Day 1 Tea: a lower jiao warming, blood and Ki Qi nourishing and ever-so-slightly Blood moving herbal tea.
I originally created this tea to ease menstrual cramps, starting with Yarrow as my chief herb.
Milky oats have been added to support the Kidneys (capital ‘K’ means a Chinese medicine concept and function), because I originally made this for someone with dysmenorrhea with underlying Kidney Qi Xu (Deficiency), and I find Milky Oats to support the adrenals quite nicely.
Grains are also mineral-rich, which can help reduce crampy pain and spasms. Sometimes during day 1 (or longer), digestion can be messed up. Loose stools, upset stomach, crampy intestines along with the uterus. Not fun. Milky Oats can help soothe the digestive tract, too, especially when combined with other middle jiao supportive herbs like Bai Shao/ White Peony Root.
Bai Shao/White Peony Root is a Cool, Sour and Sweet herb in the Move Blood category within the system of Chinese herbal medicine. Bai Shao tonifies Spleen Qi to support digestion, and helps move stuck and stagnant Liver Qi. The state of Liver Qi stagnation can contribute to menstrual cramps, breast tenderness, mood swings and general irritability and anger during the pre-menstrual period.
I feel that Bai Shao/White Peony is very supportive to the womb and the “womb space” even in people who do not have wombs. In Chinese medicine it is said that Bai Shao is motherly to the Spleen, which itself is an Earth Organ and provides so much foundational support and holding for Postnatal Qi. Yes, Bai Shao/ White Peony is very motherly to our motherly attributes and spaces within us, but it extends to people of any gender identity or experience, womb or not. We all have a part of us that holds, nurtures, gestates, tends and essentially feeds ourselves, others, a place and ideas and dreams…and if that part is under resourced or not functioning properly, we get drained. Bai Shao bolsters the giving part of ourselves.
Roots are hard to fully decoct in an infusion like this tea, so I must point out that the full range of medicinal actions are not brought to their highest potential within this tea. But yet I can still taste the sour and sweet earthy Bai Shao in this tea, so I know it’s doing something. You can always grind roots in a coffee grinder prior to making an infusion. The smaller size increases available surface area and lets the herb extract more readily.
Yarrow is here to help guide the blood to do what it wants to do. If it’s time to begin menstruation but the blood is thick, stuck, sluggish, Yarrow can invigorate the blood and perhaps guide it out.
Hawthorn Berries are here to further support the Blood. There’s that capitalization again. I’m talking about Blood from a Chinese concept here, The Heart, Spleen and Liver all help regulate the movement and formation of Blood. Hawthorn supports the upper part of Blood regulation by allowing the Heart to feel supported.
Day 1 Blood Moving Tea Formula
- Raspberry Leaf
- Milky Oats
- Rose Petals
- Bai Shao White Peony root
- Hawthorn Berry
- Rose Hips
- Cinnamon, Licorice and Ginger
Blend roughly one part of each of the herbs except for the Cinnamon, Licorice and Ginger, which I make about 1/3 part each.
Steep on boiling water, covered for a hour or longer, as long as overnight. Milky Oat is nutritive dense and does well in a long steep to fully extract the nutrients. The hard root of Bai Shao/ White Peony can also be in a long extraction.
In hot weather Milky Oats will ferment quickly, so I would steep it and let it be in the fridge if I wasn’t drinking it quickly.
I make about a quart at a time. First, I steep the tea about 30 minutes before straining off a cup. I often really need some of that Motherwort and Yarrow like yesterday! I let the rest of the tea steep longer. A few hours I may strain off another cup. That evening or the next morning, I will drink the remainder and then do another infusion from the same tea marc (the marc is the leftover menstrum, or herbal material).
The second steep lends more of the Licorice, Bai Shao/ White Peony, Hawthorn, Rose Hips and spices into the tea. The taste is richer, a lot sweeter and more harmonious. Drinking this second steep feels more gounding to me, those rooty notes allow me to settle lower into my body – which feels extra supportive during menstruation – or anytime.
I hope you enjoy this tea as much as I do.