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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

lemon drop tea

Lemon Drop Tea

I hope the Bulk Herb Store will forgive me for pinching theirs... Credit where credit is due, I looked online at their lemon drop tea and it sounded great. However, I already had a bag of organic lemongrass, had rosehips, and I dehydrate my own lemon and orange peels from organic fruit whenever I can get my hands on them. So... Why pay for a 1/2 lb bag of their blend when I could make up my own?

We have been enjoying this tea for several years now. I'll give you my recipe first, and then I'll tell you what makes it good for your body as well as your tastebuds! 

orange peel bits/granules - 1 oz
lemon peel bits/granules - 2 oz 
lemongrass - 2 o
rosehips - 1 oz
optional cut stevia herb for sweetness - 1/8 to 1/4 oz

Measurements are by weight, not by volume. Perhaps at a later date I will work out the recipe for you in simpler's method and provide an update, but when I put this together at the time this is how it worked. This quantity yields a little less than a quart jar of mix.

You need to decoct this tea. Make a decoction by bringing water to a boil, adding herbs and covering with a lid, and then simmering on low for about 20 minutes. The peels and rosehips are hard herbs - literally hard - and so require more force to break down. Lemongrass is kinda on the shelf but is dense enough to handle some extra heat just fine.  

Use about 2 level teaspoons of herbs per 8 oz water. Drink hot or cold. 

For a variation that feels oh, so good on a sore throat, add 1 tsp peppermint leaf for every 2 tsp lemon drop tea blend. It will taste like a lemon-mint flavored Ricola cough sweet. 

Overall, lemon drop tea is good for reducing muscle spasms, aiding the fight against the common cold, reducing fever, increasing blood circulation in the body, is high in vitamin C, promotes sleep and lowers stress.

Pretty good for a tea, right?! Here's why.

Lemongrass: the essential oils found in lemongrass have something called myrcene in them. Myrcene is an analgesic, so the effect in the body is of a mild sedative.

The essential oils in lemongrass are analgesic (the myrcene), anti-depressant, antimicrobial, antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, galactagogue, insecticidal, nervine, and a nervous system sedative and tonic.

So, additionally to being a nervine sedative, note that lemongrass strengthens (tones) the nervous system for healthy response.

(Please note that lemongrass is not considered safe during pregnancy at all, whether in herb or essential oil form. Pregnant mamas can make an adapted form of lemon drop tea by simmering the orange, lemon and rosehips together, and adding lemon balm or peppermint herb to the decoction to infuse before drinking. Don't decoct lemon balm, however, as it doesn't like too great a heat.)

Orange: high in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, which is an antioxidant with proven medical benefits during times of stress, such as illness or the common cold.

The essential oils found in orange peel are antiseptic, anti-depressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, cholagogue, sedative and tonic.

Lemon: also high in antioxidants, especially vitamin C.

The essential oils in lemon peel are antimicrobial, antiseptic, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, hypotensive, insecticidal, tonic and vermifuge. In particular, that property of being hypotensive means that lemon decreases blood pressure by increasing the body's ability to circulate blood efficiently.

Rosehips: contain more vitamin C than almost any other herb gram for gram, according to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.

Convinced? This tea is good for you!

Oh, right. You want to know how I managed the citrus peels at home, yes?

Easy peasy.

Use a veg speed peeler to take off the colored rind, not the white pith, from the outside of unwaxed organic citrus fruit. Spread those peels on a dehydrator rack. Dry at 95 F until just crispy. Pulse in a blender or bash up in a mortar and pestle, or in a plastic bag with a hammer, until you get the size of chips or grains you prefer. Store in a glass jar for up to a year, preferably less.

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