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Making herbal teas
Herbal teas are something that we are probably all aware of – the boxes of peppermint and chamomile tea next to the regular tea bag – and we are probably also aware of their medicinal properties (though possibly as an add on to the taste).
Here, I have two recipes for teas which are designed specifically for symptoms rather than everyday drinking. They are ones to keep in the cupboard as a first treatment for minor ailments.
Hangover tea recipe
This tea helps with that slightly seasick nausea – typical of, but not solely caused by, a hangover. It is a mix of meadowsweet and rosebay willowherb and is also a great tea to drink after taking a course of antibiotics to help the gut recover its balance. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) grows in damp areas and is where the drug aspirin (salicylic acid) is extracted from. It is a mild painkiller but also – in its entire form – helps with stomach problems rather than causing them. Rosebay Willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium), also known as Fireweed, is a pioneer plant, one of the first to colonise bare ground. It is soothing to digestion and also helps the gut build up beneficial gut flora.
If you are sensitive to salicytates (e.g. allergic to aspirin) you should not use meadowsweet.
- Meadowsweet, flowers and leaves dried and chopped up.
- Rosebay willowherb, young leaves dried and chopped up.
- You can dry the leaves by either hanging bunches of stems in a dry and airy place for 4-6 weeks or by using a dehydrator on a cool setting. Once dried strip the leaves from the stems and store in a jar. You can also buy ready dried leaves.
Put one teaspoon of each herb into a square of tied up muslin or a tea strainer.
Pour just boiled water over it and leave to steep for 10-15 minutes.
Add honey to taste.
Drink up to three times a day.
Insomnia tea recipe
This tea is designed for people who have difficulty in actually getting to sleep – it is a tea designed to calm the mind which, along with stopping using all screens for at least an hour before bedtime, can soothe your mind and help you drift off.
Using anything long term to help you sleep can cause dependence – either psychological or physical – so while this tea has no side effects, it is something to try for a while, perhaps during a period of stress and then try to get to sleep naturally without anything.
- Lemonbalm (Melissa officinalis) - dried or fresh leaves
- Rose petals – unsprayed – dried or fresh
- Hops strobile dried
Put 1 teaspoon each of lemonbalm and rose, along with one hop flower in a square of tied up muslin or a tea strainer.
Pour just boiled water over it and leave to steep for 5-10 mins.
Add honey/milk to taste.
Sip just before bedtime.
If pregnant omit the hop flower.