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Herbal Teas
By Lotus

Rose is a very expensive essential oil. It is one of the oldest medicinals along with myrrh and
frankincense. It is traditionally made still in Iran where there is an annual Rose festival in the
district producing the world's largest supply of rose oil and floral water. Rose oil costs about
$50.00 per 1/8th ounce and most that are available are diluted or perfume fragrance rather than
essential oil.

The therapeutic actions of the oil are: analgesic-topical, anthelmintic, antibacterial,
antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antiviral,
aphrodisiac, astringent, bacterialcide, cholagogue, cosmetic, deodorant, depurative, disinfectant,
diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, germicidal, hypotensive, hepatic, narcotic, sedative,
stomachic, tonic, vulnerary.

Medicinal uses are for: abrasions, abscesses, asthma, high blood pressure, boils, bronchitis,
burns, candida, fragile capillaries, slow circulation, lack of concentration, conjunctivitis, cough,
depression, dermatitis, diarrhea, dysmenorrhea, eczema, eye inflammation, fever, flatulence,
fluid retention, gallbladder congestion, hay fever, headache, indigestion, insomnia, low libido,
liver congestion, poor memory, migraine, nausea, palpitations, rashes, sores, stress, swelling,
sore throat, oral thrush, tinea, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers and urinary tract infection.

It is contrindicated during the first trimester of pregnancy and may cause dermatitis. It is one of
the more common oils to cause allergic reaction.

Many folk healing teas were used to relieve back pain. Wintergreen, Meadowsweet and White
willow bark. The Penobscot, Sioux, Nez Percé and other tribes drank wintergreen tea and made
poultices of crushed wintergreen leaves to ease sore muscles and back pain.

Wintergreen contains methyl salicylate, Meadowsweet contains salicylate compounds and
Willow Bark contains analgesic salicin but in highly variable amounts.
Each of these herbs can be toxic and should be used only after consulting with a

Some teas like the ones made from Valerian root were taken to relieve back spasms but
Meadowsweet may have been the most effective pain reliever since its flowers contain aspirinlike

Cold & Flu

Not surprising, teas were and continue to be standard ammunition against colds and flu. There
still is no cure for the common cold and a favorite tea remedy administered by our forebears
continues to be very popular, tea with honey.

Rose Hips are an excellent source of vitamin C and make a great tea for colds. To make steep 1 –
3 tsp. rose hips in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. In cases of fever, cold rose hips tea is a
wonderful thirst quencher.

A little cold trivia:
Although not a tea, there was a favorite remedy that was the most widespread cold cure prior and
into the 19th century. It was not grown in the garden but bought by the yard. The
remedy…"flannel" – especially red. Worn next to the skin, red flannel was said to “draw out” the
virus. Flannel once meant wool but in 1887, flannelette was born and quickly gained favor
because it was inexpensive and did not itch. Squares of flannel were warmed in the ovens and
pinned to the inside of children’s undergarments to treat colds. The fabric was also used to wrap
premature babies. Today, flannel has lost most of its mystique, but I still love it.

Coltsfoot tea was long regarded as a cure for coughs and other respiratory ailments but now it is
known to be dangerous and for this reason it is no longer recommended as an herbal treatment.

Corn Silk Tea was one of the most popular medicinals among early settlers for a host of ailments
including colds and flu. The silk was taken from young ears before it turned brown, dried, then
boiled. The boiled water was then strained and drunk. The tea’s diuretic action was also used to
treat urinary tract disorders.

To most folks, few plants are hated as much as the dandelion. Yet how many of us have fond
childhood memories of plucking a dandelion and blowing on its fluffy white top. I can remember
watching as the seeds drifted away. The use of dandelion has survived over hundreds of years. In
the 10th century, the Arabs prescribed the plant as a diuretic and the Chinese drank the tea for
colds. English settlers introduced the plant to the New World and the Hudson’s Bay Company,
founded in 1670, exported dandelion to its Canadian outposts in the 18th and 19th century.

The name dandelion comes from “dent de lion, French for “tooth of the lion,” deriving from the
leaf’s unique shape, which resembles a row of jagged teeth.

Dandelion root tea was a favorite remedy for ailments that affected the liver, spleen, kidneys,
bladder and stomach. First and foremost it was thought to cleanse a “congested” liver. A tea
made from the roots or leaves was also used to promote urination and dissolve kidney stones.
Apart from its use as a digestive and diuretic, dandelion was thought to cleanse and tone the
blood and lower blood pressure. Interestingly studies in this century reported that the leaves
showed the potential to lower blood sugar in animals.

Many of dandelion’s traditional uses have withstood scientific scrutiny. As a diuretic and mild
sedative, the tea made from the roots or leaves can help calm the nerves, reduce blood pressure,
and relieve menstrual cramps, uses that were well known to the Cherokee and Kiowa tribes.

Due to excessive pollution and pesticide sprays, if you are interested in dandelion tea, I would
suggest checking your local natural food store for the roots or leaves.

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too
heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will
cheer you; if you are exhausted, it will calm you.
~William Gladstone~

We have been discussing the ranks of botanical herbs and their healing properties in tea and
when used appropriately, they can provide a range of health improvement for most people with
minimal side effects. Here are a few of the rising stars to help you sleep.

Sleep is one of our societies maladies. A better night’s sleep may be just what the doctor ordered.
Why can we not, as Longfellow described, “drift gently down the tides of sleep?” The cure for
insomnia depends on the cause. Depression can disrupt sleep, medications can be responsible for
lost sleep and any physical or psychological stress can contribute to insomnia.

Before the advent of barbiturates in the early 20th century, people turned to herbal teas to help
them sleep. Recent studies confirm that valerian helps people fall asleep faster and sleep better
without the morning "hangover” effect of sleeping pills. However, remember if you try valerian
tea, you may find its pungent aroma distasteful. If you do, try combining it with lemon balm to
help mask the unpleasant odor. Although the strong fragranced aroma may be unpleasant, it is
not habit-forming, experts express some concern about other compounds in valerian, including
valepotriates, which have been shown to damage cells. Valerian is also available as a tincture.

I prefer to drink a cup of Chamomile or Passion flower tea. Both have a mild sedative effect. To
make the Passion flower tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. chopped dried flower tops.
Steep and strain. You can drink 1 cup 2 – 3 times a day. The recipe for the Chamomile tea is as
mentioned earlier, 1 cup boiling water over 2 – 3 tsp. minced flowers, steep, strain and enjoy!

Lemon, a Super Fruit

Lemon is said to be one of the most valuable of all fruits for preserving health, in fact, a super
fruit especially when served as a tea. For centuries healers relied on lemon for almost every
common ailment. Appalachian healers prescribed hot lemon tea for gall bladder and kidney
stones. The vitamin C content of lemons is higher than any other citrus fruit and its natural citric
acid works safely as a gastric stimulant and a mild digestive antiseptic.

Lemon Balm, is considered an attractive garden plant but its potential therapeutic capabilities
have only recently been recognized. Lemon balm’s sedative action, which has received some
scientific support, may help calm psychosomatic cardiac problems or heart palpitations brought
on by anxiety and soothe a nervous stomach.

Modern herbalists recommend drinking a tea made from fresh or dried lemon balm leaves to
calm nerves and aid sleep. At this time, the active values responsible for this herb’s sedative
effect have not yet been identified therefore it has not been officially recognized as an effective
sleep aid by many countries.

The bounty of medicinal herbal teas include many more than what I have listed. If there is a
particular herb that you are interested in and I haven’t mentioned it, please let me know. I may
have the properties or even an herbal tea recipe to share.

Harvest & Drying Your Own Herbs

You can gather both annual and perennial herbs just before the plant flowers, when the active
principles are most potent. If properly prepared and stored, some herbal preparations will retain
their healing properties for up to a year. Fresh herbs, only last a few days.

I always gather my herbs, mid-morning when the sun is shining. My cutting tool of preference,
very sharp clippers or even scissors will do. My preferred method of drying is to hang the plants
upside down in a dark, well-ventilated spot. Have fun and enjoy preserving your herbs this year.
You can combine your herbs to make a wonderful tea, Infused Oils, Poultices and Compresses,
Healing Balms, and Steam Inhalations are just a few ways to use your gathered bounty.


During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, certain herbs have specific benefits for the woman
and her baby. However, there are also herbs that can cause miscarriage, preterm labour, and
that can interfere with your milk supply or the infant's ability to digest your milk. Please use
extreme caution when using herbs during pregnancy and lactation, and when in doubt, *always*
contact a professional who is well versed in herbs.

Herbs that are generally safe and useful during pregnancy:

Red Raspberry Leaf.
This is an herb rich in numerous vitamins and minerals, especially iron. It
also nourishes the uterus, soothes nausea, helps prevent miscarriage, eases labor pains and
builds a healthy breastmilk supply.

This contains high levels of calcium, iron and protein, and is an excellent herb for
nourishing mothers who are feeling depleted.

Oatstraw. This is high in calcium and magnesium. It also calms nervous stress and tension, and
is an effective remedy for yeast infections. The combination of calcium and magnesium make
Oatstraw a good relaxant before sleeping if you suffer from leg cramps or general muscle

Alfalfa. This is one of the few plant sources of vitamin K (necessary for blood clotting). It also
contains eight digestive enzymes, numerous trace minerals and high quantities of vitamins A, D
and E.

Chamomile. This is a great calming agent and helps with digestive disorders including nausea. It
also has some anti-inflammatory properties (be careful with the use of Chamomile if you have a
history of allergic reactions to pollen).

Rose Hips.
These are a great source of vitamin C and help fight infection and exhaustion.
When nursing, you can use red raspberry leaf, nettle, alfalfa, oatstraw, caraway, milk thistle and
rose hips to make tea. When using these, alternating them will be of most benefit, since most of
them have qualities that could also cause the body to tire when used for extended periods.
Drinking a combination of three of these for a week, and then three others for a week, changing
the combinations, will help you derive the most of the herbs.

Fennel is also beneficial during nursing, however, it contains high amounts of essential oil which
can interfere when used in large quantities. When using fennel as a herb for tea, do not use for
more than a week at a time, with two weeks break in between. Advisable is to use the fennel
around the growth spurt times of the infant: at approximately 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months of
age. This can vary per infant, so check with your care provider to see when a growth spurt is

Remember that your body is the best indicator for what is right for you and what isn't. If
something doesn't feel right, don't use it. When in doubt, check with your care provider.

Take care to avoid the following herbs during pregnancy and lactation, unless instructed by your
health care provider if he/she is well educated in herbal use; some of them stimulate uterine
contractions, some of them promote menstruation, some of them contain large quantities of
essential oils that could have adverse effects when not prescribed by a healthcare provider, some
of them dry out mucous tissues such as uterine lining and reduce milk production when nursing:

·Aloe Vera
·Autumn Crocus
·Black Cohosh
·Celery Seed
·Devil's Claw
·Male Fern
·Parsley Seed


Very interesting information from both of you. If I may add a note? Angelica, Thuja,
Wormwood, and I'll add in the same category Nutmeg, are all toxic and must be used only under
the care of trained individuals. This group have all been known to cause death from overdose.
Many toxic plants are used as medicinals but care must be taken. Especially for the high risk
herbs above.

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