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Monday, May 12, 2014


"Digestivi-Tea" - or if you're less punny, Tummy Tea

Here is a herbal tea that I believe everyone should have in the house, or at least know how to put together. Really simple. Works fast.

Catnip settles the stomach, and also soothes the nervous system. It is a widely favored herb for cold and flu preparations for children, and reliably brings down fevers. I find this grows easily so I like to keep it in my garden and harvest fresh throughout the growing season, harvesting a few times at the end of spring and summer so that I have enough dried herb to last throughout the winter months, too. If neighboring cats like to roll in your catnip, pop a wire tomato cage over the top.

Lemon balm is another herb that soothes the nervous system, but without causing drowsiness. The flavor is light and mild, slightly lemony astringent but not overpowering.

Peppermint is a classic cure for any indigestion problem as it is anti-inflammatory in its coolness. Other mint varieties taste good -- chocolate mint, sweet mint, among many others -- but peppermint is supposed to be the highest in volatile oils, and so is grown apart from my sweet mint patch and used medicinally, whereas my sweet mint is more for lemonade and flavoring, and in place of the weeds which would grow there instead.

Make this tea by infusion only -- cover with boiling water, off the heat, and let steep with a lid over it until infused -- as catnip is especially delicate and a decoction will destroy much of the goodness. But you can either make the tea with fresh herbs, or from dried and ready mixed.

Fresh Digestivi-Tea:
2 catnip
2 lemon balm
1 peppermint

Gather equal parts of catnip and lemon balm, and half a part of peppermint. Rinse clean. Strip the leaves into a glass or stainless steel pot, or directly into a mug, pour boiling water over it and let steep for 10 minutes. Drink warm for indigestion or flu-like symptoms.

If you do not have fresh herbs readily available, use dried. Here, red raspberry leaf and fennel seeds are optional extras you may include. Fennel is fabulous for gastrointestinal trouble, including acid stomach or heartburn, and painful trapped gas, and lends a sweetness to the tea that children often like. Red raspberry leaf provides relief from nausea and acid. This 5 ingredient Tummy Tea is fabulous for relieving morning sickness during pregnancy.

Measure the dried herbs in Simpler's Form, in parts measured by volume. The fennel seeds do not need to be crushed but you may get more out of them in an infusion if they are not whole.

Dried Digestivi-Tea:
2 catnip
2 lemon balm
1 peppermint
1 red raspberry leaf
1/2 fennel seeds, crushed

My husband came home from work today feeling rotten. Since I don't know if this might be a virus to blame or simply yesterday's slight nutritional indulgence taking revenge, this tea is my first grab. While waiting for it to cool, I will be giving him 30 drops of elderberry tincture, to help ward off possible virus. Elderberry may also be added directly to the tea and tastes lovely, once again a flavor that goes over well with children. I also applied an essential oil blend by Native American Nutritionals, called "Tummy Rub", which contains several of the same herbs plus others and works very effectively. This way, my man's gut gets a double whammy of relief from inside and out.

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