Legendary teas and how to blend them

With The Herbal Clinic Swansea

According to legend the first person to drink tea was Emperor Shennong of China 2737 BC. He was drinking from a pot of boiled water when some leaves of a nearby Camellia sinensis tea plant blew into the hot water and infused. When the Emperor drank from the pot he felt restored and the infusing of plants for tea was born.

Making your own tea blends is a wonderful way to become familiar with the properties and actions of various herbs. It enables you to create your own blends, tailored to your individual taste preferences or needs. A thoughtfully combined tea mix makes a special and personal gift for a loved one. One word of advice however – not all herbs are tasty! Some have quite bitter flavours, they contain properties that are very beneficial to health, but not always appreciated in a teacup.

Good Morning! (6am -10am)

We should awaken in the morning feeling alert and refreshed. A good routine can work wonders for setting the tone for the day ahead; warm water to hydrate the body and some gentle meditative exercises to warm the joints, muscles and tune in the mind. A morning tea blend can help clear the mind, cleanse the digestive tract and bring clarity for the day ahead.

In this blend:

Lemongrass (pictured right): Cleansing the gut of any stagnant residues to provide a fresh start to the day.

Lemon balm: Calming yet uplifting, a brain tonic that relieves tiredness.

Cardamom: Improves concentration and encourages a calm meditative state.

Rosemary: A strengthening tonic for the mind and body when energy is flagging.

  • 1 Tablespoon dried Lemongrass
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon balm
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary
  • 15 cardamom pods (the pods can go into the pot whole, but for a more fragrant flavour crush with a mortar and pestle)

Midday (10am-2pm)

During the middle hours of the day our activity is generally at its peak, with digestion and assimilation in the body being at its strongest. Ideally the largest meal of the day should be eaten at this time; excessive lethargy and sluggishness or ‘food coma’ following eating is a sign that there may be digestive insufficiency. It can be beneficial to eat some lightly toasted fennel, coriander and cumin seeds following a meal to strengthen the digestion and reduce bloating.

In this blend:

Cinnamon: A warming tonic that enhances digestion and absorption.

Coriander: A carminative herb that helps to dispel wind.

Clove: A rejuvenative herb that encourages a balanced gut flora.

Fennel: Settling for the digestion and uplifting for the mind.

Liquorice: Sweet, restorative and soothing for the digestive system. Although very sweet to the taste, this herb is safe to use for those with diabetes, containing substances that can help to lower blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body1. It should be omitted for those who suffer from high blood pressure – a teaspoon of honey can be used instead to balance the spicy flavours.

  • 2 Cinnamon quills broken into pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel seeds
  • 15 – 20 Cloves
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Liquorice root

With the addition of some fresh grated ginger root this also makes a great tea for colds and flu, helping to relieve congestion and fight infection.

Evening (6pm-10pm)

Eating a lighter meal, no later that 6pm allows the digestive system to rest completely throughout the night; it is during this time that repairs and restoration can occur. Winding down for the evening with relaxing activities can help the body transition ready for sleep.

In this blend:

Lime flower: Relaxing and calming, puts soft edges on the evening.

Rose: Delicately uplifting to bring sweet dreams.

Marshmallow: Softening and soothing, strengthening and nourishing.

Liquorice: Said to enhance the actions of all the herbs it is combined with.

  • 2 Tablespoons Lime flowers
  • 1 Tablespoon Rose petals
  • 1 Tablespoon cut Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis)
  • 1 Teaspoon cut Liquorice root

Method for a perfect infusion

Use one rounded tablespoon of herbs for every cup of boiling water. Place the herbs in a tea-pot (a cafetiere also works well), pour on the boiled water and leave for 15 to 20 minutes to infuse. Strain and drink, taking time to appreciate the subtle flavours.

If you are pregnant or taking any medication, please consult a practitioner before using herbal medicines.

  1. Christopher Weidner et al. Amorfrutins are potent antidiabetic dietary natural products PNAS, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1116971109

The Herbal Clinic, 32 King Edward Road, Swansea SA1 4LL 01792 474356

 

 

 

 

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