Jody has been studying herbs and herbal remedies since she was 12 years old. Medicinal teas are a favorite way of using herbs in her diet.
What wonderful plants they are, but oh how their value has been forgotten. Many people use them occasionally in cooking. How many look at the medicinal benefits that these herbs were praised for in times past though? Do you know how much a cup of herbal tea every day could benefit you?
It may not sound very appetizing but most teas don’t have quite the same taste as the herb itself does. Parsley tea is rather bland with a bit of celery aftertaste. For this reason, I tend to combine it with additional herbs. Catnip-Nepeta catari-, Peppermint-Mentha piperita-, Rosemary-Rosamarinus officinalis-, and Lemon Balm (a.k.a. Balm, Melissa)-Melissa officinalis-are ones I particularly like, especially if making and iced tea.
Parsley: a Most Wonderful Tonic That’s Almost Been Forgotten
Parsley (petroselinum crispum). We see it on our plates when we go out to eat. We use it in cooking, especially in soups and sauces. Have you ever really thought about what it can do though? If not you might be surprised. This little green herb is a time-honored tonic, especially for women. And that is just one of its qualities. One seemingly little recognized fact is that parsley is a natural antihistamine. I know from experience that is works wonders for allergies. My mother used to have a horrible time with hay fever and had to take a prescription for it. When she started through the change of life I made her a tea for hot flashes that contained parsley as one of the ingredients. This happened just at the start of a very hot summer. It was almost 2/3rds of the way through the allergy season when one of her coworkers started having a really bad time with his allergies. That is when she realized that she hadn’t had any problems with her allergies since she had been drinking the tea I made for her. It’s been about 10 years and she still hasn’t had any problems with her allergies. Even her allergies to pine and tape have improved as well.
That’s not all this little herb can to either. It’s filled with vitamins and nutrients. It has slight antibiotic properties—maybe that’s why it’s traditionally used in homemade chicken noodle soup, and given to people who are sick—that can help with recovery from illness. It is a cleanser for the liver, glands, and gallbladder. It’s also a tonic for the skin, capillaries, and arteries. As an emmenagogue, it has been use to bring on late periods, relieve period pain, and aid with many other problems of a female nature including during menopause. It is also a mild diuretic so it helps with water retention, getting rid of the bloated feeling.
Caution: Do not use parsley in a medicinal dose when pregnant. The amount used in cooking is safe though.
Sage: Here’s to Wisdom and Longevity
Sage (salvia officinalis). This is another amazing her that I think doesn’t get the credit it deserves, although it is more well-known and used than parsley. It is an antibiotic with antioxidant powers, which makes it particularly good for keeping the body healthy. But it can do so much more. Sage can help lower blood sugar, aids in digestion, and is a stimulant for a sluggish liver. This can help improve vitality by relieving chronic, related symptoms such as headaches, reduced immunity, and fatigue, to name a few. It can be used to fight fevers and germs and clear phlegm.
It is also an emmenagogue, making it an ideal tonic for the female body. With its cooling nature, it is useful for night sweats and hot flashes as well. It is also used as a rinse for dandruff and is said to darken hair. It has also been used to dry up milk production. Even though it can be rather bitter by itself, in a mixture of herbs it can taste wonderful. I like it both hot and iced, but I think in general I am more partial to it iced if it is with other herbs. If I am feeling kind of blah and my mind feels tired a cup of sage, rosemary, and peppermint tea is the first thing I reach for.
Caution: Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid if you have epilepsy. Use in moderation.
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A Woman’s Tea
This tea is a wonderful woman’s tonic, and especially useful if you have uncomfortable periods or hot flashes.
- ¼ cup parsley (petroselinum crispum)
- ¼ cup sage (salvia officinalis)
- ¼ cup fennel (foeniculum vulgare-seed) Avoid if prone to blood clots. Can substitute rosemary (rosamarinus officinalis) or anise (anisum pimpinella) to balance the bitterness of the sage.
- 1 clean, sterile glass jar with tight-fitting lid (canning jars work great)
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- Crush the fennel, or anise, and combine all herbs in the glass jar.
- Shake to mix well.
- Label with ingredients, intended use, and dose.
- Date and store in cool dark place. Use within 1 year of date for best medicinal benefits.
- To make a medicinal tea, use 1 tsp. of herb mixture to 1 cup of hot water, steep for 10 minutes, strain, and enjoy.
- Drink 1 cup 3 times per day.
- If making a large batch to keep in the refrigerator, use 2 tbsp. of mixture. I normally improvise a teabag by putting it in a coffee filter and tying it shut.
Note: Herbs can be steeped at least 3 times, some can be steeped more. Teas used for medicinal purposes are recommended to be drunk with 24 hours of making them. For children either dilute or steep ½ tsp. in 1 cup hot water for no more than 5 minutes.
Rosemary: A Prized Jewel of Nature
Rosemary-Rosamarinus officinalis. This is a plant that has been prized for its many properties throughout history. Its symbolic ties to love and remembrance are also indicators of its health properties. Rosemary stimulates circulation which increases the amount of oxygen the brain gets, thus improving the function of the heart and mind. It is a wonderful tonic as well, slowly improving the immune system.
It also calms and tones the nerves, which can relieve tension headaches and ease depression and anxiety. It also has antibiotic and antispasmodic properties that make it prized for fighting off lingering bronchial infections. Rosemary aids in digestion, especially of fats, and absorption of nutrients as well as keeping waste from accumulating in the body. It also contains high amounts of rosmarinic acid, which is antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. This is one tea that I enjoy by itself as much as with other herbs. It has a wonderfully refreshing taste.
Thyme: Goodbye Bugs
Thyme (thymus vulgares) is a knockout when it comes to fighting infections of any kind. Its name means both “to fumigate” and “courage” showing just how powerful an herb this is. If you are sick, a tea with thyme is one of the best herbal remedies, especially when you inhale the steam as well.
Thyme is antiviral, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and antibiotic. There aren’t many germs that can beat that combination. Thyme has been used to kill ringworm and as a natural remedy for athletes foot among others. Thyme is one of my favorite herbs to use for any illness. It is also great for cleansing the skin of any blemishes. I use it in a facial steam and then have a cool cup of the tea there to use as a wash afterward, and another hot one to drink. This is also a great remedy for congestion and I have used it for sore throats and coughs as well. If you are prone to urinary tract infections then thyme is the tea for you. It works even when prescriptions don’t, I know this from experience.
Where to Find More Information on Herbs
There are many places that you can find information on herbs, their uses, and how to use them. Always check to make sure that the official name (Latin binomial) of the herb is used. This ensures that you are getting information on the correct herb as there are many plants that have the same common name but are completely different plants with completely different properties. The book that I use the most often for reference is 20,000 Secrets of Tea by Victoria Zak.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can I drink rosemary and thyme tea together?
Answer: Yes, you can drink them together. I frequently use both herbs in blends that I make for illnesses of various kinds. In my blends, I normally use equal portions of two to five herbs. I try to not add more than five, so the potency of each herb isn't diluted too much.
Question: How much is too much herbal tea in one day?
Answer: It depends on what herbs/herbal teas you are drinking, how long it is steeped for, and what you are drinking it to help with. Unless they are tonics, three cups per day of a tea is what is recommended for therapeutic benefits. Teas that are tonics can be drunk more often.
© 2012 Jody Cope