Tea - It's for what ails you

Can you believe the weather? 
For us in California we have experienced an extended wet and cold season...mind you we have had a few gorgeous California days...but today as I post it is rainy and chilly outside.  So this post is most appropriate as I light the fireplace and contemplate curling up in my favorite chair.

Herbal teas have been used medicinally for centuries.
Sipping your favorite cup of tea not only warms you up but it can also help tackle common health problems.

What is a Herbal Tea?
A herbal tea is made from either a single plant or a combination of plants. Different teas can be made using various parts of the plant which include the leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers, roots, bark or stems of the plant. The type of plant often dictates which part will be used. For example to make a chamomile tea, the flowers are used, to make peppermint tea, the leaves are used, and to make ginger tea, the roots are used. The herbs can be fresh or dried. They are then seeped in a cup of hot water, to create an infusion which...

allows the therapeutic properties to be released.

Benefits of Herbal Teas
Drinking herbal teas can serve two basic purposes: to support the body in a therapeutic manner and to provide a pleasing drinking experience. Having a few basic herbal teas on hand can be a good supplement to whatever approach you may be taking to bring your body back into balance if you are not feeling up to par. There are so many good choices of herbal teas available today. To get the most of prepackaged tea bags, use two bags and cover the cup with a saucer to trap essential oils. With loose teas, measure 2 tablespoons in an 8-ounce cup, add hot water and cover.  Steep for 15 minutes, then strain.

What's ailing you? These herbs can help... 
Sore Throat
Ginger, licorice, marshmallow, slippery elm

Catnip, chamomile, kava, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap


Cardamom, chamomile, fennel, licorice, peppermint

Colds and Flu
Astragalus, Echinacea elderberry, ginger, rose hips


Chamomile, hops, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, valerian 


Ginseng, yerba mate

Five Useful Herbal Teas to have in the Pantry
Chamomile Tea
Is an aromatic tea known for its calming, soothing properties. Made from the flowers of the chamomile plant, this tea is useful in relaxing the nerves, soothing the stomach, relieving muscle tension, as well as helping with inflammation and improving liver function. I’ve grown this herb in the garden – the aroma is soothing and the flowers are beautiful.

Dandelion Tea
This is on my list because dandelions were so revered by our elders and rightly so...dandelion tea is potent.  In the spring you could find our grandmothers and grandfathers out in the field  with a small pocket knife and basket, gathering young tender dandelion greens..."good for the blood, you know'.  While the tea is not that tasty or fragrant it is considered as one of the workhorse teas. You can add honey or Agave nectar to sweeten.  Dandelion tea is useful as a body purifier, it assists with promoting healthy liver and kidney function. When searching for a tea to include in a detoxification process, dandelion tea should be high on your list.

Echinacea Tea
Is useful in helping to boost the immune system, especially when fighting off mild to moderate infections, such as the cold or flu. The leaves, stems, flowers and roots of the Echinacea plant are traditionally used in the formulation of this tea. My favorite tea containing Echinacea is Organic Echinacea Plus made by Traditional Medicinals.  You can purchase this brand in most grocery stores.  A tip from my holistic physician:  If your child will not drink tea, make a pot of tea and add to bath water.  Your child will be comforted by the bath and will absorb the herbs from the tea. I have done this on many occasions to ward off my daughter's sniffles.

Ginger Tea
Known for its pungent taste, ginger tea is another must have for the kitchen pantry. When experiencing any type of stomach imbalance, whether we are talking about digestive difficulties, nausea, cramping or bloating, one of the first herbal teas of choice should be ginger. Using the root of this plant, it is easy enough to make your own blend. Purchase a fresh ginger root from the grocery store, wash and peel a small section of the root. Place thinly cut slices into a cup, then cover with boiling water. Cover and let the tea seep for about 5 minutes. Strain then drink. Add honey or agave nectar to sweeten.  Ginger freezes well - you can always have some on hand.

Peppermint Tea
The fragrant aroma of fresh peppermint alone lifts the spirits, the scent coaxes one to start to feel the zest of life. During the summer months, fresh mint makes a cooling tea. As the season comes to an end, the mint is collected and dried so it can continue to be enjoyed throughout the year. Peppermint is another choice when looking to promote digestive health. In addition it is useful in helping to fight stress, supporting the immune system and help with bringing the mind into focus.

So the next time you are shopping at the grocery store deciding what beverages to put into your cart, leave out the artificially sweetened drinks and opt instead for a few new herbal teas. Delicious hot or cold, they will add a new zesty dimension to your day and just might "cure" what ails you.

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