• Herbal Teas

    by Kami McBride

    There are many wonderful herbal teas that are refreshing, nourishing, tonifying and also taste good. The Earth provides us with flowers, leaves, berries roots and seeds that are high in vitamins and minerals and help us feel good. It seems that we have forgotten these gifts as we slug down high sugar drinks and carbonated sodas that leech important minerals such as magnesium from the body. The average American teenage male drinks almost 700 sodas a year with each soda containing the equivalent of several teaspoons of sugar.

    Most people know that sodas are unhealthy but during the warmer and more active summer season, drinking a couple sodas a day is easy to do. There is no nutritional value in a soda and the sugar, carbon, and coloring agents are just one more thing that the body has to de-toxify from our system. There are several herbal soda products available now but most of them still contain a lot of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Read the labels on your drinks and you will be amazed at the sugar and chemical content. With a little education and change of habit we can begin drinking things that taste good and are good for us! Bring herbal teas into your life! Your body will love you.

    Herbal teas that are quick, easy, readily available, and taste good are: peppermint, spearmint rosemary, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lavender, hibiscus, lemongrass, rose hips, calendula flowers, rose petals, chamomile, elder flowers and fennel seeds.

    Begin by making an herbal tea with one herb or a combination of two or three herbs. To make an herbal tea, add one tablespoon of dried herb or combination of herbs for every cup of water used. If the recipe calls for one quart of tea, use one quart of water and a total of four tablespoons of herbs. Put the water and herbs into a pot and put the lid on. Bring everything to a boil, turn off the heat and let the herbs steep for one hour. Strain out the herbs with cheesecloth, cotton muslin or a metal mesh strainer. Re-heat the tea or drink it at room temperature.

    Another great way to make tea is to use the summer sun. You can make sun tea by putting the herbs and water into a glass mason jar with the lid on. Let it sit outside in the sun for four hours. After you make the tea, use any combination of fruit, fruit juice, seltzer water, honey, maple syrup, stevia extract or honey to sweeten your tea. Fresh fruits can be squeezed or mashed and frozen and added as a convenient ingredient to liven up an herbal tea. Here are a few recipes to get started with.

    Lavender Lemonade
    2 quarts lavender tea
    1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    ½ cup honey

    Elder Flower Fizz
    2 cups elder flower tea
    1 cup sparkling mineral water
    ¼ cup maple syrup

    Ginger Spearmint Lemonade
    1 quart spearmint tea
    1 quart lemonade
    1 quart sparkling mineral water
    5 large slices of fresh ginger root added to the final mixture. Leave the ginger in the drink until it is gone

    Hibiscus Cooler
    2 quarts hibiscus tea
    1 cup cinnamon bark tea
    1/4 teaspoon of stevia extract
    Stevia extract can be found at most health food stores

    Rosemary Ginger Ale
    1 quart rosemary tea
    1/4 cup fresh ginger juice
    (Put fresh ginger root through a champion juicer)
    3 tablespoons honey

    Vitamin C Thirst Quencher
    1 quart hibiscus tea
    1 quart lemongrass tea
    ½ cup organic berry fruit juice
    2 tablespoons maple syrup

    Apple Spearmint Pleasure
    1 quart spearmint tea
    2 cups apple juice
    ¼ cup fresh juiced ginger root
    1 tablespoon honey

    Herbal Spice
    1 quart cinnamon and orange peel tea
    2 cups apple cider
    2 tablespoons honey

    These teas make great party drinks and the possibilities are endless! Experiment and use the fruits and herbs you have on hand. You will probably come up with a whole new yummy recipe that I would love to hear about! To save time you can make larger quantities of any of the above drinks and store them in a Mason jar in the freezer for several months. These drinks taste good, are good for you, and within a year of making your own drinks, you will have saved enough money to buy yourself a vacation plane ticket! Do your body and your pocketbook a favor, start creating your own healthy herbal drinks.

    Kami McBride is the author of The Herbal Kitchen and has helped thousands of people learn to use herbs in their daily lives in ways that are healthy, safe and fun. She is the director of Cultivating the Herbal Medicine Woman Within, an experiential training in using herbs in the home for everyday health. An intuitive and inspiring teacher, Kami works to revive the cultural art of home herbal care and teaches herbology as a relationship with the Earth and a way of life. For a schedule of classes or herbal consultations Kami can be reached at (707) 446-1290 or sign up for her free herbal e-newsletter at: www.livingawareness.com

    The Herbal Kitchen: Book Signing Event
    Friday, April 8th

    The Herbal Kitchen: 50 Easy-To-Find Herbs and Over 250 Recipes to Bring Lasting Health to You and Your Family
    Join author and herbalist Kami McBride as she celebrates the publication of her latest book The Herbal Kitchen. The book signing will be accompanied by a free reception, with samples of teas and a feature recipe from the book.

    Location: The Avid Reader
    617 Second Street
    Davis CA 95616
    Time 7:30-9:00 pm, Cost: Free

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