by Gillie Whitewolf
made a good deal of camomile tea, which they drunk
freely to ward off colds, to soothe nerves, and
as a general tonic. A large jug of this was alway
prepared and stood ready for heating up after confinements.
The horehound was used with honey in a preparation
to be taken for sore throats and colds on the chest.
Peppermint tea was made rather as a luxury than
a medicine, it was brought out on special occasions
and drunk from wine-glasses..." Flora
Thompson - Lark Rise to Candleford.
infusions have been drunk throughout the centuries
- both for their medicinal and culinary properties
- after all, our common ol' cuppa [the black tea
which came over from the Far East] is just a herb
infused in water. Herbal infusions can consist of
just one herb, or can be blended with a number of
different herbs to produce a range of tantalising
So you've tried the herb tea-bags from the supermarket....and
weren't that impressed.... try using loose dried
herbs, preferably organic, or fresh herbs [you'll
need to double the quantity of herb used if using
fresh] and discover a myriad of new herbal remedies
and refreshing drinks.
to make a Herbal Tea : To make your own delicious
cup of herbal tea simply place a teaspoon of dried
herb [or herbs if you're using a blend of herbs]
into a tea-pot, caffetiere, or suitable loose-tea
holder and pour on freshly boiled water. Infuse
covered for 5 mins or so [roots and tough herbs
may need to infuse for longer], strain and serve.
If you're making herbal tea for more than one person,
add more dried herb just as you would with loose
tea or tea-bags. For medicinal brews you may need
to double the amount of herb and leave to infuse
for longer - generally at least 5 - 10 minutes.
There are number of ways you can sweeten your herbal
tea - why not try honey or maple syrup instead of
sugar; or a shot of apple juice; dried orange or
lemon peel; a bruised clove [particularly effective
when a cold or sore throat threatens - cloves are
wonderfully antiseptic] or add a cinnamon or liquorice
all herbs lend themselves to teas - Feverfew is
so strong it is not suitable for infusions - whilst
others, although suitable, should only be consumed
in small quantities, such as Yarrow. Others, like
Chamomile, can be safely consumed in quantities
of 5 or 6 cups a day. Obviously poisonous herbs
should be avoided completely, and your health condition
and any medications you are on should be taken into
account - Rosemary and Sage, for example, should
not be taken by epileptics, persons suffering from
high blood-pressure, or during pregnancy or breast-feeding;
Valerian root should not be combined with sleep-inducing
medicines; and Hops should be avoided by anyone
suffering from depression. Always check up on any
herb you're thinking of using, if in doubt ask your
doctor or health professional - and remember that
even the safest herbs should, like most things in
life, be taken in moderation.
for that cuppa yet? Here's a small selection of
herbal teas to tempt you....
or Lemon Balm Tea - A delicious, lemon scented
tea, refreshing and calming, and a tonic for mind
and body. Soothing for stomach upsets and spasms,
especially those connected with emotional worries
or stress. A cup of Balm tea can calm palpitations and is a soothing remedy
for 'butterflies' and nerves. It is also a gentle
herb suitable for children, where it can be used
to calm anxious or excitable children and soothe
headaches. Balm is also a useful remedy for chicken
pox and shingles - not only as a tea but also as
a wash to soothe irritated or inflamed skin.
Tea - A refreshing tea which counters acidity
and helps cleanse the system. Dried Blackcurrant
leaves need to be soaked for an hour or so in cold
water before making an infusion, they will also
need to infuse for slightly longer than some herbs
- at least 10 minutes, and you may prefer to use
2 teaspoons for one cup.
/ Marigold Tea - The
bright orange petals of the Marigold flower can
be drunk as a tea to help remedy nettle rash and
skin problems. It is also useful for remedying digestive
infections and fungal problems such as thrush.
Tea - As long as your cats don't get to this
one before you... Catnip tea was apparently a favourite country tea long
before the black tea [which is now the nation's
common cuppa] arrived from the Far East. A nerve-tonic,
useful for keeping colds at bay, as well as ensuring
a restful sleep. It
is useful tea for soothing nervous headaces and
is a good digestive aide, nerve relaxant, cold preventative,
and hiccup remedy. Catnip is a gentle herb and makes
a suitable drink for children and will help soothe
Tea - Perhaps one of the most well known of
the herbal teas - Chamomile is a wonderful boon to hay fever and asthma sufferers,
being markedly anti-allergenic - leave to infuse
covered and inhale the steam before drinking. It
is also useful for calming stomach spasms, relieving
morning sickness, easing indigestion, bloating and
hiccups. A cup of Chamomile tea last thing at night
can ensure a good night's sleep. Another gentle
herb Chamomile is useful for relaxing over-tired
children and offers a gentle remedy for teething.
Tea - The leaves and petals of the humble Dandelion make a diuretic tea for treating fluid retention
and urinary infections. Unlike most diuretics, which
leach potassium from the body, Dandelion is rich
in potassium. It is also a valuable liver tonic.
Tea - A delicious, cooling tea, and one of my
first choices for warding off colds and 'flu. Elderflower
is also a popular folk remedy for hay fever sufferers
and should be drunk a couple of months before and
throughout the hay fever season - preferably sweetened
with local honey. Particularly tasty blended with
Seed Tea - A spicy tea useful for relieving
windy digestive systems. Fennel
Seed tea was reputedly drunk (and the seeds
eaten) by the Anglo-Saxons to dampen the appetite
and ward off hunger-pangs, it is also a folk remedy
for relieving the aches and pains of flu.Crush 1
teaspoon of seeds and infuse covered for 10 mins.
Tea - Good for headaches, poor circulation,
and lapses of memory. Hawthorn was widely used in the past to bulk out more expensive
teas - the following recipe for a popular country
tea mix is taken from Barbara Griggs' The
GreenWitch : "2 parts of dried Hawthorn
leaves to 1 part each of Sage and Balm; or equal
parts of Hawthorn, Sage, Balm and Blackcurrant leaves"
Tea - A sleepy brew most useful for insomnia
relief. Hops are not recommended
to be taken internally by anyone feeling low or
suffering from depression.
Tea - If you've over indulged on the alcohol
the night before, an infusion of Lavender flowers makes an ideal cuppa for calming the throbbing
pain of a hangover. It also soothes the digestive
system and assists the liver.
Tea - A mild-flavoured, delicate tea widely
drunk all over Europe and valuable as an anti-spasmodic
and sedative to the nerves and digestive system.
A soothing remedy for headaches, particularly those
caused by nervous tension. Drink in the evening
to relax, or after a meal as a digestif.
Tea - Nettles really are one of Nature's little
gems, they have so much to offer us and are full
of vitamins and minerals. Nettle tea is a superb detoxifying, cleansing tonic for
the whole body, and is particularly beneficial to
the liver and kidneys, and can help sooth eczema
and irritated or inflamed rashes and skin conditions.
Nettles are anti-allergenic - try blending them
with chamomile for a hay-fever remedy - and the
anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties make
it an ideal regular cuppa for sufferers of arthritis.
Nettle tea is also a valuable remedy for anaemia
caused by heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some people find Nettle tea rather bland in flavour,
but nothing a dash of honey or lemon can't solve,
or try blending it with a more aromatic herb such
as Lemon Balm.
Tea - A refreshing cuppa which will soothe stomach
cramps, spasms and bloating, calm nausea and headaches,
and makes an excellent after dinner digestif. Maurice
Messegue, a French herbalist, proclaims it is as
"a balm for the entire digestive tract." Peppermint tea works
well as an iced drink, decorate with a sprig of
fresh mint - or add a fresh Peppermint leaf to ice-cubes
Peppermint tea should not be drunk too often - and
should not to be given to children under the age
Leaf Tea - Another personal favourite, raspberry
leaf is a refreshing and soothing tea, which blends
well with elderflower. Raspberry
Leaf is commonly recommended during the last
8 - 10 weeks of pregnancy to strengthen the uterus
muscles and encourage easy labour. For this reason
it should not be drunk before the last 8 - 10 weeks
of pregnancy (please seek advice from your midwife
or healthcare practitioner). Raspberry Leaf can
also be drunk to relieve diarrhoea.
Clover Tea - A mild and sweet-like-honey flavour
tea which is high in calcium and has a demulcent
quality making it useful for acid indigestion relief.
Reputedly soothing for asthma and respiratory problems.
Red Clover has an age-old reputation as a cancer
preventing herb. (The flowers contain the anti-cancer
compound genistein). Blends well with Raspberry
Tea - A light and clean tasting cuppa for getting
you going in the morning. Rosemary is a great herb to refresh a lagging mind and keep
your memory sharp, it also makes a pleasant migraine
Rosemary tea should not be drunk too often and is
not suitable for epileptics. Do not use during pregnancy
or if breast-feeding.
Tea - Quite an aquired taste! Good for warding
off colds and 'flu, but if you can't bring yourself
to drink it a Sage infusion
makes an excellent gargle for sore throats. Also
useful for menopausal women suffering from night
sweats and hot flushes.
Sage tea should not be drunk too often and not more
than 3 cups a day. Sage is not suitable for epileptics
and should not be used during pregnancy or if breast-feeding
- Sage tea is a traditional folk remedy for labour
and is also used to encourage the milk flow to dry-up
Tea - Makes a good tonic for exhaustion, and
drunk as a cold tea can help relieve headaches.
Thyme tea is also
useful at relieving urinary infections and water
retention and is a popular folk remedy for flu with
muscle aches and pains. Good for chest problems
and for treating asthma - for the wheeziness, and
shortness of breath symptoms, Andrew Chevallier
of Medicinal Plants...]
suggests an infusion of 15g thyme and 15g nettles
to 750ml of water - which should be sipped throughout
the day. Thyme tea can also provide relief for hay
fever sufferers and is considered to helpful in
maintaining vitality, particularly in old / third
Tea - [another favourite with the felines] -
A natural sedative, and an excellent remedy for
insomnia...but very pungent! I would suggest
blending this herb with other relaxing [and pleasantly
aromatic] herbs such as Passion Flower, Limeflower,
Chamomile, or Lemon Balm, and a good teaspoon or
two of honey! Valerian Tea is also good for relieving nervous irritability,
tension headaches, and menopausal problems, or to
relieve bronchial spasms and smokers cough.
Valerian should not be taken if already using sleep-inducing
may like to blend two or more herbs together - here
are a few tried and tested favourites in Gaia's
Garden [available to purchase in the Gaia's
Garden online shop] :
Balm & Chamomile - A refreshing and calming
blend, and a tonic for mind and body. Soothing for
stomach upsets and spasms, especially those connected
with emotional worries and indigestion
Clover & Raspberry Leaf* - A soothing, pleasant
tasting blend. [*Raspberry Leaf is commonly recommended
during the last 8 - 10 weeks of pregnancy to strengthen
the uterus muscles and encourage easy labour. For
this reason it should not be drunk before the last
10 weeks of pregnancy]
Mintea - A refreshing and soothing blend of Peppermint
and Catnip (rich in antioxidants). A soothing after-dinner
cuppa which may help ease headaches (particularly
those associated with digestive problems). Not
for children under 5.
& Lemon Balm - Just the thing to throw of
Winter's shadow and bounce into Spring. A detoxifying,
cleansing, tonic brew! The Lemon Balm is soothing
on the stomach and uplifting for your emotions
Cap' - A relaxing, sleepy bed-time blend of
Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Catnip and Valerian Root*.
[*Do not take with other sleep inducing drugs].
Unwind and drift away....
I'll be adding to the list over time, so please
do check back and see what's new. If you've got
a herbal blend you'd like to share, or a herb you'd
like to rave about I'd love to hear from you - why
not visit the forum and share your passion!