The Minimalism of Tea
Tea is an act complete in its simplicity.
When I drink tea, there is only me and the tea.
The rest of the world dissolves.
There are no worries about the future.
No dwelling on past mistakes.
Tea is simple loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup.
I inhale the scent, tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup.
I drink the tea, the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me.
I am informed by the tea, changed.
This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth of the world suddenly becomes revealed: all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense, invented in our minds for no good purpose.
There is only the tea, and me, converging.
— Thich Nhat Hanh: Tea Ceremony
Basil Leaf Tea is good for the lungs and diseases of the kidneys and bladder. It relieves cramps, vomiting, constipation, and even bad breath. Studies have also shown it can help relieve indigestion.
Bay Leaf Tea is excellent for the digestion and is an astringent as well.
Bergamot Tea is favored as a remedy for sore throats and chest complaints.
Borage Tea is used as a heart tonic, as a stimulant for the adrenal glands and as a purifier to the system. The tea is known for giving a “lift” after a hard day!
Caraway Seed Tea has digestive and cleansing properties and is helpful in clearing the complexion. Crush the seeds slightly before pouring on boiling water.
Catnip Tea has long been used to alleviate colic in babies.
Chamomile Flower Tea is good for menstrual pain and nervous tension and reported to improve ones disposition. The tea taken after a hot bath before going to bed with a few drops of lavender oil will help to induce sound natural sleep.
Chive Tea made from chopped fresh chives is said to lower blood pressure, is a source of calcium and helps to strengthen nails and teeth.
Comfrey Tea is used to heal injuries and broken bones, hence its common name of “knitbone”. It contains large amounts of calcium and B12. It helps in the formation of strong teeth and bones, helps the circulation and cleanses the bloodstream.
Coriander Seed Tea has been used traditionally for purifying the blood thus clearing the complexion.
Cress Tea is a blood purifier, is rich in vitamins and minerals, contains sulfur, iron, iodine and phosphorus, and is excellent for clearing the complexion and brightening the eyes. Apart from making one more robust, it is said to help prevent hair from falling out. Combines well with parsley.
Dill Seed Tea is good for soothing colic in babies and helps the digestion.
Black Elder Tea is made from the flowers is an old remedy for influenza.
Fennel Seed Tea is excellent for bathing sore eyes, relieves indigestion and helps to rid the body of uncomfortable gases.
Bronze Fennel Tea helps stimulate the appetite and promotes good digestion! 1 tsp. crushed bronze fennel seeds and 1 cup boiling water (milk may be used but just bring to a simmer)
Hibiscus sabdariffa Another common type of herbal tea shows promise in regulating blood pressure. In human clinical studies at Tufts, tea brewed from flowers of the tropical roselle plant, Hibiscus sabdariffa, lowered the blood pressure of research subjects. Three cups daily of this hibiscus tea lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressures over a course of 6 weeks.
Lemon Grass Tea is rich in vitamin A and has the effect of clearing the skin and refining its texture.
Lime Flower Tea calms the nerves and sooths the mucous linings following a head cold.
Lovage Leaf Tea stimulates the digestive organs. A tea made from the seeds is recommended as a gargle for infections of the mouth and throat.
Marjoram and Oregano Leaf Tea is helpful at the onset of a fever, relieves colds, cramps, and stomach pains. A strong tea of the leaves, cooled and used as a final rinse will help darken the hair of brunettes.
Mint Leaf Tea will disperse congestion in the body and relieve indigestion, bronchitis, and headaches.
Nettle Leaf Tea contains vitamin D, iron, and calcium and is used as a spring tonic for the blood. It is taken in case of arterial degeneration, rheumatism, gout, and shortness of breath. The leaves fresh or dried make a delicious nutritious soup.
Parsley Leaf Tea is a very nutritious tea containing A, B, C, iron, potassium, silicon, magnesium and other trace elements. The tea assists the bladder, kidneys, and liver and is excellent for anemia.
Raspberry Leaf Tea has the reputation for easing childbirth and the expulsion of the afterbirth, and assisting lactation. It is soothing, tones up the mucous membranes, allays nausea, and encourages good bowel action.
Rose Hip Tea is popular as a preventative against colds. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, A, E, and B. Hibiscus flowers are often blended with it for fragrant enjoyment.
Rosemary Leaf Tea is recommended for strengthening the memory and relieving headaches. It is a nerve tonic as well.
Sage Leaf Tea promotes longevity, strengthens the memory, and restores acuteness to the senses. It has a tonic effect on the liver, brain, and nerves. It is an excellent tea blended with lemon balm. The tea makes a soothing mouth rinse for inflamed gums and helpful as a mouth rinse for sore throats.
Savory Leaf Tea is used to treat colic, flatulence and respiratory problems. It is an intestinal antiseptic and said to be an aphrodisiac.
Tarragon Leaf Tea helps to rid the body of excess fluids and aids indigestion and flatulence.
Thyme Leaf Tea tones up the nervous system and respiratory organs.
Valerian Root Tea has remarkable sedative properties, relieves migraine and heart palpitations. It should be taken before going to bed. Some herbalists advise that this tea should not be taken by people suffering from liver complaints as it can cause nausea. It has the reputation of an unpleasant smell so mix with lemon grass or add honey or fruit juice.
Yarrow Tea – Cut the stems and flowers from a yarrow plant. Place them in a food processor, and process until the entire plant is well diced (not juicy). Spread the diced herb onto a tray
in the sun and leave to dry for 2-3 days. You can speed up the process with a food dehydrator. Once dry, steep one tablespoon of yarrow in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. It is recommended not to consume more than 3 cups of yarrow tea in one day.
Yarrow Tea dates back to the ancient Greeks. It is mentioned in the story of Achilles in Greek mythology, hence its name Achillea Millefolium. Achilles is said to have used Yarrow to protect himself and his soldiers. Millefolium means “of a thousand leaves.” This refers to the fine, delicate and feathery leaves of the plant.
Native American tribes used it for bleeding, and for wounds, and infections. It is used today in Ayurvedic traditions, and traditional Chinese medicine credits the herb with the ability to affect the spleen, liver, kidney, and bladder. Yarrow tea is currently used to help stimulate the appetite, fight fevers and colds, combats gastric and digestion issues, and protects the gallbladder.
Ways to Use Tea Leaves
Ground Tea leaves
Grind tea leaves before adding to a recipe. You can use a pepper mill, coffee grinder or spice grinder to do the trick. Adding ground tea leaves to baked goods is an easy place to start. Muffins, cookies, cakes, breads and scones pair with tea flavors well.
Combine ground tealeaves with fresh herbs or spices to create a tasty rub for beef, pork, poultry, fish, tofu and tempeh. Let the flavors soak overnight for best results. You can combine tea leaves with vinegar- or oil-based marinades.
Mix tea leaves with breadcrumbs for a tasty topping added right before cooking.
Sprinkle tealeaves into stir-fries while cooking. Green tea leaves pair particularly well! Merge your greens: add green tea leaves to leafy greens when cooking. A sprinkling of green tea enhances the fresh earthy flavors of kale, chard, and spinach.
Cook rice with tea for added flavor. Jasmine tea creates delicious jasmine rice, which pairs well with many Asian dishes.
Add citrus-flavored white teas to poached salmon and other fish for a tender, exotic flavor. Teas are great for poaching fruit: pears, apples, peaches and plums.
Add brewed tea to soups and stews.
Add brewed tea to gelatin and eat for joint health.
Cooking stock or broth? Steep a few bags of mild white tea in your pot before using in the recipe to add a touch of flavor.
Steep a tea bag in melted butter for a few minutes. Try sweeter teas for butters bound for baked goods like breakfast muffins. Use bolder teas for butters bound for vegetables and grains.
Rooibos tisane (herbal tea), or Red Bush Tea is a dried shrub from South Africa. Pronounced “Roy-Boss”, this herbal tisane is caffeine free and has been used for centuries by the natives of South Africa for a host of ailments. The Tea comes in two versions, green and red. Green is the more natural version, but it is more labor intensive and more expensive and has a more earthy taste then its red counterpart. The red version is produced by laying the green shrubs on the mountainside to “ferment” or oxidize. The sun dries it and changes it to the red color.
Rooibos is high in antioxidants, minerals, quercetin(which helps with allergies and may fight off cancer cells), can increases your SOD (superoxide dismutase) levels, and can be used to treat eczema and acne. Some of its many health benefits include:
1. May lower blood pressure,
2. May offer cardiovascular protection
3. Acts as a bronchodilator
4. Prevents DNA damage
5. Acts as an anti spasmodic
6. Used to treat colic in babies
7. Used to reduce stress levels
8. Research has shown Rooibos to be anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory & anti-viral. The best thing about Rooibos is the taste. It has a slightly sweet, yet earthy taste.
4 cups of water
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
Lemon or honey (optional)
Stevia for taste (optional)
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add turmeric powder and simmer 10 minutes. Strain. Add lemon/ honey or stevia to sweeten it up. Save remaining tea in fridge to drink later
Spicy Mint Tea
This tea combines two common garden herbs that are hard to find at loose herb suppliers. In this nice warming beverage, apple mint helps soothe sore throats and colds. Infuse 1 tsp to 1 tbsp per cup for 15 min.
1 part bee balm
1 part apple mint or spearmint
May your dreams be sweet, your heart at peace and your spirit continue to heal as you walk on your spiritual path. Blessings
Healing Lemon Honey Tea
1 lemon, sliced
2 ginger slices
1 cup or more of local, raw honey
1 12-16 oz glass jar
Slice a lemon and place in a glass jar with the ginger slices and cover in honey. Place in refrigerator for a week to marinate. When ready to drink, boil 8 oz of water and add one tablespoon of honey lemon tea mix to the boiling water. Stir and enjoy.
The tea’s hot steam and liquid help clear your head, the lemon clears mucus while giving you some vitamin C and the antiviral, antibacterial honey soothes your throat.
This mixture will keep in your refrigerator for months.
3 Health Benefits of Drinking Tea:
1. Tea contains antioxidants. Like the Rust-Oleum paint that keeps your outdoor furniture from rusting, tea’s antioxidants protect your body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution.
2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee. Coffee usually has two to three times the caffeine of tea (unless you’re a fan of Morning Thunder, which combines caffeine with mate, an herb that acts like caffeine in our body). An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 135 mg caffeine; tea contains only 30 to 40 mg per cup. If drinking coffee gives you the jitters, causes indigestion or headaches or interferes with sleep — switch to tea.
3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Unwanted blood clots formed from cholesterol and blood platelets cause heart attack and stroke. Drinking tea may help keep your arteries smooth and clog-free, the same way a drain keeps your bathroom pipes clear. A 5.6-year study from the Netherlands found a 70 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack in people who drank at least two to three cups of black tea daily compared to non-tea drinkers.
When brewing and picking out the safest tea remember these tips:
1. Choose an organic & non-GMO certified brand of tea. (My favorites are Numi, Traditional Medicinals, and Rishi Tea (loose leaf)).
2. Check the ingredient list on the back of the tea package to make sure there are no added flavors, GMO ingredients like soy lecithin and corn starch added to the tea leaves.
3. Make sure the brand you buy uses a safe form of packaging material or buy loose leaf tea and use a stainless steel or glass tea strainer. Have the company verify that bags do not contain epichlorophydrin, and avoid plastic tea bags all together. (Numi and Traditional Medicinals are some of the only brands I trust in this category because they have publicly stated they do not use this harmful ingredient or GMO packaging and are Non-GMO Project verified.)
4. The majority of restaurants use some of the most pesticide ridden tea and brands that have harmful packaging like Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Bigelow, etc. Don’t fall victim to this. Bring your own tea when eating out or going to restaurants and ask for pot or cup of boiling water. If you drink iced tea, brew your own at home and carry an insulated water bottle with you.