It is getting warmer. And brighter. Things are green, really green. Rose and calendula are in bloom! They come home with me, flowers stuffed in pockets and lunch boxes, and those which are not dried or arranged in a vase go straight into a cup of tea.
Roses and calendula together remind me of a lovey tea I discovered in a lovely herbal by Shatoiya De La Tour called Earth Mother Herbal. It was in the herbal library at Sage Mountain and was one of the books I spent the most time with. One of the things I found so useful about this particular herbal were the formulas and recipes at the end of each individual herbal entry. For Marshmallow, De La Tour gave directions to make a love lubricant with oils, herbs and coconut butter. For Thyme, a minty, soothing (this also had Marshmallow root in it) and antiseptic (this is where the Thyme came in) throat lozenge followed the monograph. For Eleuthero, it was a spicy immunity chai recipe.
De La Tour included a section about herbal-themed seasonal celebrations, like a harvest feast or spring tea time. I love what she says about tea time:
Like the siesta of the Latin nations and the lengthy petite dejeuner of the French, English tea is a civilized pause in the days activities. I think it is one of America’s downfalls that we allowed the Puritan work ethic to wipe out this most delightful daily repast. My dream is to start a time time revolution in the United States, only instead of throwing the tea into the Boston Harbor, we will sit down and drink it! (p 173)
Each celebration had an herbal tea or two along with an herbal-infused menu. One of the teas for the tea time is called Painted Desert, and is utterly delicious and refreshing.
Shatoiya De La Tour’s Painted Desert Tea
- 2 parts Elderberries
- 1 part Sage
- 1/2 part Raspberry Leaf
- 1/2 part Calendula
- 1/2 part Roses
Blend all ingredients and steep at a ratio 1 teaspoon per 1 cup boiled water for 10 minutes.
Inspired, I made my own version which reduces the Sage, adds in Rose Hips and Chamomile and swaps out Raspberry leaf for Lemon Balm. These seemingly little changes add a different type of complexity, as it is slightly more sweet and citrus flavored. Sometimes I add in Damiana, Rosemary and/or Nettle. Any way I blend it, the combo of Sage, Elderberries, Roses and Calendula reminds me of a warm and breezy late spring day.