs. Many herbalists and naturopathic doctors use tea as medicine, just as they would a tincture or supplement. While the insight of a professional can always be helpful, we tend to forget our own capacity to heal ourselves, intuitively. After all, we are the only one’s inhabiting our own bodies. So long as we are paying attention, we know when we are feeling balanced or conversely off-kilter.
To find your ingredients, begin by looking your own pantry. If you have a garden, check there too you can always dry your own fresh ingredients at home. You may already have some herbs and spices that could be useful for tea. You can also visit a natural herb or food store to gather specific supplies.
To prepare the tea, combine the herbs of your choice in a small bowl, roughly a tablespoon of each will do. Mix gently by hand. You may want to make a label to recall which ingredients you have chosen.
When you are finished, make some tea bags with roughly a tablespoon of your blend in each pouch, and store them in a jar by your bed as a reminder. Or keep your tea as loose-leaf and use a teapot to steep. To prepare hot tea, pour freshly boiled water over the herbs of your choice and steep for five to ten minutes, depending on how strong of a flavor you prefer. Pour over ice for a refreshing treat on a hot summer night.
Here are some herbs + spices to get you started:
- Lemon balm calms your heart and relaxes your body.
- Turmeric detoxifies and aids digestion. It also helps support healthy joints, keeping your body fit and flexible.
- Ginger reduces inflammation and soothes the stomach. It is the perfect antidote to a heavy meal.
- Holy basil is an adaptogen that helps relieve stress and anxiety.
- Chamomile is a bedtime staple. It soothes your body and mind.
- Rooibos is a delightfully potent red tea, rich with antioxidants, substances that help protect your body against free radicals.
- Fennel is a gentle herb that supports digestion. It helps relieve gassiness and bloating. Because of its licorice-like flavor, it is a personal favorite.
- Lavender may seem like an unlikely ingredient for tea, but it is actually a lovely addition to your blend. It helps clean out your system and maintain a healthy heart.
- Spearmint is an excellent remedy for acne. Use it to supplement your preexisting skin routine. Drink spearmint tea daily for a few months, and you may notice a difference in your skin.
- Hibiscus is tart and refreshing, and adds flavor and dimension to your tea blend. It is said to promote healthy liver functioning, though it may also have an impact on estrogen levels, so women should pay attention to the amount they consume. It is especially delicious poured over ice.
- Hops promotes relaxation and sleep. And yes, it is the main ingredient in beer as well. Only add a little of this one, because hops is powerful and you may end up sleeping through your alarm in the morning.
- Mugwort enhances your dream-state. Use caution with this one as well. Too much mugwort may cause your vivid dreams to overpower your ability to rest well.
My go-to bedtime blend is chamomile + fennel + lavender, which leaves me feeling cleansed and revitalized. In the summer months, I enjoy hibiscus + turmeric + ginger, which has a spicy, floral flavor that melds well with warm weather and is especially delicious poured over ice. When I am anxious or stressed and know that I might have trouble falling asleep, lemon balm + chamomile + hops seems to do the trick. There are so many possibilities! So just relax and enjoy.