For decades now tea has been a cornerstone of our family life. It is through tea we help mark and create our daily rhythms. We begin each morning with a simple cup of tea, with a bit of honey and soy or dairy milk. This wakens us to the tasks before us and carries us forward into what must be accomplished during each morning. My personal early morning choice is always a black tea, usually with some fruity addition: blackberry sage, ginger peach, or perhaps blueberry. This subtle jolt of caffeine agrees with my system and tastes. The simple act of drinking a cup of tea each morning establishes a certain pace, rightness and rhythm. All is well. Now, into the day.
Lunch arrives and is no exception, though my choice for midday honors my extreme sensitivity to caffeine. Now we are turning the corner toward evening, and so this is the perfect time to include a healthy dose of iced green tea. While green tea does contain caffeine, it just over half what coffee contains. I find this a better choice for midday. Delicious, refreshing, nurturing and a big plus towards maintaining the excellent health with which I am blessed.
To make this selection super easy I have a practice of making a big pan of hot green tea once each week. I simply bring to boiling about ten cups of water in a stainless steel pan, add high quality green tea, and let it steep. While it’s still warm I add some honey for sweetening. Then I allow the tea to cool to room temperature, then store this same pan in the frig for the week. This gives me a goodly amount for each day at lunch. When the pan is empty I immediately make up a new batch. I love the practice of having certain things “all made up” beforehand, and green tea is thankfully on that list. The blessing of green tea on hand is always deeply appreciated. And did I mention how much you save by making up your own? Healthy and smart.
I have added a new image to my Green Tea Ritual, deepening my appreciation of green tea at its source. This is what green tea fields look like. Isn’t this amazing?
While I am not a person who drinks tea at “teatime” as the English do, or even after dinner, as some are inclined, I do take stock of myself before bedtime to see if I might benefit from a cup of chamomile. I am reviewing myself with two things in mind: have a relaxed enough as the evening has unfolded that I am ready to get a good night’s sleep (or was I not prudent and spent a bit too much time on, say, Twitter when I should have been unwinding from a day’s work)? And, secondly, has my last contact with food been thoroughly digested or could I use a little help? Hmmm. If I could benefit from either of those two conditions chamomile is indeed in order.
I have a very long association with chamomile and so does our culture, from two directions. The early settlers brought English (or Roman) chamomile with them to the New World. And the Spanish took manzanilla (or German chamomile) with them to Latin America. Manzanilla is very common in Mexico, just as chamomile has become fairly common in America. If you haven’t tried it, do. I can speak from long experience that it will help with any indigestion. And if you can’t sleep, get up and make yourself a cup of chamomile (being careful to keep light levels very low so you don’t destroy what melatonin your body has already produced), and sip it and I guarantee you you will go to sleep in a bit. On rare occasions my dogs will awaken me in the night, and thank goodness I can rely on chamomile should I have trouble getting back to my deep sleep. So I am a huge fan of this herb and am known to have whispered, “Thank you, God, for
chamomile,” into a dark night more than once.
In thinking about tea I contemplated my garden as a source. There are herbs, mostly rosemary, lavender and oregano. But the only herb I have growing that I think of as a tea is a small bunch of mint.
I chose a spot what would allow it to expand, as I had always heard that mint is invasive, but, be it a hybrid or what, it has not done that. However, I was happy I’d given it a closer inspection, given that it was going to have its picture taken, as I realized this one has now at last sent out some runners, so I’m hoping for a good mint source perhaps by next spring. Fingers crossed. Its tasty. I will say that. I tried a leaf. And I’m sure you likely know that mint is also a good source of digestive aid, not unlike chamomile.
I am hoping through this simple post that you will think about including more natural teas in your daily lives, or will share with us what ones you’ve turned to. I could write about the more medicinal qualities of herbs, but not today. My focus here was simply to suggest the inclusion of the simple cup of tea.
Love and garden blessings,
Posted on September 23rd, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants