Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My "Afternoon Pick Me Up" Herbal Tea

I started a new daily ritual back in the spring that I somehow never got around to blogging about: my afternoon herbal tea! Now, that might not seem like anything special since many of us drink herbal teas on a regular basis (myself included). What's special about this one is that I purposely chose to make this blend more for its health benefits than its taste (although it is a very pleasant tasting tea).

My "special blend" is a teaspoon each of dried oatstraw and lemon balm, plus about a teaspoon of finely diced fresh ginger and a quarter of an organic lemon. I put this all in a pint sized Mason jar, then fill with boiling water, cover, and let it steep for about 20 minutes. I then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a large mug and sweeten it with a bit of local honey.

How did I arrive at this particular blend? 
Well, for starters, a friend of mine had recommended oatstraw as an herb with a lot of health benefits that she thought would be useful to me, so when I placed an order with Mountain Rose Herbs I added some to my cart even though I wasn't sure how I was going to use it! I was placing a large order that day and so I didn't notice that I'd accidentally ordered *two* 4 oz packages of oatstraw instead of one! Now I was even more motivated to find a way to use it on a regular basis.

I decided to try it in a tea blend with lemon balm, an herb that's known for its ability to relieve tension and anxiety while also perking you up (as opposed to some other relaxing herbs that sedate you!) In other words, it's just about perfect for providing an early afternoon boost to help me get through the rest of the day. I added the lemon and ginger for both taste and further therapeutic benefits and the combination tastes great while delivering some powerful health benefits:

Oatstraw:  This herb is considered a full-body tonic that can strengthen your immune system and boost your energy. It's also said to have antibiotic and antidepressant properties. Like lemon balm, it is good for relieving stress, tension and fatigue. In addition, oatstraw is packed full of nutrients, including vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium and selenium. 

Lemon Balm: Along with its tension-taming qualities, lemon balm is also antiviral and antibacterial (Caution: regular use of lemon balm is not advised if you have hypothyroidism)

Ginger: I have been a fan of ginger for a long time! It has warming properties, which is nice for people like me who are always cold :) It is also anti-inflammatory, which is useful if you have seasonal allergies or conditions like arthritis.

Lemon: In addition to giving the tea a flavour boost, lemons are antibacterial and help remove acid wastes from the body. I use organic lemons as conventional lemons have a lot of things on the outside of them that I don't want ending up in my tea!

Where to buy the ingredients:
You might be able to find the oatstraw and lemon balm at a local health food store that sells bulk herbs. I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs - their quality is fantastic!
It's not too hard to find ginger root or lemons :) I buy 2 lb bags of organic lemons at Fortinos, where they sell them for a reasonable price.

Note: I'm an (extremely) amateur herbalist, and I'm just writing about something that I've found beneficial for myself. I encourage you to do your own research and consult with your healthcare practitioner before using these or any other herbs. This post contains affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs and I will receive a small commission from any purchase you make when using those links.

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