The necessi-teas of life – part 2

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Herbal tea doesn’t have to be fancy; conjured up by some mystical tea magician – single herb teas are effective and you can often find the ingredients in your own garden. This goes to the heart of Chinese medicine food therapy, as the consumption of fresh, local food to either prevent disease or heal the body is what Chinese medicine nutrition is about.

You should not underestimate the powerful ritual of mindfully picking some herbs from your garden and brewing some tea for yourself and loved ones. Any time taken in caring for your wellbeing and that of your family and friends is time well spent.

In the interests of being correct, I should point out the obvious; that herbal teas are technically not teas, they are tisanes. I still call them teas. I like the word tea! So please forgive my lapse when I use the word tea to describe any hot water with herbs or flowers in it.

“My dear, have some lavender, or you’d best have a thimble full of wine. Your spirits are quite down, my sweeting.” ~ John O’Keeffe, A Beggar on Horseback, 1798

It has been a bit of a rough week, and the mind and soul has taken a bit of a battering. Lavender tea for this evening was forefront of my mind as I made a run down to my neighbour’s lavender bush, successfully avoided the bees, swiped a handful of lavender flowers, and trotted back home. So I would like to share with you this simple, but powerful, way of using what you have at hand.

Did you know lavender is a member of the mint family and native to many different parts of the world? The documented therapeutic use of lavender can be traced back to Greek, Roman, and Arabic herbal medicine use. Whilst the use of lavender has always been a firm favourite for many people, there is growing scientific evidence to support the use of lavender for sleep disorders, anxiety and general wellbeing[1].

Chinese medicine considers lavender as a cooling herb, useful for calming the Shen, tonifying the Heart and smoothing Liver Qi[2] (quick translation for those Chinese medicine terms: calming and grounding).

Lavender tea

For one person

Pinch off 3 heads of lavender, give them a wash and a bit of a squeeze to bruise them. Put them in a tea cup, pour boiling water over the top and leave it all to steep for 10 minutes or so. Scoop the heads out when you are ready to drink your tea, and enjoy.

This is not a particularly delicate method of brewing, especially for such a delicate tea. But it goes to the heart and soothes the mind.

I hope you like lavender tea too!


 

[1] http://naturalingredient.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/Biological-Activities-of-Lavender-Essential-Oil.pdf

[2] Aldrich, E & Borenemann, R 2013, Fang Xian Liao Fa: Essential Oil Analogues of TCM Herbal Forumulas, Self published.

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