Spring Weeds Tea (Women’s Utili-Tea)

Spring Weeds Tea - Women's Utili-Tea

 

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Little Bug and the Giraffes

I love three day weekends. And this past weekend was a great one. The weather here in Philly has been a bit all over the place, but this weekend was just perfect for me. Big Daddy and I took this opportunity to take Little Bug to the Philadelphia Zoo for the day and he had a blast. He’s right at the age (twenty months) where he’s really getting into the animals and he now can say their names and knows what sounds they make.  Seeing all of these animals live and in person was pretty awesome for him. Also, the zoo recently opened their new KidZooU which was really neat to check out for the first time. Little Bug loved petting the sheep and watching the goats climb all around him. I think primates were his favorite as he was amazed watching them climb up and down the ropes and swing all around.  If you live in the area and have kids, the zoo is a must-go place. We received a membership for Christmas and it’s been invaluable. The membership is great because it pays for itself in just two to three visits (depending on how young your little ones are)! We try to get there as often as possible because it’s a great chance to be outside, running around and learning more about all of these amazing animals. This was our fourth trip this year already and we’ve got at least two more visits planned in the next couple months – so it’s definitely one of our favorite spots in the city for little ones.

So after a wonderful weekend, it’s now back to the daily grind. When I spend all day inside my office, staring at a computer for nine hours, I really appreciate any chance I get to bring a little of Momma Nature with me. So I always have some essential oils on my desk and drinking some good herbal infusion throughout the day often helps connect me to the outside world.

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Spring Weeds Tea
(Women’s Utili-Tea)

An herbal infusion, which is also called a tea or a tisane, is a very simple way to prepare and consume herbs.  Like in the Lemon Balm Glycerite we made last week, you have your herbs and the medium into which you are going to extract the constituents of the herbs, in this case we are now using water. If you’ve ever made a cup of tea before, you have made an infusion.  You can use fresh or dried herbs, however just note that if you use fresh herbs, you will have to use about two to three times the amount of herbs since the fresh herbs have a higher water content and therefore you need more of them to extract the same amount of constituents as you would with dried herbs. The majority of infusions will be made using the leaves, flowers or stems of a plant, as the constituents you are looking to pull from these plants are more easily accessible from these part. If you are looking to make an infusion with the bark, a root or seed, you’re going to want to use a powdered form of that herb. Herbal infusion can be made with either hot or cold water, depending on the herb. Most infusions will be done with hot water, however some herbs extract better in cold water (e.g. Marshmallow), but we’ll get to that in another post. Also, if you are drinking an infusion for medicinal purposes, you will often need to consume 3-4 cups of the infusion per day to get the greatest benefit. That’s not to say that just having a cup of an infusion a day isn’t going to benefit you at all – any time you bring good herbs into your body you will have a positive effect.

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Herbal infusion in a french press

I love using my french press to make my infusions when I’m at home. When I’m at work and just making a cup of whatever loose herb blend I brought in that week, I’ll just use a tea ball.  You can also make you’re own tea bags, which is what I did after I had Little Bug and was drinking my lactation tea to help increase my breast milk supply. I had prepared the tea bags in the final weeks of my pregnancy so they were ready to go when I needed them. Also, to save time, if you find a blend of herbs that you love, you can make a batch of it and use it as needed, instead of blending each time you want to make an infusion.

I typically make my medicinal teas a quart at a time, which is what you would drink over the course of the day. This saves you from having to make four separate cups of tea. You can drink your tea hot, warm or even add some ice. I tend to drink mine at room temperature – I basically make a quart in the morning and drink it throughout the day – so it’s not really hot or cold. If you’re making a large batch of an infusion and don’t plan on consuming over the course of a few hours, you should store your tea in the refrigerator.

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Drinking my Spring Weeds Tea – Cheers!

The amount of herb you use in your infusion will vary based upon the specific herb you are using and your own personal palate, but as a general rule I tend to use about a tablespoon of herb(s) to cup of water (1/4 cup of herbs to a quart of water). The amount of time you steep your infusion is also important. In order to get the medicinal benefit from the herbs, you should let your infusion steep for a minimum of 20 minutes. The longer the herbs steep the more constituents are able to be extracted from the herbs. Typically I let my herbs steep 30-60 minutes, but on occasion I’ve let them steep overnight. You should note though that longer infusions may not be as pleasing to the taste buds as they can become a bit more bitter or pungent tasting. You always want to make sure that you cover your infusions while they are steeping, so that the volatile oils which are part of what you are trying to extract, don’t evaporate.

My Spring Weeds Tea (Women’s Utili-Tea) is something that I try to drink on a fairly regular basis. I think of it as my liquid women’s vitamin. It contains Stinging Nettle, Dandelion Leaf, Red Raspberry Leaf and Peppermint. It’s called Spring Weed Tea because all of the herb in it are extremely prolific this time of year and to the untrained eye, they may be considered weeds (dandelions are often the bane of  homeowners on the quest of the perfect lawn). It’s nicknamed Women’s Utili-Tea because this is a great all around tea for women.

Let’s take a closer look at the herbs in this infusion:

Bed_of_nettles_-_geograph.org.uk_-_463116Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) is a superpower herb. While she’s not an herb you want to cozy up to out in the woods (or you will be met with her little painful stingers and some contact dermatitis – a burning rash), everyone can benefit from cozying up with a nice copy of nettle tea. Once cooked, the stingers lose their toxicity so don’t worry about hurting yourself if you drink a cup of nettle tea.  This is one of Momma Natures most nutritious herbs and she strengthens and supports the whole body.  She is very high in iron, calcium, potassium, manganese and vitamins A, C and D.  It’s a wonderful spring tonic and general detox remedy. Nettles are also great at helping to reduce the severity of chronic, seasonal allergy symptoms. You want to make sure if you’re picking fresh nettles to wear gloves and collect the leaves before she flowers. You can also cook this herb and use in place of spinach.

danDandelion Leaf (Taraxacum officinalis) is what comes to mind most often when you say the word “weed”, but to an herbalist, she is a staple of the home apothecary.  Like Nettle, Dandelion offers a broad spectrum of therapeutic and nutritional usefulness and is rich in iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, and B-complex. She’s a wonderful diuretic and will help the kidneys filter out all of the nasty toxins sitting around in your body. Dandelion leaf is a delicious bitter and will help to kick-start your digestive system and tonify your liver.  This is also a great herb to add raw to salads or incorporate in to green smoothies.

RRLRed Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) is an excellent source of vitamin C and is a mildly astringent tonic. She is probably the most widely used female tonic due to the fact that she improves the tone and elasticity of smooth muscle tissues in and around the uterus (I seriously credit my short labor to drinking copious amounts of Red Raspberry Leaf tea during my pregnancy). This is also my go to herb when in need of menstrual cramp relief.

Mint-leaves-2007Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is technically a hybrid mint – a cross between watermint and spearmint. She works wonders on the digestive system, calming smooth-muscle spasms (colic, flatulence, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness). She’s both a relaxant and a stimulant – talk about a split personality!  She stimulates digestion, circulation and the mind, yet soothes the nerves and muscles. Peppermint is used to treat coughs, bronchitis and inflammations of the oral mucosa and throat. She has a wonderful flavor and has a great cooling effect on the body – perfect to drink on a hot summer day.

Spring Weeds Tea (Women's Utili-Tea)
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Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 tbsp dried stinging nettles
  • 1 tbsp dried dandelion leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried red raspberry leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried peppermint
Instructions
  1. Boil water.
  2. Place you're dried herbs in a french press or infuser (if you have one) or just in a quart glass jar.
  3. Pour water over the herbs and cover with a lid
  4. Let steep for 30 to 60 minutes.
  5. Strain the herbs and you have your tea.
  6. Don't forget to compost the marc (the used herbs).

 

This is a great tasting tea and can be consumed daily. It’s very refreshing and amazingly nutritive. The act of preparing and drinking a tea is another “ordinary” activity that can become more of a ritual in our daily lives. Watching the herbs dance around in the water as they steep is pretty relaxing. Seeing the color of the water change the longer the herbs steep. Inhaling the aroma of the herbs as they are awakened in the water. Noticing how the tea feels in your body is another attempt to bring us more in to awareness of our selves.  What does the tea taste like? Where does it hit your mouth? Does it make your mouth water or dry you out? Is it cooling/warming? Do you notice any sensations elsewhere in your body?

As always, all information presented on this website is meant for educational purposes only. I am not a licensed physician. Not a single statement made here has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Nothing written here is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided on this website is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your physician, and should not be construed as individual medical advice.

What are some of your favorite teas/infusions to make? Were there any ordinary activities you found yourself doing more mindfully over the past few days?

 

This post has been shared on: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Well Fed Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Natural Living Link-Up , Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Fridays.

 

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FDA Disclaimer: All information presented on this website is meant for educational purposes only. I am not a licensed physician. Not a single statement made here has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Nothing written here is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided on this website is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your physician, and should not be construed as individual medical advice. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. By entering this blog you agree to the Privacy Policy and Disclaimer . Copyright © 2013-2014 HerbanMomma.com