Do not underestimate the healing powers of herbs, many times they can be as if not more effective than over the counter medication and, if used correctly, a far healthier option.
An easy way to access their healing power is to drink good quality herbal tea. Quality is important, shop bought herbal teas are often not great and can be tasteless. Where possible try to use the herbs themselves rather than a shop bought alternative or go to a good tea shop and buy your chose herbal tea from them.
Try the following:
AGRIMONY Astringent and slightly bitter, it is good for kidney and urinary problems and diarrhoea; by the same token, if you have a tendency to constipation, you should avoid it. Use 1–2 teaspoons per cup, and let it infuse for 10–15 minutes.
BALM Balm Tea has a delicate lemony flavour, used for depression, digestive problems, menstrual cramps, and as a tonic for the heart; it is also a mild useful remedy for high blood pressure. Use a couple of teaspoons of the dried herb –more of the fresh –to a cupful of boiling water; infuse covered for 10-15 minutes.
BETONY sweet and spicy taste, used for nerves and stress. Infuse a teaspoon of the dried herb in a covered pot for 10–15 minutes.
BLACKCURRANT A fresh and pleasant taste. Like Balm, used for rheumatism and arthritis, it counters acidity and helps cleanse the system. Use 2 Teaspoons of the fresh leaves for every cup. Put them in a small pan with a cupful of water, bring gently to the boil, then take off the heat and infuse covered for 10 minutes. If you are using the dried leaves, soak them for an hour in cold water before making your infusion. To do this, pour a cupful of boiling water over 2 tsp dried herbs; infuse 10–15 minutes.
CATNIP a nerve-tonic; drink it hot at bedtime for sound sleep without nightmares. A useful cold and ’flu preventative, it is also good for digestion.
CHAMOMILE An anti-spasmodic; it soothes the nerves and calms the digestion (but drink it before rather than after meals). It can help with a variety of menstrual problems, too. It also helps you to sleep. Chamomile is a good Tea for the sickroom, especially for those with fever. Use a couple of teaspoons of the papery heads to a cupful of boiling water. Infuse covered for about 10 minutes.
ELDERFLOWER Used to ward off colds and ‘flu, since it promotes a healthy perspiration. Infuse the flowers in a pint of boiling water, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Strain. Elderflower is good drunk cold, too.
FENNEL spicy aroma, sweetened with a little honey it is an excellent breakfast Tea. Good for weak windy digestive systems, for getting rid of excess phlegm in the lungs, it also damps down appetite. Crush 1 teaspoon of the seeds per cup, and infuse covered for 10 minutes.
FENUGREEK spicy, aromatic Tea, golden in colour, used as a cleanser and expeller of excess mucus in the respiratory or digestive system. The little seeds are highly nutritious –eat them when you have drunk the Tea. To make, crush a teaspoon of the seeds, and simmer them covered for 5 minutes in a cupful of water.
HAWTHORN The Tea is made from leaves and blossoms; use a heaped teaspoon to a cupful of boiling water, and let them infuse for 6 minutes. Used for poor circulation, headaches, lapses of memory, cardiac problems, and arteriosclerosis.
HIBISCUS FLOWERS a cooling Tea, it is good for mild fevers, or for drinking when you are particularly hot and thirsty. It is also useful for minor stomach complaints.
LIMEFLOWER anti-spasmodic and sedative to the nerves and the digestive system. Drink it after meals as a digestif, and in the evening to help you unwind and relax. Victims of stress should drink it instead of their regular caffeine fix. Use 1 teaspoon of the dried flowers to a cupful of boiling water, and infuse for 10 minutes.
PEPPERMINT good for digestion, cramps and spasms, and to calm nausea. A teaspoonful of dried leaves should be infused in a cupful of boiling water, covered; or use a tablespoonful of the fresh leaves.
RED CLOVER Use at least half a dozen of the fresh heads (1–3 teaspoons of the dried) to a cupful of boiling water; infuse covered for 5 minutes. Excellent for the skin problems of both adults and children, its calcium and phosphorus content makes it valuable for bones and teeth too. Also a soothing drink for sufferers from acid indigestion, asthma and respiratory problems.
ROOIBOSCH An excellent substitute for tea. Brewed just like tea-leaves –1 teaspoon to a cupful of boiling water; you can add milk if you like.
ROSEMARY This tea is light, clean and fragrant. Drink it for breakfast to get you going at the start of a tough day. To make it, infuse 2–3 sprigs, covered, in a cupful of boiling water for 5 minutes.
SAGE Used as a digestif; useful to help keep colds and ‘flu at bay, and a tonic for convalescents. Do not make a habit of drinking Sage Tea, however; have it only occasionally. To make it, pour a cupful of boiling water over 2–3 of the fresh or dried leaves, cover and infuse for 10 minutes.
Vary the flavour of your herbal tea with cinnamon or cloves, liquorice, orange peel, apple or pineapple juice or honey.
The Green Witch A Modern Woman’s Herbal Barbara Griggs
All the following recipes may be made with fresh or dry herbs. If using fresh herbs, increase the amount of plant matter to 1 tablespoon per cup of boiling water for a single serving and make only enough for as many servings as you intend to prepare right away. Fresh blends cannot be stored
This tea is for the treatment of a sore throat or digestive problems. Makes 1 cup • 1 tablespoon (2/ 3 ounce) dried chopped marshmallow root • 1 cup water 1. Place marshmallow root in water. 2. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Remove from heat and allow to steep for another 10 minutes. 4. Strain and drink. 5. Take as necessary throughout the day.
This tea is good for the treatment of colds and sore throat. Makes 1/ 2 cup • 1/ 2 cup water • 1 tablespoon dry sage (or 5-6 fresh sage leaves) 1. Boil the water and pour over the sage leaves. 2. Steep for 7 minutes. 3. Strain into a sterilized bottle and store in the fridge. To use, take 1 tablespoon and gargle for 1 minute. Do not swallow.
This tea is used for cleansing the blood and toning the digestive system. Makes approximately 1/ 4 cup (2 ounces) of the tea blend; 1 tablespoon of the tea blend makes 1 1/ 2 cups of tea • 1 tablespoon rosemary • 1 tablespoon yarrow • 1 tablespoon horehound • 1 teaspoon sage • 1 large catnip leaf • 1 1/ 2 cups boiling water • 1 tablespoon honey (optional) 1. Mix dry herbs in a small jar. 2. To brew, pour 1 1/ 2 cups of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of the herbal mixture and steep for 7-10 minutes. 3. Strain and drink. If you find this tea too bitter, you may want to add a full teaspoon of honey.
This tea is good for the treatment of heartburn, upset stomach, and gas. 1 teaspoon of the tea blend makes 1 cup of tea • 1 part peppermint • 1 part basil • 1 part dill seed • 1 cup boiling water 1. Mix dry herbs in a small jar. 2. To brew, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. 3. Steep 7-10 minutes. Strain and drink.
This tea is for the treatment of colds. 1 teaspoon of the tea blend makes 1 cup of tea • 1 part ginger • 1 part elderflowers • 1 part yarrow • 1 cup boiling water 1. Mix dry herbs in a small jar. 2. To brew, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. 3. Steep 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink.
This tea is good for aiding sleep. 1 teaspoon of the tea blend makes 1 cup of tea • 1 part lavender • 1 part catnip • 1 part verbena • 1 part chamomile • 1 cup boiling water 1. Mix dry herbs in a small jar. 2. To brew, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. 3. Steep 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink.
This tea is for relaxation and love. 1 teaspoon of the tea blend makes 1 cup of tea • 1 part rose petals • 1 part lavender • 1 part jasmine • Pinch of cinnamon (optional) • 1 cup boiling water 1. Mix herbs in a small jar. 2. To brew, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. 3. Steep 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink.
MENTAL FOCUS TEA
This tea is meant for mental focus, concentration, sharpening memory, and studying. 1 teaspoon of the tea blend makes 1 cup of tea • 1 part rosemary • 1/ 2 part spearmint • 1 cup boiling water 1. Mix herbs in a small jar. 2. To brew, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. 3. Steep 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink.
These teas / recipes are not intended to be used as authoritative medical advice.