Healing Herbal Teas: Learn to Blend 101 Specially Formulated Teas for Stress Management, Common Ailments, Seasonal Health, and Immune Support

Chapter 4

Remedial and Medicinal Teas

Remedial tea blends are designed to give you direct herbal support when you need it. They help remedy imbalances gently and effectively. Some of the teas in this section give you extra support through big transitions in your life, such as pregnancy and nursing. Others support your body’s natural defenses against stress and disease.

Remedial teas should work with the body’s natural intelligence to heal and take care of itself, and also provide some comfort and relief from lingering or uncomfortable symptoms. Listening to those symptoms is important — it is how our bodies alert us to imbalance, inflammation, or infection, helping steer our behavior toward self-care and protection. Let these teas be a basic guide to both nourish the body and treat imbalances. In conjunction with reducing psychological stress, getting plenty of rest, and adhering to a healthy diet, these tea blends will be impressively effective.

Wellness Tea

Make sure you have this tea on hand so the minute you feel a little under the weather you can steep yourself a potent cup. A strong, spicy blend, Wellness should be taken at the onset of colds, flus, and infections, or regularly to support the immune system. Warming spices meld with calming peppermint and earthy yarrow. As with all herbal remedies, the whole is not simply the sum of the parts: all the herbs work synergistically to strengthen a weakened or compromised immune system.

Yarrow and elderflower are diaphoretics — they are warming and induce perspiration. Yarrow in a tea, if taken immediately upon onset of flu, will nearly halt its progression. Once the flu is established in the body, yarrow helps bring on a sweat and generally supports the immune system. Elderflower relieves respiratory infections and congestion. Ginger is at the center of many herbal formulas because it has such varied tonic properties in the body. In this tea it helps relieve stomachaches and provide general immune support.

Ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom are all spicy aromatics. Their strong antimicrobial properties provide a full spectrum of support against the microbes that are at the root of an infection. Licorice is a sweet mucilaginous herb that helps balance the flavor of the tea and provides soothing relief to a sore throat or cough. Licorice is also an adaptogen herb with immune-supporting properties. Mint is another balancing herb used in this formula for flavor and slight calming properties.

Ingredients

·        1 part elderflower

·        1 part ginger

·        1 part mint

·        0.5 part yarrow

·        0.5 part cinnamon

·        0.5 part cardamom

·        0.3 part licorice root

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Taste: sweet, spicy, slightly bitter, minty

Herbal actions: support immune system

Systems affected: immune, digestive

Stopping a Cold in Its Tracks

It’s fairly easy to keep yourself from getting full-blown sick if you use immune-support teas at the first signs of a cold or infection. Recognizing the early warning signs, such as a little scratch in your throat, extreme tiredness, or sinus irritation, and acting quickly to prevent your symptoms from progressing, is an invaluable skill. The minute you start to feel unwell, jump into self-care mode. We are each responsible for our own bodies, and it is important to know the general and unique ways your body tells you it is imbalanced.

Respiratory Health

This is a remedial lung and respiratory tea similar to Wellness Tea . You can try both blends and decide which works better for your needs. This blend has more of a warming effect to help provide general immune support. Drink Respiratory Health any time you feel congestion in the lungs.

Ingredients

·        3 parts eucalyptus

·        3 parts fennel seeds

·        3 parts ginger

·        3 parts peppermint

·        2 parts hyssop

·        1 part elecampane root

·        1 part clove

·        0.25 part licorice root

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 10 minutes.

Taste: minty, menthol, licorice, spicy

Herbal action: decongestant

Systems affected: lungs, throat, immune

Sore Throat Soother

We crave sweet, soft, slippery textures when we have a sore throat because we desperately need to coat the throat with cooling mucopolysaccharides. An inflamed, chapped throat is one of the most uncomfortable sensations, and this tea helps cool inflamed tissues, alleviate infection, and reduce burning associated with a cough and sore throat.

Beware: this tea can be very sweet and strong if you do not actually have a cold. If you do have one, it is extremely soothing.

Ingredients

·        4 parts rose hips

·        3 parts cinnamon

·        2 parts licorice root

·        2 parts wild cherry bark

·        2 parts marshmallow root

·        2 parts fennel

·        1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, grated, per cup (optional)

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes. To maximize the benefits of the marshmallow root you can also make a lukewarm infusion by pouring 1.5 cups warm to hot tap water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 20 minutes.

Taste: sweet, licorice

Herbal actions: demulcent, expectorant, cough suppressant

Systems affected: respiratory, mucous membranes

Constipation Relief

Constipation is common during periods of intense stress or dehydration or when your diet is too rich in processed foods. The senna in this tea gently softens stools and stimulates peristalsis. For occasional bouts of constipation, this tea is a great option. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens, along with drinking lots of water, can help alleviate chronic constipation. Because this tea does not work instantly, you can drink it before you head to bed for relief in the morning. You can even add one part chamomile to the tea if you intend to drink it at night.

Ingredients

·        2 parts senna

·        2 parts mint

·        1 part fennel

·        0.5 part cinnamon

·        2 dried prunes per cup

·        1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger per cup

Steeping

Combine 1 tablespoon herb mix, prunes, and fresh ginger in a French press or teapot. Cover with hot water and let steep for 15 minutes.

Taste: sweet, spicy, minty

Herbal action: relieves constipation

System affected: digestive

Cancer Care

If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with cancer, is undergoing cancer treatments, or is recovering from cancer, this tea can offer whole-body support. Linden and chamomile are gentle nervous-system herbs that rejuvenate frazzled nerves. An adaptogen herb of your choice will offer adrenal support, help the body resist infections, and encourage a more balanced response to stress (see Adaptogens for Stress ); goji berries and tulsi are excellent options. Fennel, lemonbalm, and ginger are antimicrobial plants, further helping reduce the likelihood of acquiring an undesired infection. Lastly, chamomile, ginger, and fennel are also gentle digestive herbs, providing soothing relief for digestive system complaints often experienced during this challenging time.

Ingredients

·        1 part fennel

·        1 part linden

·        1 part adaptogen of choice, such as goji berries or tulsi

·        1 part lemonbalm

·        0.5 part dried or grated fresh ginger

·        0.5 part chamomile

·        0.25 part licorice root

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

Taste: warm, fruity, and floral, with a slight aniselike flavor that lingers on the tongue

Herbal actions: antimicrobial, nervine, carminative, adrenal tonic

Systems affected: immune, digestive, nervous

Daytime Calm

Stress is a regular fixture in our lives. Something as simple as driving in traffic, handling a difficult situation with a child, or being late to a meeting can cause your nervous system to remain jumpy hours later. Having a calming tea on hand for days when life just feels a little overwhelming helps draw us back into balance.

I tend to live a little tipped over the edge of stress most of the time, so I regularly drink calming teas during the day to remind myself to let go of residual tension. Drinking calming tea is a good way to establish a physical pattern that reinforces healthy and calm breathing, feelings, and actions, helping you navigate tense situations and restore balance.

Along with relaxing herbs, such as chamomile and passionflower, Daytime Calm contains fennel, rose hips, mint, marshmallow, and lemonbalm, nourishing herbs that offer minerals and vitamins to replenish your nervous system and calm your stomach. Schisandra is a tart berry that has adaptogenic properties to help strengthen your ability to adapt to stress.

Ingredients

·        1 part chamomile

·        1 part passionflower

·        1 part fennel

·        1 part mint

·        0.5 part schisandra

·        0.5 part rose hips

·        0.5 part lemonbalm

·        0.25 part marshmallow leaves

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 8 to 15 minutes.

Taste: slightly sour, minty, and bittersweet

Herbal action: nervine

System affected: nervous

Pregnancy Tea

This is a tremendous tea to drink during pregnancy or if you are trying to get pregnant — it’s never too early to start preparing your body for the process of growing new life. Pregnancy teas contain vitamin- and mineral-rich herbs that provide bioavailable nutrients to help the mother and baby grow. The herbs in this tea are generally considered safe during pregnancy, but it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor or midwife.

Midwives believe that raspberry leaf helps shorten labor time, reduce labor pain, and support postpartum recovery. It is rich in vitamin C and E, bioavailable calcium and iron, B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.

Nettle is one of the Western world’s most important nourishing herbs for the adrenal glands and kidneys, which are often stressed during pregnancy. Calming mints and chamomile help relieve digestive upset, while alfalfa and oats provide minerals for healthy growth. Oats rich in calcium and magnesium help relieve anxiety, restlessness, and skin irritations. Dandelion leaf contains vitamin A, calcium, and iron; nourishes the liver; and relieves water retention (mild edema). If you experience nausea and stomachaches, try adding freshly grated ginger to your tea.

Ingredients

·        2 parts nettle leaf

·        2 parts raspberry leaf

·        2 parts peppermint

·        2 parts rose petals

·        1 part chamomile

·        1 part alfalfa

·        1 part dandelion leaf

·        1 part milky oat tops

·        1 part oat straw

Steeping

Hot infusion: Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cold infusion: Because this is a nourishing tea, you can try a cold infusion to get a stronger mineral extraction. Combine 2 cups cold water and 1 to 2 tablespoons tea in a lidded jar. Shake the jar to make sure all the tea is saturated. Place in the refrigerator or a cool place for at least 2 hours.

Taste: herbaceous, minty, slightly sweet, floral

Herbal actions: relaxes, provides vitamins and minerals, and supports digestion, liver, and kidneys

Systems affected: liver, kidneys, nervous, female reproductive; general tonic

Postpartum Nourish Tea

Having a new baby is an incredible time of joy. It is also a period of intense transition and adjustment. The herbs in this blend feed the nervous system and adrenals, helping you deal with the fatigue and stress of caring for a tiny person around the clock. This blend also encourages connective tissue healing, which is helpful for both vaginal and cesarean births.

Ingredients

·        2 parts gotu kola

·        2 parts lemonbalm

·        1 part nettle leaf

·        1 part oat straw

·        1 part milky oat tops

·        1 part chamomile

Steeping

Pour 4 cups hot water over 3 to 4 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 15 minutes.

Taste: grassy, sweet, slightly lemony

Herbal actions: tissue building, nutritive to brain and adrenals

Systems affected: connective tissue, nervous

Candida Support

Candidiasis is a very tricky condition to treat with teas alone. Transitioning to a low glycemic diet, taking probiotic supplements, and adding prebiotic foods and herbs to your diet can work together with this tea to reduce Candida in your body for the long term. Glow: Beauty Tea has both dandelion and burdock roots in it. These roots contain inulin, a prebiotic polysaccharide that strongly encourages a healthy balance of intestinal flora and helps reduce Candida . Candida Support and Glow Tea together can be a soothing ritual to help strengthen your resolve to stick with all your dietary shifts and topical treatments.

Candida Support tea combines drying, antifungal, and gastrointestinal support herbs that have been shown to limit and reduce candidiasis outbreaks. It is a great preventive tea for people who suffer from recurrent candidiasis.

Ingredients

·        5 parts pau d’arco

·        2 parts milky oat tops

·        2 parts cedar tips (optional)

·        1 part thyme

·        1 part mint

·        1 part calendula

·        0.5 part oregano

·        0.5 part clove

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

Taste: a fabulous savory tea

Herbal actions: drying, antifungal

System affected: general tonic for prevention and reduction of Candida

Nursing Mama Tea

This tea is designed to help restore the new mother and keep her replenished with the essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy breast milk supply. Fenugreek and goat’s rue are traditionally used to stimulate lactation. Drinking Nursing Mama Tea two to three times a day for the first two weeks after birth can ensure robust milk production throughout the entire nursing period.

Ingredients

·        10 parts fenugreek seeds

·        5 parts mint

·        5 parts fennel

·        4 parts nettle leaf

·        2 parts lemonbalm

·        2 parts goat’s rue

·        2 parts alfalfa

·        2 parts chamomile

Steeping

Pour 4 cups hot water over 3 to 4 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 15 minutes.

Taste: slightly bittersweet and minty

Herbal actions: galactagogue, nutritive, calming

Systems affected: breast milk, nervous, digestive

Calm Waters

Calm Waters is for when you have an active urinary tract infection. These herbs are astringent and antibacterial, helping eliminate pathogenic bacteria from the urinary tract. This blend is also incredibly soothing and healing to damaged or inflamed tissue. Prepare yourself for the flavor of this one! These herbs are naturally sour and bitter, with a slight sweetness from the corn silk. However, they are powerful allies, so it’s worth it.

Ingredients

·        1 part dried cranberries

·        1 part dried blueberries

·        1 part Oregon grape root

·        1 part corn silk

·        0.5 part nettle leaf

·        0.5 part uva ursi

·        0.5 part hibiscus

·        0.5 part dandelion leaf

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon tea. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Taste: fruity, sour, bitter

Herbal actions: antibacterial and astringent to tissues in urinary tract

System affected: urinary tract

Blood Pressure Support

Living causes wear and tear on the cardiovascular system. This tea helps lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and supports healthy blood flow. Because this tea tastes wonderful, it is easy to drink a cup or two a day.

Hawthorn has been used to support heart health since at least the first century ce. Today the leaves, flowers, and berries are used to help protect against heart disease, control high blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve circulation. Hibiscus also helps lower blood pressure. Both hibiscus and hawthorn contain anthocyanins that inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and slow the release of hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict. Cinnamon helps regulate blood glucose levels and often lowers blood pressure, especially among those who are type 2 diabetic or prediabetic. Finally, I simply love the fragrance and flavor that linden adds to this blend. Because it is a soothing nervine herb, it works well alongside the hawthorn and hibiscus to reduce hypertension.

Hawthorn, linden, and hibiscus are all rich in antioxidants, but there is no reason not to add more antioxidant-rich dried berries. I typically harvest wild blackberries all summer, dry them in a dehydrator, and keep them on hand to enhance teas such as this one. Adding more berries will increase the tartness of this already tart and tangy tea. If you want to reduce the tartness, you can try adding mint instead, or add a touch of honey.

Ingredients

·        1 part hawthorn leaf

·        1 part hawthorn berry

·        1 part cinnamon

·        1 part linden

·        1 part dried berries or 1 part mint (optional)

·        0.5 part hibiscus

·        0.5 part lemongrass

·        0.5 part orange peel

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes. If desired, add a touch a touch of honey to taste.

Taste: bright citrus notes with tangy hibiscus and sweet linden

Herbal actions: supports cardiovascular health and blood pressure

System affected: cardiovascular

Snooze

Snooze tea is a valerian-based sleep tea for people who experience insomnia and restless sleep. This powerful blend calms skeletal muscles and the nervous system to help you get the sleep you need and deserve. Valerian is considered a relaxing herb; some studies show that with prolonged use, it greatly reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. Like most sleep teas, this blend combines several relaxing herbs to reduce physical and mental tension and help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.

Ingredients

·        2 parts valerian

·        1 part kava

·        1 part linden

·        1 part mint

·        1 part passionflower

·        0.25 part hops

·        0.25 part nutmeg

Steeping

Hot infusion: Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cold infusion: Combine 2 cups cold water and 1 to 2 tablespoons tea in a lidded jar. Shake the jar to make sure all the tea is saturated. Place in the refrigerator or a cool place for at least 2 hours.

Taste: slightly bitter, spicy, minty, this tea is a little stinky, and the kava has a tendency to slightly numb the lips and tongue if you drink a lot of it

Herbal actions: relaxing, sleep inducing, reduces incidence of restless sleep

Systems affected: muscular, nervous

Note: This tea should not be taken if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Inflammation Reduction

This tea, based on an Ayurvedic recipe, is practically a meal in a cup and tastes a lot like a rich chai or curry. For many years I struggled to create anti-inflammatory teas for customers because most of the potent herbs with strong anti-inflammatory properties are incredibly bitter. Instead I would end up recommending tinctures or diet changes to help reduce inflammation. But a couple of years ago a friend verbally described this tea to me and I have been experimenting with it ever since.

Besides being two of the most healing tonic herbs in the world, fresh ginger and turmeric are wonderfully anti-inflammatory. You can usually buy fresh organic ginger and turmeric at your local natural foods store, and it is totally possible to grow your own if you live in a sunny climate and have access to a hoop house or greenhouse. I live in a relatively cool region and have been able to grow both in a hoop house from fresh root cuttings I bought at the grocery store. Consistently eating fresh ginger and turmeric — in food, tea, or blended into fresh juice — will greatly improve inflammatory conditions. Anti-inflammatory drugs and standardized extracts might be more potent, but they do not have the balancing effects that the whole plant provides. The harmonizing effects of fresh ginger and turmeric on the immune and digestive systems, in addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, make them a much more obvious choice for me.

This tea is a pretty fun undertaking. Butter is included because the spices contain fat-soluble constituents that won’t be fully extracted in water alone. Goji berries are superfoods that improve immune function, are highly antioxidant, and reduce the effects of stress on the body and mind. Combined with turmeric, black pepper improves the absorption of the anti-inflammatory action of the turmeric in the body. You can use black tea or rooibos, depending on whether or not you prefer caffeine. Because this recipe doesn’t lend itself to making in bulk, the ingredients are given in measurements, not parts.

Ingredients

·        2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

·        2 tablespoons grated fresh turmeric

·        2 tablespoons goji berries

·        1 ⁄2 teaspoon cardamom

·        1 ⁄2 teaspoon clove

·        Tiny pinch of black pepper

·        1 teaspoon black tea or rooibos per cup

·        1 teaspoon butter, ghee, or coconut oil per cup

·        1 teaspoon honey per cup

Steeping

Combine the ginger, turmeric, goji berries, cardamom, clove, and pepper in a lidded saucepan with 4 cups water. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the tea, butter, and honey. Let sit for 5 minutes. Strain and enjoy. The sugar in the goji berries should help the butter emulsify into the tea. If you find the butter sits on top of the tea, you can emulsify the tea in a blender for 15 seconds.

Taste: buttery, currylike flavor

Herbal actions: anti-inflammatory to tissues, warming, immune supportive

Systems affected: muscles, nervous, immune, circulatory

Happy Heart

A delicious, nourishing tea that calms the physical heart and rebuilds the emotional heart, Happy Heart combines traditional blood purifiers, relaxing heart support, and uplifting aromatics.

Together, linden, nettle, and hawthorn synergize to soothe tense nerves and protect the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn increases arterial circulation and lowers “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels. It is lesser known for its ability to calm the nerves and ease tight feelings in the chest related to emotional tension or anxiety. Linden, sometimes referred to as lime flower, is another fabulous restorative herb for the nervous system and supports the action of hawthorn. Red sage works with hawthorn as well, to encourage blood circulation. Finally, this blend is centered around the heart-calming properties and protective energies of motherwort.

Everyone goes through heartaches. Motherwort, hawthorn, linden, and red sage are staples in a Western herbalist’s handbag, helpful especially to those who are suffering from psychological trauma that leads to rapid heartbeat or palpitations. This blend is also effective in cases of nervousness and hypertension. Designed for long-term use, this tea is for those who wish to confidently open their heart.

Ingredients

·        1 part hawthorn leaf

·        1 part hawthorn berry

·        1 part linden

·        1 part mint

·        1 part nettle leaf

·        1 part red sage root

·        0.5 part osmanthus flowers

·        0.25 part motherwort

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Taste: bouquet of bright floral fragrance blended with bittersweet and mint

Herbal actions: tonic for the emotional and physical heart

Systems affected: cardiovascular, nervous

Ease the Pain Tea

Acute or chronic pain makes simple daily activities really difficult. Besides the physical pain from an injury, you may also have corrective soreness in muscles and joints associated with movements to guard your pain, as well as emotional stress and lingering psychological impacts. So when I create a tea for pain, I often choose several different categories of herbs to ease all these associated patterns of pain: anodyne, relaxant, antispasmodic, and modifying.

Anodynes are herbs that dull the sensation of pain (but do not address the root causes of it). In this blend I used corydalis, which is a non-habit-forming pain-relieving herb. Skullcap is a great general relaxant, which I like to pair with fennel. To help relieve some of the associated muscle tension, this blend has wild yam. And to balance the blend, I added mint and licorice root. Finally, I added one extra adaptogen herb, codonopsis, to help the body manage the long-term stress associated with pain.

Ingredients

·        1 part corydalis

·        1 part skullcap

·        1 part fennel

·        0.5 part wild yam

·        0.5 part mint

·        0.25 part codonopsis

·        0.25 part licorice root

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea in a lidded saucepan. Keep it warm on the stove for at least 20 minutes. You do not want the tea to get hot enough to simmer or boil, so make sure the heat is on the lowest setting.

Taste: sweetness of licorice, fennel, and codonopsis balance the bitterness of skullcap, corydalis, and wild yam

Herbal actions: pain relieving, antispasmodic, relaxing, and adaptogenic

Systems affected: muscular, nervous

Mindspring

Mindspring is the perfect tea for intense periods of brain flexing. This blend provides a mental boost to encourage memory, focus, and learning, making it a great tea for anyone who relies on their mental dexterity for their job or schoolwork. It also provides good support for people who experience residual cognitive impairment from a traumatic brain injury. I had many sports-related concussions as a kid, and at times I notice significant cognitive impairment. Drinking tea with tulsi and gotu kola helps reduce stress and strengthen my ability to think.

Tulsi has a beautiful way of bringing youth and grace back to a tired mind. Gotu kola is often taken as a fresh juice in India to bring spark and agility to the mind. Codonopsis, a deliciously sweet root, is a great substitute for Asian ginseng, rejuvenating the nervous system and boosting immunity. Sage is an herb of wisdom and enhances our ability to be mentally present. Green rooibos is less sweet and tangy than red rooibos and is known for its high antioxidant levels and light, bright flavor. Licorice is an herb I like to think of as the deep river of replenishment. It adds sweetness while reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and bringing out the youthfulness in each of us.

Lots of people experience frustration with learning because it is difficult to learn when we feel stressed. Remembering to seek out safe environments to work and learn can go a long way to improve overall mental function.

Ingredients

·        2 parts gotu kola

·        1.5 parts tulsi

·        1 part peppermint

·        1 part sage

·        1 part licorice root

·        1 part green rooibos

·        1 part codonopsis

Steeping

Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Taste: strong aromatics of mint, sage, and tulsi; tangy base with a sweet aftertaste

Herbal actions: supports memory and focus

System affected: nervous