Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Homemade Christmas gifts: Teas

   For Christmas this year I made some homemade herbal teas for the tea-drinkers on my Christmas list. I collected some herbs I found locally and put servings in paper teabags I bought at Teavana.They were a big hit!

I made two different mixes:

    A breakfast tea: mixture of white pine needles (~2 Tbsp), orange peel (pinch), and cloves (5 dried flowers). Did you know that pine is even higher than lemon in vitamin C content? To prepare, cover with boiling water and steep for about 20 min or until the color of the needles is diminished.
     A night time tea or warm milk infusion: place a mixture of lavender (1/2 Tbsp) and roasted hazelnuts(1/2 Tbsp) in hot water and steep for about 15 min. Lavender can be a very effective sedative for certain people, so take about a half hour before bed.

I also thought about making a dried version of my Rosemary-Strawberry tea but never found the time. This is a great combo for anyone feeling unmotivated or lethargic. I find it gets me unstuck and moving even if I am doing something monotonous. It also makes a great iced tea with a little honey.

Additionally I like to make an infusion of Tagetes (African marigold) with ginger and apple. Again I didn't get around to making a dried version of this either. I dried the Tagetes I grew this summer and stored it for use. However this tea is best warm because the marigold is very earthy regardless of its brilliant color.

    According to several well known herbalists: drinking about a quart of strong herbal teas from fresh ingredients (infusions) every day, can broadly improve overall health. These mixtures can also help treat acne according to an apprentice of Susan Weed. I hope to grow enough herbs to try this approach in the spring. Right now it is hard for me to find fresh herbs due to the amount of dogs in all of the green spaces where I live.

Do you have a favorite herbal tea mixture you drink?