I’m British, so I know all about tea. Although, it wasn’t until I settled in San Francisco that I started discovering the vast array of herbal, green and white teas that were on offer. Before that, as far as I was concerned, tea was black and always taken with milk. If you are in San Francisco you call it English Breakfast. But if you’re in England you call it ”tea” and it’s offered all the time, suitable for all occasions, literally. If there is a crisis – you put the kettle on and make a cup of tea. If you are having a serious talk with a friend -you put the kettle on and make a cup of tea. If you are having a general catch up with a mate- put the kettle on and have a cup of tea… get my drift? When my mum (English version of mom) comes to visit she gets flustered each time we go to a coffee shop and is asked “what tea do you want?” She looks at me perplexed and says “what do they mean… I want normal tea of course.”
Around the world, tea is used as a ritualistic drink and healing tonic. When I was pregnant I really got to know the benefits of raspberry leaf, nettle and peppermint teas. Herbal teas offer so much being rich in vitamins and minerals. Incorporating a variety of tasty teas during the day and evening not only hydrates us, but can add to our nutrient intake. As well as, the many specific benefits different teas have to offer. Raspberry leaf has long been touted by midwives as a toner of the womb, it is also a good source of calcium, vitamins A and C. Nettle is one of the most nourishing herbs around, it is a good source of; calcium, potassium, iron, vitamins A, C, K. Nettle can have a slightly bitter taste so I find blending it with peppermint, or both raspberry / peppermint works really well. Letting a jar steep in the bright sun is a great way to infuse the herbs.
I also use herbal teas as part of my son’s diet. His first liquid other than my breast milk was cooled chamomile tea. He enjoys peppermint so I often make him a blend using nettles. When he is showing signs of fussiness due to teething, I give him a blend of chamomile and catnip. These herbs help soothe the nerves and ease the tooth pain. Chamomile is also known to promote healthy digestion and is anti-inflammatory.
There are so many herbs out there and it is fun to try new ones, or just make a brew using your time tested favorite. I urge you to give herbal teas a chance if you don’t already use them as an everyday beverage. Of course, I can’t seem to shake off my roots, and I still always start my day with a cup of good old English Breakfast!
For more information on the healing power of herbs, read: