A Simple Gut Healing Chai Tea

By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), Registered Clinical Herbalist and Bestselling Author

Maybe you drink chai tea in autumn because it’s warming, spicy, and delicious, and I certainly can’t blame you for that because it’s a favorite of mine for those reasons, too! But, did you know that chai spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove are supreme herbs for digestive health? And you can easily use them to flavor additional gut-supportive herbs that blend well and enhance the medicinal action while still tasting delicious!

First, I’d suggest ditching the black tea portion of a standard chai – partly because it’s

roots

Marshmallow root

often less soothing for the gut and also because the black tea will make a simmered or long-steeped chai blend taste terrible. Then, swap it out for cut and sifted marshmallow root. You could use marshmallow powder, but it turns to mucous-like slime in water – this is excellent for the gut but a little off putting. The chopped up roots (cut and sifted) offer gentler healing properties and a pleasant, velvety mouthfeel to the tea. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) has a mild, sweet flavor that smooths out the spices while soothing gut irritation and inflammation and promoting healing. The mucilage has this beneficial effect. It’s my absolute favorite herbal tea to support people with gastritis, reflux, GERD, ulcers, and while weaning off antacid/proton-pump inhibitor drugs (with a doctor’s supervision and guidance). You will notice some benefits immediately, but the real magic happens with long-term use. It extracts best in tea. Meanwhile, the spices stimulate healthy digestion, reduce inflammation, and discourage pathogens.

  • 1 heaping teaspoon cut and sifted dried marshmallow root

    spices PixabayDaria Yakokleva

    Pixabay – Daria Yakovleva

  • 2 cinnamons sticks (cinnamon powder will also turn to slime)
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise pod

Now, brew the tea in one of four ways, using 16 ounces of water. Feel free to play around to find out which method you like best and is most convenient for your lifestyle. It can be drunk hot/reheated, room temperature, or cold.

  1. Cover the herbs with cold water in a French press or jar. Let steep overnight on the counter. Strain and drink that day. You’ll get mucilage and milder spice flavor.
  2. Cover herbs with hot water in a French press or jar. Let steep overnight on the counter. Strain and drink that day. You’ll get good mucilage and stronger spice flavor.
  3. In a well-insulated thermos that keeps tea hot for hours, cover the herbs in boiling hot water. Let steep at least 1 hour (longer is better) before straining to drink. This gets even stronger spice flavor but not as much mucilage.
  4. Simmer the herbs for 20 minutes, then strain. This offers the most potent spice flavor but the least amount of mucilage.

You could easily add other ingredients like plantain leaf, ginger, rose petals, fennel seeds, and a pinch of licorice to this tea blend, but the above blend is nice and simple and comes out great. It’s well tolerated by almost anyone and can be enjoyed as a tasty beverage tea even if you don’t have any particular digestive issues. Some people get a bit gassy from the mucilage; this is rare with cut and sifted herb, but if it happens to you, you can swap out the marshmallow root for marshmallow leaf.

Join me for a lunchtime webinar about “Soothing Herbs & Gut Repair” on Wednesday, November 20 at 1 pm Eastern Time! We’ll go deeper into the healing herbs and how to craft your own tea blend. https://www.herbsociety.org/hsa-learn/hsa-webinars/


webinar groves

Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG) is the bestselling author of the award-winning Body into webinar groves bookBalance (now a core textbook in herb schools across the country) and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies as well as the owner of Wintergreen Botanicals Herbal Clinic & Education Center in New Hampshire. She writes and teaches nationally about herbal medicine and offers both on-site and distance herbal study courses and health consultations. She’s a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and Sage Mountain among others and has more than 20 years of experience in herbalism. She’s an adjunct instructor for the Herbal Academy and a guest presenter at the Maryland University of Integrative BodyintobalanceHealth, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, the American Holistic Nursing Association, and other schools and organizations. She melds evidence-based medicine, traditional Western herbalism, food-based nutrition, and personal clinical experience and presents at national herb and health conferences including the International Herbal Symposium, American Herbalists Guild Symposium, Great Lakes Herb Faire, New England Women’s Herbal Conference, the Mother Earth News Fair, and the Mountain Rose Herbs Free Herbalism Project. She’s a regular contributor to Herb Quarterly, Mother Earth Living, Mother Earth News, Taste for Life, and Remedies magazines. Learn more about herbal medicine as well as her classes, consultations, and to buy signed copies of her books with bonus goodies at https://wintergreenbotanicals.com


Herb Society of America Medical Disclaimer … It is the policy of The Herb Society of America not to advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment.

 

 

Culinary Guru Shares “The Secret to Cooking with Lavender

By Jen Munson, HSA Education Chairlavender nancyLavender is as versatile in the kitchen as it is in the craft room and herbal medicine cabinet. However, use it incorrectly and you will overwhelm potential fans. To wow friends and family there are secrets you’ll want to employ before charging forward and sprinkling lavender on all your culinary creations.

On September 17th at 1pm eastern, join us in this lively, information-packed webinar. You will learn dozens of fun and creative, yet practical ways to use culinary lavender to boost flavor and fragrance while adding pizzazz to dishes. Enhanced with a wealth of eye-catching and informative images, lots of how-tos, and tips, guest speaker Nancy Baggett will cover the following:

  1. How types of lavender differ from one another, which kinds are best for culinary purposes and which should not be used in cooking
  2. Useful basic methods for taking advantage of lavender flavor and aroma
  3. A helpful discussion of “what lavender goes with”

Webinars are free to members of The Herb Society of America and non-members are charged a nominal fee of $5.00. Can’t make the date? Register anyway as recorded webinars are sent to all registrants.

Nancy Baggett is an award-winning author of nearly twenty cookbooks, most recently the The Art of Cooking with Lavender, which won a 2017 Independent Publisher “Books for Better Living” award and is sold in lavender growers’ shops all over the nation. Considered one of America’s top experts on cooking with lavender, Nancy frequently speaks and demonstrates on the topic. Her website devoted to lavender photos, recipes, and her lavender book are at: https://nancyslavenderplace.com For more biographical details and information on her other cookbooks visit: www.kitchenlane.com.

Start your lavender adventures with this recipe for Sweet Harvest Tea. Pour a cup and settle in to enjoy our September 17th webinar. Click here to register here for the webinar.

Sweet Harvest Tea

¼ cup loosely packed, fresh lemon balmlavender tea

¼ cup loosely packed, fresh peppermint leaves

1 tsp fresh or dried lavender blossoms

3” slice of orange peel (orange part only) 2 cups water

Place herbs and orange peel in a large teapot. In a small saucepan, heat water to almost boiling and pour over herbs in teapot. Cover teapot and let mixture steep for 10 minutes. Pour through a strainer to serve.

Source: Herbsociety.orglavender book

HSA Speaker Shares Webinar Recipe for Lavender Martini

By Jen Munson, HSA Education Chairmartini

On a recent Herb Society of America webinar, business member Rose Loveall-Sale owner of Morningsun Herb Farm, thrilled viewers with a talk about the multi-functional herb garden. By definition this is a garden filled with herbs that has uses for humans and visiting creatures. These gardens include plants that are pretty to look at, useful for beauty, pleasant to eat, and entice pollinators. The king of the multi-functional garden is lavender and one way Rose enjoys this special herb is in a lavender martini. Below is Rose’s recipe. Enjoy!

Lavender Martini

  • 1 ½ oz vanilla vodka
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz lavender syrup (or a little less if you are lavender shy)
  • 1 lavender sprig

To make the lavender syrup – Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 2 tsp of dried lavender flowers or 1 tbsp fresh lavender flowers in a small pot, bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 1 hour. Strain out lavender buds and pour into a bottle. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

To make the martini – Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add vodka, lemon juice, and syrup. Shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lavender sprig.

Can’t get enough of lavender? Join us on September 17th when award winning author Nancy Baggett shares with us, “The Secrets to Cooking with Lavender.” To register visit https://www.herbsociety.org/hsa-learn/hsa-webinars/

If you are a member of The Herb Society of America and you missed Rose’s inspiring webinar, you may view it and many others in the member’s only section of the HSA website.  If you are not a member, visit http://www.herbsociety.org to join.


lavender webinar

Color Matters: Eat the Rainbow

Pat CrockerTo be optimally healthy, we are meant to “Eat the Rainbow.” That includes black, blue, crimson, and purple herbs, fruits and vegetables. Learn how to color your diet and your garden from teacher, writer, photographer, and author Pat Crocker at The Power of Black, an HSA member-only webinar at 2 p.m. EST, February 17, 2016.

Click here to register for the HSA member-only webinar

In addition to talking nutrition, Pat will show how black plants — ranging from trees, to shrubs, to vegetables, to herbs and low-growing ground covers — can be incorporated into existing gardens. She’ll identify black varieties of interesting edibles that can be woven into gardens as ornamentals, medicinals and food.

“I plan to explore black herbs and food plants and offer information about how black plants work as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the body,” says Pat. “From this, we can understand why black plants, along with other colorful foods, are important.”

She will show how to apply that information with a seasonal “Little Black Salad.”

The Power of Black webinar points out herbs that are on trend. For example, it looks at black-leafed and black-fruiting, ornamental chile peppers as well as several purple/black basils.

blackOlivePepper“Black olive ornamental chile peppers are stunning when planted alone or with other herbs in containers for a deck or front walkway,” says Pat. “I’ll show how Rodale Gardens used blue savory and green cabbages as a path border. This way of re-thinking the herb and flowering garden gives you color, shape, texture, and different heights, and it is totally edible. How cool is that?”

Pat Crocker is a foodie and culinary herbalist. She has written 18 cookbooks including Kitchen Herbal, The Healing Herbs Cookbook, Preserving, and Coconut 24/7. With more than 1.25 million books in print (one translated into eight languages) she has been honored multiple times by various organizations, including the 2009 Gertrude H. Foster award from the Herb Society of America for Excellence in Herbal Literature. A professional Home Economist (BAA, B.Ed.), specializing in herbs and healthy foods, Pat has been growing, photographing, teaching, and writing about herbs, herb gardens, food, and healthy diets for more than two decades.


Non-members can join HSA and watch past and upcoming monthly webinars. The next presentation will be at 2 p.m. EST on March 7, 2016, will be on the History and Distilling of Herb Essences.