Living in a rural, agrarian area was a dream for my Grandmother who fancied herself as a herbalist. I don't know how many times I watched her ask my Grandfather to pull his car over so she could forage and procure various, grasses, leaves, bark, and roots so she could bring them home for anti-inflammatory teas, tonics, and homemade salves. She said Native Americans taught her. My grandmother would boil, steep and prepare various plants to help break fevers or as cold prevention tonics before and during the school year - along with castor or cod liver oil.
I was raised to love nature and that food was the best medicine. It wasn't that my grandmother didn't believe in conventional medicine. She highly respected doctors, but heavily relied on plants and prayer. As a matter of fact, we all had to go and get our annual check-up once a year. Our family doctor happened to be the doctor for our entire family including me, my mother, her siblings, and my grandparents.
But we all considered my Grandmother a healer - her warm soft hands always made us feel better and if a hug, kiss, or prolonged snuggle didn't help, she'd use herbs, teas, and tonics to help us heal. Health and wellness was only a hug, mug, or salve away.
I carried on the tradition and it's served me well over the years, especially when I couldn't afford insurance. Teas, such as anti-inflammatory teas and herbal remedies were the only things I could afford to help me with everything from stomach to skin issues. Now, I have a collection of 10 different loose and bagged teas in a decorative basket on my kitchen island.
Here is my list of top 10 teas and tonics to help soothe what ails you. As a disclaimer, I am not a doctor I'm just a country girl who survived country living sipping tea, and drinking tonics most of my life.
My Tea List
- Black tea - Great for a caffeine boost, antibacterial, and funky foot soak. The tannins kill odor-causing bacteria and steeped and cooled tea bags helps remove under-eye circles
- Chai - A power-packed spice combo (see my recipe below)
- Chamomile - A keep ingredient in Sleepy Time tea and an overall calming tea
- Dandelion - Good for your liver and has diuretic properties
- Ginger - An ingredient in Chai - touted for multiple uses including soothing stomach ailments, circulation, and menstrual cramp. This is also an anti-inflammatory tea.
- Green tea - Slow release of caffeine and high in antioxidants
- Peppermint - Soothing, calming, and natural body deodorizer
- Slippery elm - It's the key ingredient in Throat Coat tea from Traditional Medicinals
- Cinnamon - Calming and helps lower balance blood sugar
- Tumeric - Great antioxidant
Trusted Tea Brands
I like to purchase teas from Traditional Medicinals, which you can find online, in health food stores, or even Walmart. Celestial Seasoning is a great option because it can be found in most grocery stores. My all-time favorite is Calabash Tea (Teas blended from an actual Naturopathic doctor). I love that her site lists brewing instructions.
When I'm feeling like my body needs a spicy, herbal boost.
- 1 nub of freshly grated ginger (length of your thumb) or 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
- 10-15 dried cloves or 2-3 pinches of dried clove powder
- 5 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 5 cardamom seeds or 2-3 pinches of dried cardamom powder
- A pinch of nutmeg or 2-3 grates from a rasp
- 32 ozs of filtered water
- Sweetener of your choice
Boil for 1 minute and let simmer on low for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature and pour contents in a clean, sterile jar or covered glass container, and let it steep in the refrigerator overnight or a maximum of 24 hours. Strain and consume within 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
You can drink it immediately, but it won't be as strong.
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