I love tea. Even before I knew how to intentionally choose plants to heal or comfort or nourish, I loved sipping a warm cup on a cold day. There’s something about tea that nourishes and comforts beyond the body, and so I’ve tried to make it a daily practice in our homeschool day to brew a pot and grab a chapter book to read. We have story time tea around the table; right now we are reading The Complete Brambly Hedge–which is adorable, nature rich, and imaginative story about a community of mice that my boys (5 & 2.5) have been loving.
But back to tea. I can’t remember which course or book I found the idea in, but I know it was from Aviva Romm. Anyway, she suggested making a different tea each day of the week to boost nutrition, to boost immune system, to nourish and comfort the body systems. So, here are the teas that we have been cycling each week, and a bit of information about each.
Monday: Nettle Tea with a tiny pinch of real salt and local raw honey
Tuesday: Rosehip + honey
Wednesday: Lemon Balm Tea
Thursday: Calm Tea (recipe below)
Friday: Chamomile or Catnip tea
Saturday: Lung support tea or Hot Cacao with Astragalus
Sunday: Warm Cinnamon milk with Astragalus or Golden Milk
Stinging Nettle? Yes! The plants that were my childhood nemesis and stung me on the Koper trail so many times when I wasn’t looking carefully for their heart shaped leaves.
Nettle is rich in vitamins and minerals both. It contains Vitamins C, K and some B vitamins. It is calcium, magnesium and iron rich and also contains some potassium, manganese and copper. It is phytonutrient rich, so it’s antioxidant properties are perfect for supporting the body in times of stress (hello cold and flu season, hello modern life with incessant need to go-do-have and little time for rest). Wanna learn more about this amazing plant? Read this article:
When I make it for the boys, I simply make a tea using 2 heaping tablespoons of dried nettle in a large tea mug of water (maybe 1.75 cups), and let steep for 5 minutes. They aren’t fans of the taste alone, so I add honey and a tiny pinch of real salt (Redmond’s is the brand we use). But I make an infusion for myself–which is a stronger, more nutritive way of taking nettle. To make a nettle infusion: Measure out one ounce of the dried herb. Boil a quart of water. Put the dried herb into a quart jar and fill to the top with the boiling water. Put a lid on the jar and gently shake until the nettle leaves are dispersed throughout the water. Set aside to brew for at least four hours, I often make mine overnight and strain in the morning to sip throughout the day. What a way to give yourself a green boost at the beginning of the week!
Benefits of Rosehips Tea
These little beauties are one of my favorite flowers to find while hiking in the summer. They smell divine, and it clues me into where I might find Rosehips later in the fall–to scatter and plant, and harvest. But in drought years (like this year) I just buy them from our local health food store’s bulk section or herbal apothecary. Rosehips are rich in both Vitamins C and A, so we use them for an immune-system nutritional boost. Vitamin C is great for tissue repair and Vitamin A can help protect from both bacterial and viral infections.
To make, I stir 1/4 cup of rosehips in 2 cups of water until the water boils, and then turn down the heat to let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain the herbs, and enjoy! The boys find it a little tangy, so we add raw local honey to this tea.
Lemon Balm– a good plant to have your back. All cheesey-ness aside, grow lemon balm in your garden or in pots in your home. You won’t regret it! I love lemon balm. I take it by tincture to help when I feel anxiety creeping in, and I drink it by the cup—and give it to my boys too. Look at this amazing study of how Lemon Balm can help reduce DNA damage and repair oxidative stress when subjects were exposed to low dose radiation (I’m betting it has the same benefits for all of us chronically exposed to EMF waves). No, really—go check out this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20858648
I make it by adding 2 heaping tablespoons of dried lemon balm to 2 cups of water, and steeping for 3-5 minutes.
A Cup of Calm Because is there anyone who doesn’t need a cup of calm in their daily life? This is one of our favorite blends. Maybe one day I’ll find a kitchen space to rent and sell some of these tea blends, but until then, you can make your own:
1.5 cups lemon balm
3/4 cup chamomile
3/4 cup spearmint (or catnip)
2/3 cup rose petals
1/4 cup lavender
1/8 cup stevia leaf
Mix all in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, and brew a tablespoon per cup and a half water for 3 minutes. If you brew too long, it’ll have a little bitterness to it from the chamomile.
On Fridays, we drink chamomile tea. Mean girls references aside, if you want to know the benefits of chamomile and don’t know it already, go checkout this podcast episode from a fellow herbnerd and awesome podcaster Herbal Marie. But basically, chamomile is an herb we love—both boys started loving it after seeing Peter Rabbit drink it in one of our favorite Spring books.
Lung Support Tea. I found this recipe in Rosemary Gladstar’s book Herbs for Children’s Health , so I won’t share the recipe, but I will share that this book is one of my go-to book for herbs for my boys. There are so many recipes that we have used in it. If you have littles or plan to, you should have a copy of this book at home.
Warm Cinnamon Milk or Cacao with Astragalus
Do you follow The Chestnut School on Instagram? If not, go do so now. Also, if you get the chance to do any of their online programs, I can’t recommend them enough. I took their Herbal Medicine Making course, and it was well organized, beautiful, information rich, inspiring, and life changing. But back to astragalus. While it’s medicine is best used daily as an immune tonic, we try to get it in at least once a week by making warm cinnamon milk or hot cacao with astragalus. I also add it into broths and oatmeal or cooked grains, but that’s another post for another day. If you want to learn more about astragalus, you can read the whole article from which an excerpt is shown in the picture above, HERE.
If you want to make your kids a tasty treat that has immune boosting qualities:
Mix 1 tsp cinnamon in 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk with two slices astragalus root, and bring to a boil. Then let simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring with a whisk pretty continually. Remove from heat, and stir in 2-3 tsp raw honey, and serve. (Makes two servings). I use the same recipe for hot cacao, but add 1/2 TBSp Cacao powder and for adults add 1/4 tsp mushroom powder like chaga or cordyceps.
Hope that you’ll enjoy daily tea with your family as well! Be sure to let me know what you try and how you and your family feel when you do.