Monday, June 14, 2010
JOIN ME FOR A HEALTHY CUP OF HERBAL TEA
I'm having so much fun playing with my camera, the herbs from my garden and my teaposy teapot that I wanted to share one of my favorite herbal tea recipes with you and explain some of the health benefits. In the picture above, the beebalm (Oswego Tea) are the green leaves to the left and to the right is the spearmint I grew. In front of the green herbs is licorice root to the left and cinnamon chips to the right. The licorice and the cinnamon chips I ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs, which I recently became affiliated with. I feel they have a very large selection of fresh organically grown herbs and their service is good. So....I grow some of my own herbs and then supplement with what I can't grow. Larger amounts of herbs are used when the herbs are fresh and less herb is used when it is dried (more concentrated)
The amount of herbs that I used for this batch of tea is shown above but it can be altered to suit your individual taste.I tore the leafy herbs into large pieces, put them in the teapot (which has a built in strainer)and then added the cinnamon chips and the licorice root. I let it brew for 15 minutes and this is what I ended up with.
I love watching the tea brew and the water droplets collecting on the teapot. Ok...now for the health benefits. Licorice is one of my favorite ingredients to add to herb teas. It gives the tea a pleasant sweet aftertaste. I feel that it is one of the healthiest herbal tea sweetners that there is. In Stephen Buhner's book
Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria (Storey Medicinal Herb Guide) he writes quite a bit about licorice. Some of the many actions of licorice that he lists are that it is an antioxidant, antispasmodic, enhances antibody formation, antistress agent, adrenal tonic, anti-inflammatory, tumor inhibitor and an immune modulator. "Several trials have shown that it possessses a distinct immunomodulator activity. That is if the immune system is overactive, licorice calms it down; if underactive, it pumps it up." Licorice can be overused however and with excessive use can cause potassium depletion, hypertension and it also can cause a strong estrogenic effect. Most often these side effects are caused when one overeats the concentrated licorice candy. Candy is not the natural form of licorice. I drink one to two cups of the above tea...almost every day and feel more energy and calmness.
Cinnamon is antimicrobial and antifungal. Cinnamon can also be used as a food preservative, due to its antiseptic qualities. This spice may also help to control blood sugar. Hmmm...maybe that is one reason it is added to sweet baked goods? One source said that the smell of cinnamon can even boost brain activity.
Spearmint of course is soothing for the digestive system and can combat heartburn, nausea and morning sickness. It is a soothing herb.
Now for the Beebalm, which I use in tea and in cooking...in place of oregano. Beebalm has many different names....Monarda, Bergamot, Sweet Leaf, and Oswego Tea. It was named Oswego Tea, after the Indians who used it quite extensively as a remedy. It is an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Matthew Wood, a famous herbalist tells us that Bee Balm can also help to detoxify the liver.
If you would like to try the cinnamon chips and or licorice root you can order them at the link below
Its very easy to grow your own Beebalm and Spearmint...in fact it can be too easy...in that they both like to spread. Beebalm also attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds