We had some really cold days this winter and on one such day, decided to open the spice cabinet to make a warming and healing mindfulness tea. Thich Nhat Hahn has a wonderful book entitled Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children that we often gain inspiration from. The children love what Thay calls inviting the bell, and this practice helps them to center and ground themselves. To begin this class we did just that and got down to business learning about the various herbs and spices we wanted to use in our tea.
We used a mortar and pestle to grind a some of the herbs to release the healing oils. Many herbs have a multitude of uses and medicinal properties, but we focused in on just one main use for each ingredient we added, so as not to overwhelm ourselves.
Together we decided that we liked the idea of drinking a tea with all of these benefits in the gloomy dark days of winter to lift our moods and heal our bodies. We got to take a trip around the world too, learning about how and where these plants grow.
This tea features lavender, thyme, cardamom, nutmeg, peppercorns, turmeric, cloves, and fennel. It will make you calm, happy, fart-free and pain free!
Peppercorns – anti-flatulent (no farting!) Black pepper comes from the fruit of a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae. It is native to south India.
Cardamom – anti-oxidant (inhibits the oxygenation of other molecules in the blood that when oxidized can release harmful toxins) Cardamom is also part of the ginger family. We utilize the seed pods of this plant. The two genera we get the seed pods from are native to India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Turmeric – helps relieve fevers and headache Turmeric is a rhizome (or root) and part of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southeast India. Turmeric has a very wide array of medicinal properties.
Thyme – soothing to the throat. Thyme is from the genus Thymus and is native to temperate regions in Europe, North Africa and Asia. Of course, we have thyme in the garden, and collected some for our lesson.
Cloves – mild anesthetic/ numbs an area. Cloves come from the flower bud of a specific species of Myrtle tree that are native to Indonesia.
Fennel – tummy calmer. Fennel is part of the same family as carrots, Umbelliferae. The roots, fronds and seeds are all edible with a strong anise or licorice like flavor. We used dried seeds we had saved from the garden. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean.
Nutmeg – anti-depressant (uplifting!) Also known as pala in Indonesia, nutmeg comes from the seed of several species of trees in the genus Myristica. The trees are indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia.
Lavender – calming, treats anxiety. Naturally we have lavender in the gardens as well and had saved some dried flowers. The most commonly cultivated variety of lavender is native to the western Mediterranean, primarily the Pyrenees and other mountains in northern Spain.