Feeling low energy? Looking for a boost to your immune system? Herbal tea could be exactly what you need to help your body heal itself.
Those that know me well can testify to my love for coffee. I make a mean pot of french press java in the morning with a coffee press made of metal, and maybe have a double Americano from my local barista around noon, but after the middle of the day, I’m over it.
I switch over to herbal tea in the afternoon and drink at least a potful every evening. It puts warmth in my belly in the wintertime, and adds an extra element to my health to help counteract the caffeine from my earlier indulgences. And I simply make my own from bulk herbs that I buy from my local natural foods co-op.
Here’s a few of my favorite ingredients for homemade herbal tea:
- Licorice root – I never liked licorice candy, possibly because I don’t care for the strong anise flavor, but I sure do like licorice root in my tea. Sweetener is never necessary when using it, and it’s got some great medicinal properties. Licorice is an expectorant, which means that it helps to dissolve mucus in the lungs, and it’s an adaptogen, or tonic herb, helping the body in times of stress and anxiety. It can be useful for upset stomachs and ulcers, and is also a mild laxative. I generally use about a tablespoon of cut and sifted root per pot of tea.
- Alfalfa leaf – Yes, I’m aware that alfalfa is one component of hay, and that horses and cows love it… But alfalfa has also been used for millennia as medicine. It’s high in protein, calcium and other minerals, as well as good amounts of vitamins A, B , C, D, E, and K. Alfalfa has been used to help digestion, anemia, diabetes, and to increase breast milk production (it sure hasn’t helped me with that…) I use about a tablespoon and a half in a pot of tea.
- Red Clover blossoms – Clover is great for coughs and bronchitis, and has been used to treat eczema, skin conditions, sore throats, and to reduce inflammation. It’s recommended as a blood-builder and purifier as well. I throw a handful into the pot and call it good. Pregnant women are advised against drinking clover tea.
- Peppermint – I love mint. It goes with pretty much anything, and can soothe your stomach or achy head. A tablespoon of mint per teapot is good, but if you like it, add another. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
- Tulsi – Also known as Holy Basil, tulsi is revered in India and recommended for everything from the common cold to diabetes. It’s also classified as an adaptogen, helping your body to deal with stress and to balance your system. Use 2 teaspoons per pot.
These herbs are readily available in most health food stores, and all of them can be grown in your kitchen garden for pennies.
With a little creativity and some research into healing herbs, you can find a blend that tastes great and works for you.
Your body will thank you.