Slow Down With a Cup of Tea
Tea and croissants (or any other tea time baked good) are my eucharist. It’s the thing I give to almost every person that walks into my home. Its the way I heal those who aren’t feeling well mentally or physically and how I, myself, come back to my body when the day just starts to feel like too much.
I’ve often heard that the art of making tea is a meditation all of its own. This is where the iconic Japanese tea ceremonies came from. A step-by-step method to notice all of the 5-senses while drinking something that provides its own healing inside the body.
Tea as a Meditation
Tea can become a meditative practice at any time of day, multiple times a day. It’s the practice of choosing a blend or blending your own herbs, that will meet your needs. Then you sit and wait as the water heats up. Maybe you count your breaths, I sometimes do a few sun salutations in the kitchen while I wait. Then you place your tea in the strainer and add the water. Slowly you watch as the water changes color and your smell the aroma of your tea. Again, you wait. Coming back to your breath, noticing how you feel inside your body. You might choose to add milk, cream, or sugar to your tea, or keep it exactly as it is. Notice how each step feels as you add the ingredients sending out gratitude for each and every one of them.
Now it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. You hold the mug of hot tea in your hands, breathing it in with a deep breathing and exhaling through the mouth. When it has had a moment or two to cool, you take a small sip letting the warmth of the water flood your body and each ingredient dance on your tongue. Within moments a simple act of making tea can bring you back to the present and offer a break from the pressures of the world.
Finding Your Right Blend
Tea is the ultimate way to slow down and become present. It’s a gift to share with friends and family or a break from a long day. When choosing your tea think about what your body needs in this moment.
Choosing A Caffinated Tea
In our culture, we love caffeine. So in most cases when you hit the teapot first thing in the morning you’re looking for a black, oolong, or green tea. These three teas have the most caffeine and will give you the kickstart you need in the morning. While tea doesn’t have nearly as much caffeine as coffee, it’s a wise choice to only drink these types of teas in the morning. Caffeine has a half-life of 12-hours so the caffeine you drink at 10:00 AM will be half as potent in your body by 10:00 pm. Meaning, there is still caffeine in your system. To avoid being awake all night choose de-caf teas after 12:00 pm.
Other herbs that are great for energy include: Peppermint, Rosemary, Ginseng, Ginger, and Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is also an adaptogenic meaning it will help adapt to whatever your body needs. This herb is specifically helpful for those feeling burnout but is not a remedy for burn-out. If you choose to use this for burnout symptoms pair it with lifestyle changes as well or you’ll only increase your burnout.
Choosing a De-Caffinated Tea
Herbal teas are the only teas that have zero caffeine in them. While a lot of online tea companies don’t have as many options for herbal teas, these teas are very easy to blend yourself and create something that appeals to your senses and your needs. Below are my go-to herbs to have in my “witch’s Cupboard.” Most of these you can find in the bulk section of Natural Grocers or if you have an apothecary nearby, they’ll also sell them. Starts with herbs you know and use one of the bases listed as the majority of the flavor and the other herbs sparingly otherwise you might overwhelm your tea’s flavor.
Base Herbs for Tea
Rooibos is one of my all-time favorite teas. It has a lot of similarities to black tea without any of the caffeine. In nature, it comes on a bush as a needle, similar to a short pine needle. It starts as green but when processed it turns red. Green rooibos has some great medicinal uses, but it’s harder to find and has a slightly different flavor. I love buying bulk Rooibos to mix in my herbal tea blends.
Rooibos mixes great with milk if you like milk in your tea. It also helps soothe menstrual cramps and digestive issues. It can be a great tea to drink the week leading up to your period if you suffer from cramping. It’s high in calcium, manganese, and fluoride helping to keep your bones strong.
Chamomile is a tea you’ve heard of before. You can buy the store-bought packets or get a bulk back to store yourself. Known for its calming effects, chamomile is a great afternoon and evening tea to soothe your nervous system and calm the mind. It’s a very soft flavor and can pair well with other flowery herbs or even a few roots that help support other areas of the body. I always add a little local honey to my chamomile tea to balance out the flavor.
Chamomile is great for calming anxiety or an overactive nervous system. This also means that it supports stomach pains and IBS. Because it’s an anti-inflammatory it’s also good for ulcers, teething, and skin inflammation (topically or taken as a tea).
Mix and Match Herbs
These herbs are all great to add to either of the bases or to even mix with your black, oolong, and green teas. The magic of tea is that you can really make anything you’d like based on what you’re feeling. It’s one more way to be able to tune in and decide what you need at that moment.
Rose petals are a relaxing aroma that pairs well with just about any tea. There’s something that screams self-care when you add a rose to it. Rose petals are hormone balancing and can be great for regulating cycles, and lessening the side effects of your period or of menopause. Rose hips are high in nutrients (including the most potent source of vitamin C) that support the digestive tract and immune system.
Everyone’s favorite flower, lavender is a strong flavor and should be used sparingly. Like many of the other herbs I’ve mentioned, lavender is great for the nervous system. It’s an anti-inflammatory and will help with anxiety and nervousness. It’s part of the mint family, and there are over 450 varieties of lavender, but what you find at your local apothecary or bulk store will work great for teas. I prefer lavender with rooibos, chamomile or black tea.
Yes, the spice you have in your spice cabinet works wonders in tea. This herb is grounding and stimulating. For those suffering from indigestion, gas, or bloating, add rosemary to your tea daily. It’s also a great herb to add to tea when you feel a cold or flu coming on. Another common use for rosemary is to help with brain fog. If you find that you’re forgetful or just can’t seem to focus, add rosemary to your daily tea.
Ginger is a warming spice that also gives you energy. It’s often known for settling upset stomachs and is a great option for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. Its ability to increase circulation helps with any chronic pain and allows you to release tension in your body. Because it is an antimicrobial, it’s also used to soothe sore throats. Whether you need a boost of energy, to let go of stress, or to support a weakened immune system, ginger is your go-to.
Those weeds in your backyard that you hate? It’s time to save them, dry them out, and use them in your teas. This magical flower has benefits from the flower down to the root and can be eaten fresh in salads or dried out in your teas. It’s an astringent flavor (similar to arugula) so use it in balance with other flavors. It’s an amazing herb for the digestive tract as it’s a prebiotic for your gut flora, helps with UTI prevention, and can even relieve symptoms of eczema, acne, and dry skin. Last but not least, it’s filled with nutrients including vitamins A, B, and D, iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium. No more dreading this beautiful plant being in your garden!
One of my favorite additions to any tea is a bit of dried fruit. You can do this yourself or buy dried fruit at the store (be careful of added sugar). Then add a couple of pieces of your favorite fruit to your tea. Lemon, orange, and mango are my favorites to add but any kind is a welcome addition to your cup of tea.
Take a Break with a Cup of Tea
Throughout your day if you start to feel distracted, tired, or overwhelmed go make yourself a cup of tea. The process itself brings you back into your body and to the present moment. Then you can also add herbs that will help support whatever else you’re feeling and create a small little self-care practice. If you don’t feel confident about blending your own cup of tea, try ordering from August Uncommon, one of my favorite tea companies. By using my link you’ll get 20% off your first order!