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Reviving Skullcap and Milky Oat Tea

Skullcap Om Loose Leaf Herbal Tea Blend 2 oz
I’d like to share one of my favorite tea blends featuring skullcap and milky oats, two of my favorite herbs for reviving the nervous system. I like them individually as simples and do most of the time, but I also think they work well as a pair. Just the two of them, skullcap and milky oats, isn’t the best tasting tea I have ever had. I don’t mind them separately, but together? They need some depth, some warmth, some support and some flavor. Before I say more, take a look at the ingredients:
  • 2 milky oats
  • 1-2 skullcap
  • 1 lemon balm
  • 2 spearmint
  • 1 chamomile
  • 1/2 rosemary
  • .25 ginger
  • 1 rose hips
  • 1 orange peel
I still struggle with what to call this tea. I first blended a variety of it for a friend of a friend, a new mom who was getting a little frazzled with the demands (and joys!) of a newborn on just a few hours of sleep each day. This mom’s birth was on the long side (40 hours or so), so she was exhausted from the get-go. Plus, she was selling her house, moving and remodeling the new one. Basically, this woman needed some nervous system support, with manifestations of feeling wired and tired simultaneously. For her I called it “De-Stress Tea”, and she reported in after about 2 weeks that her stress and exhaustion was declining, and she was starting to feel like her old self.
This tea also typifies a student burning the candle at both ends, so I have called it simply “Students Tea”. There’s a lot of mental energy being used as a student, not to mention late nights of studying (and/or partying). It is a delicate act to balance school, a social life, family, work and self-care.
Now I call it “Skullcap Om”, because of the chilled-out feeling I get from drinking skullcap.ย  Buddhists monks use skullcap to prepare for mediation, and it has the ability to stimulate and relax at the same time. Skullcap clears the mind from circular thoughts – which become especially apparent when you are trying to fall asleep. Sometimes, this over-thinking is the only thing that prevents sleep; my body may be totally heavy and relaxed, ready for sleep, but the mind races on. I say that it stimulates because I become more aware of my senses, and my body wakes up and comes into present time. Here’s a little something I wrote about skullcap a while back.
The four members of the mint family featured in this tea, skullcap, lemon balm, spearmint and rosemary, are well-known nervines. I love bringing mints together in a tea, especially picked fresh from the garden. That being said, I don’t want to drink only mints all the time, since as a group they are light, airy and cool. I happen to be light, airy and cool myself, so I need a little ginger, cinnamon, licorice, fennel and the like to anchor that dispersing mint nature. Combining them with the sunny sweetness of another nervine, chamomile, adds a little variety to the aromatic mints and directs the tea towards the middle burner/digestion.
Rose hips , ginger and orange peel are added for flavor, but they also direct the tea around the body a bit, orange peel and ginger again with affinities for the belly. I am not sure where rose hips would ‘go’ in the body, the heart maybe, blood vessels? I hesitate because I haven’t figured rose hips out yet. They are a bit sour and sweet, and thus astringe and tone, they are chock-full of nutrients in true red berry style, add color to an otherwise plain green tea, and they taste delicious. What don’t they do?
Milky oats (the tops of the oat (Avena sativa) plant harvested while in the โ€œmilkyโ€ stage) is a great restorative, for the brain, emotions and body alike. I love, love, love oats. When I was interning at an herbal retreat center, I bought a half pound of locally grown milky oats and drank a quart of the tea every day. The milky oats (combined with the luxury of working in a herb garden at the top of a mountain for three months) completely revived my energy, body and emotions.

I bring this tea up because I need it right now! My brain is on overload, so much that I can’t seem to muster the energy to make this tea for myself. With doing this post, I am reminded of the strengthening these herbs bring to a worn-out system.




  1. I’ve been off the computer for a few weeks and am not catching up on everything. The garden has been a siren song, but then 5 hours later I wake up and where has the day gone!

    I am so thrilled to see your new post. I love, love scullcap, and have finally planted one in my garden (grow baby grow). I have never thought of using other herbs to direct it around the body, and I nearly always want to combine it with avena, what a new consideration for me! I’m heading off to make a cup of your tea right now. Funny, I always love your blog because you are often writing about TCM, nervines or the kidneys! Do you and I perhaps share the same “issues”?;-) For the record, rosehips to the heart and blood makes perfect intuitive sense to me.

    Thank you for your time and energy writing this beautiful article. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. celia says

    Carey, Nice to hear from you!

    Scullcap is quite amazing! I am glad you are enjoying your garden, and the baby skullcap, too. I tried a few times to plant them from seeds, but for some reason they never made it. I think the cool norther Minnesota early summer had something to do with it.. If you have any tips/experiences with growing skullcap, please share them with me. I am a nervine junkie, TCM and thus Kidneys, too — you called it! They are so interesting to me. Maybe because I am a ‘nervous’, mentally active Gemini?!?

    Green blessings~

  3. Green Greetings, Celia! I had no luck starting mine from seed either…I ended up purchasing a plant from Horizon herbs. It is doing beautifully. (We’ll see how the summer progresses.)

    Ha! (Double Gemini- Moon and Rising) here. Too funny.


  4. Meg says

    Sounds like this is what I need right now in my house(hold) all of us. Thanks for sharing, Laurel, the recipe and the beautifully written prose around it.

  5. Meg says

    oops, just realized this isn’t laurel. well, thanks for writing anyways.

  6. So funny, I’m a nervous, mentally active Gemini too! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the sound of this tea and as a tea formulator myself, much enjoyed reading your explanations on what each herb was doing within the formula. I didn’t know that Buddhists used skullcap before entering meditation – what a lovely thought. I’ll have to try that ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the name – skullcap om! I think I need some of this too. Oats and skullcap really are the best, aren’t they?

  7. Wow, what a fantastic tea! I will certainly be making up a batch of this. Oats are one of my absolute favourites too, I don’t know where I would be without them
    Great post, thank you.

  8. celia says

    Thanks for reading, Meg. Skullcap and other soothers should be in every household (first mandate if I ever become president ;). did you think I was Laurel from vermont? I’ll take that as a compliment, as she is amazing!

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