A tea when everything’s perfect

June 24th, 2010 § 3 comments

Why do I use herbs more when I am sick then when I am well? Perhaps because most of what I know about herbs came from reading about how to help the body in times of illness. At the point at or just prior to the start of a health imbalance, I reach out for more pointed botanical support and either restore vitality or get sick, convalesce and then restore vitality. Herbs help us regain a sense of wholeness, or offer something we are lacking.

Even the herbs I use preventativly to build reserves, like the nourishing, vitamin- and mineral-rich plants like nettle, raspberry leaf, alfalfa or even supportive roots such as dandelion, burdock and yellow dock to give me something. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with the quest for support, well-being, and wholeness. It’s kinda part of the whole point of herbalism. Indeed, there is an inherent need to be engaged with consistently taking care of ourselves with food, rest, exercise and so on, just to make it through the day (otherwise we could end up like the guy from Super Size Me).

One of the first herbal medicine books I read (and thoroughly adored) was Rosemary Gladstars’ Herbal Healing for Women. I particularly enjoyed her “Joy Tea”, (with hawthorne berries, leaf and flower, hibiscus, cardamom and more) not only because it was delicious, but because she suggested to be drink it in times of joy, like celebrating the birth of a baby. I made a big batch and gave it to friends and family for he holidays.

What about sipping tea without any expectations? How would my favorite herbs change if I didn’t want some specific action in return?

I tried chamomile, figuring it is a good place to start since it is often a beverage tea. I tasted this perennial favorite herbs of mine in a new way, to my surprise it was bitter in a sour, even when it was still hot. Hmm…

I tried skullcap tea. Yes, I use dried skullcap even thought I have heard it is not nearly as effective as when it is fresh. In the past, it has ‘worked’ by making me sleepy¬† and quieting a million-thoughts-a-minuet mind. I waited to see if that would happen without needing it to (nothing happened).

I was feeling like tinkering around with my dried herbs and tried to make a licorice spice tea. The key word is “tried”; it tasted flat.

Then next day I got a great idea: how about a tea bag from a store bought tin! Perfect. I never expect them to do anything except be warm and tasty and easy. I picked rooibos, and it was good. I realized I was thirsty swallowed a pint of it in one drink. Damn, it was serving a purpose: hydration.

Finally I came to my senses. It’s full-on summer time, the garden in in full bloom, why not gather some fresh herbs for my ‘tea for when everything’s perfect’ tea. I gathered whatever looked good: heart’s ease pansy, catmint, thyme, mallow flowers, spearmint and bee balm, placed them in a jar, poured on some hot water, drank a while later. It spicy, minty and delicious.

Perfection is a relative term, and certainly not the rule. I don’t strive to be “perfect” or feel bad when I am not. To me, perfection is a more like contentment, a state when I don’t need anything and am reminded to simply appreciate things around me and offer gratitude for them being the just the way they are.

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§ 3 Responses to A tea when everything’s perfect"

  • latisha says:

    mmm…this is my favorite kind of tea. i call it garden surprise. I was at a talk with Cascade Anderson Geller once and she called it ‘tad’ tea, a tad of this a tad of that. thought it was cute.

  • celia says:

    I love that – a “tad” tea! Even when I try to measure or follow a formula I usually end up making at least part of it a “tad” tea.

  • Carey says:

    Sheesh Celia, I am always coming to the party late…Just saw this article and interestingly enough I have just this week been trying something of a similar experiment. At bedtime I nearly always make my husband and I a little brew of whatever I feel we need. these taste so delicious and at bed time but it isn’t wise to gulp down a half pot of infusion just before retiring, so I only drink a little, going to bed thinking, “gee perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to pee all night this one night…that was so dang delicious!” So the past few days I though, hmmm? why not brew my little delectable potions in the daytime and just gulp-a-plenty? “skullcap, vervain, comfrey, oatstraw and a 5 buds of lavender. Oooh, can’t wait!” Then I drank it…ugh, hmm, not quite what I remember from last night.” Similar experience to yours. Our tastbuds definitely are a survival sense organ. Too bad it’s all frozen out there, I’d love stroll out in the sun and brew a cuppa “tad”.

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