Fresh mint Tea Leaves
It is holiday time and I have already made hot chocolate, drank cinnamon coffee, tried eggnog for the first time.(loved it!) This week it’s tea time. While tea is great any time of the year it is especially important to me this time of the year when colds and flu viruses are running around. Tea is a great way to help you body’s immune system fight off germs and can help to improve your mood on rainy days. (if rain bothers you) Try a herbal tea to warm up at night if you are trying to avoid the caffeine in coffee and hot chocolate. Herbal tea can help to keep you hydrated as cold temperatures tend to make us want to drink less water. Here are a few you may want to try.
How to Make Tea
- Bring water to a boil for 3-5 min
- Remove from heat
- Add a tablespoon of water for every cup of water.
- Let steep for 5 minutes.
- Add Honey or lemon for added flavor if desired.
- Immune system booster
- Digestive support
- Stress and anxiety
- Antibiotic activity
Do not take if you are nursing or pregnant. This herb has hormonal properties that can affect your menstrual cycle
This is my first year growing lavender. I was a bit nervous about it. My husband bought a starter plant not yet flowering.We transplanted it into a larger pot that gave the plant a little of a shock for a week or two while it rooted into its new home. Within about a month and a half flowers started blooming all over it. Its only the first year so I don’t know yet how many harvest I will get out of it this year. This post is about how to harvest store and use lavender.
How to harvest
When you harvest your lavender you are also pruning and shaping it. Cut flowers in the early morning before the sun has had time to evaporate the oils in the plant. You want to keep as much of the plants oils inside of it since this is what gives it is fragrant smell. Cut only the green part of the stem a little above the woody stock. Cutting into to woody stock can cause damage to the pant and stunt it.
Flowers should be harvested right before the bloom opens to make sure you have a strong scent. Gather a hand full and cut the green part of the stalk. Keep your herb out of the sun as you harvest them. (Sun drying will change the color of your flowers.
How to store Once you have gathered your flowers lightly shake and check for any bugs or insects. Next tie the ends of the steams together and hang upside down. Hang your herbs in a dark, cool and dry area. Once they have fully dried (which is 2-4 weeks) you can store in a dry container. Make sure to always store dried herbs in cool areas.
How to use Now that your plants are dry its time to use them and there are so many ways to use dried lavender.
Lavender, Rose and Rosemary Bath Salt
- 1/2 cup Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup dried crushed rose petals
- 1/2 cup Dead Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
- 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
- 8 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- Boil 8 oz. of water.
- Pour hot water into tea cup
- Place tsp. of dried lavender buds into a tea ball.
- Place the tea ball into tea cup
- Let steep for 5 minutes.
Lavender Sleep Sachet
To make asleep sachet from lavender buds simply gather up enough buds to fill your sachet 2/3 full add a few drops of lavender essential oil to boot the smell if it is too weak.
Many times when we have headaches it is due to tension and stress. Congestion of blood in the head will also cause pain in the head region. These types of headaches are pretty normal and should not be confused with migraine or chronic pain headaches. These last two types could be more serious and you should consult with your healthcare provider for chronic and reoccurring head pain. But for the normal everyday headache here are some herbal teas that will help to calm and sooth.
Green tea is not recommended if you are caffeine sensitive or if you suffer from migraine headaches as this may make your headaches worse. However if you are use to caffeine green tea could be a good option for you. If you are not sure if caffeine bothers you opt for Peppermint tea. You can use fresh or dried leaves for your tea. Mix with a little honey, lemon, or plain if you like (I don’t recommend plain peppermint tea as the taste is not pleasant (at least to me.)
Ginger tea can be used to help with migraine headaches, but I still recommend again that if you have migraines still consult your doctor as other health issues may be involved. Ginger tea should not be consumed by pregnant woman or people with bleeding disorders or with gallstones. The reason that ginger works for migraines is due to the increase serotonin your body produces when this root is used. serotonin helps stop migraine by reducing inflammation.
Chamomile tea is recommended for calming the nerves and will help to take pressure from your head by calming you down and relaxing you. It can also help relieve anxiety. It is a natural sedative and can help reduces inflammation as well as work as a natural sleep aid without any addicting side affects.
Chai tea is a traditional Indian tea made with milk, water and a blend of black tea, ginger and other spices which may include cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper,cloves, star anise, coriander seeds and peppercorns. It can be consumed hot or cold and may provide a variety of health benefits. Here is a recipe you may enjoy.
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole peppercorns
- 4 tea bags
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
- 2-1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups milk
- In a large bowl crush cloves and peppercorns.
- Crush your spices until their aromas are released.
- Add tea bags, sugar, ginger, cinnamon stick to boiling water.
- Cover and steep for 6 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, heat milk.
- Strain tea, toss spices and tea bags.
- Stir in hot milk.
- Pour into cups.
Nutrition Facts1 cup: 92 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.Originally published as Indian Chai in Country Woman Christmas 2010
Makes: 6 cups tea
6 cups water
Fresh ginger, peel and grate
1 stalk lemongrass, take the outer dry leaves off and trim top & bottom
2-4 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
Honey/ Brown sugar, to taste
How to Make
Heat water on medium add ginger, lemongrass, star anise, and cinnamon stick as water is heating.
Bring tea to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Simmer it longer for stronger taste
Strain tea into cups add honey or brown sugar to taste.
Eating healthy can seem overwhelming for some people when they are just starting at. If you look up healthy diets you will be shown a vast and colorful variety of diet plans to choose from. Which one do you choose. In my personal opinion, I find that introducing healthy eating a little at a time is a great way to go about it. In post about the importance of drinking water I talk about starting off with just drinking more water. Each day or each week if you want pick something healthy to add to your diet. Don’t start out by taking things away from your diet, instead get excited about the healthy foods you are about to start enjoying. Health starts in the mind and having a positive outlook on what you are about to do will go longer in keeping you on your dreams and goals for a healthy happy you. Here are some things you can start to incorporate into your daily life.
Eat more fruit in the warm weather. Cut up fruit and make fruit cups and you can quickly grab out of the refrigerator. You can eat these as they are or add yogurt and granola for a heavy snack or light breakfast. (Add bananas to fill you up and make a heavier meal.)
Drink fruit infused water
Savory Dinner Treat yourself with a savory vegetable and meat dinner. Make a special lunch or dinner for yourself with these easy savory meat and veggie meals.
Healthy Snacking. You can add a healthy snack to your snacking options. Try adding a piece of fruit, or a handful of raw nuts to replace one of your usual snacks.
Try heavy salads. Don’t go with a boring side salad instead make a heavy salad as your main or only dish. I have had some amazing salads that were packed with more than just lettuce. Try adding protein to your salad, like salmon, chicken or shrimp. Here is a Spicy Sweet Chicken & Peach Salad with Honeyed Pecans you may enjoy from “Clean Eating” magazine. I recommend checking out their website for some really amazing recipes.
Take a walk. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air in your lungs. You can make it a rapid walk or just a leisurely stroll. The point of the walk is to clear your mind and refresh your body with oxygen. This is all part of developing a healthy mindset about living healthy.
Deal with stress in a healthy way. We all have stress, some of it is good and some is detrimental to you. Know there are some things you really have no control over. Talk to yourself and tell yourself to let these things go they are taking up valuable space in your mind that could be used to manage issues that you really do have control over. Take up a fun hobby. Taking up a hobby is another way to deal with stress, you are giving your brain time to relax and decompress.
Meditation, prayer, stillness. Whatever your personal religious views or none religious views, take time to still your mind. Start with just 5 min a day. Still the noise in your mind each day and come to a feeling of peace and oneness with yourself. I recommend picking a pleasant thought to hold in your mind such as an image of something that makes you feel calm and happy. This may be the thought of a flower or a nature scene that you have seen before or a place you have been and found relaxing.
Remember take it a little at a time and don’t stress or overwhelm yourself, its a pleasant walk not a race. Enjoy