Herbal tea doesn't have to be as tricky as it looks and there's only a small range of particular dried herbs I like to keep in the cupboard at hand ready for when an ailment strikes.
If the idea of loose tea scares you - there's no need! The easiest way (and most eco-friendly) is to get an infuser ball that acts as a tea strainer a bit like a tea bag does, you just pop however much loose herb you want in one side of the metal strainer, close it up and place it in a mug and pour over freshly boiled water. Of course you can brew your herbs the traditional way in a big teapot or a cafetiere and strain into a cup using a strainer, but the infuser balls mean you can just make up one portion at a time too! Or you can just buy ready made herbal tea! But bear in mind a professional medical herbalist would have a higher quality of ingredients and as a medicinal dose would likely prescribe more per gram than would come in a standard teabag from your supermarket. As always do check with a qualified herbalist if you are taking any medicine and are unsure (facebook message me directly by clicking the link at the bottom of the page if you like!)
- Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
- Meadowsweet contains salicylic acid, making it pain-killing and anti-inflammatory. It is the same active ingredient found in aspirin as this is what aspirin is derived from only it is a concentrated constituent, whereas Meadowsweet taken as a full herb also contains mucilage which well help coat and protect your stomach lining.
For anxiety and trouble sleeping
- Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) & Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
- These are gentle way to help you unwind at night and destress especially for cases of restlessness and tenseness, lemon balm is more specifically indicated for mild depression also. Passionflower is contraindicated in preganancy and lactation.
For an upset stomach
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita) or Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Peppermint is uniquely cooling and warming as it contains menthol and it is also antispasmodic relieving muscle tension and is indicated for all sorts of digestive issues most often bloating, indigestion and nausea. Ginger is a typical anti-nausea remedy as it is antiemetic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic it is often indicated for morning sickness or travel sickness because of these actions.
For colds, fevers and respiratory infections
- Elderflower/berry (Sambucus nigra) & Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Both of these herbs are traditional long-used English cold and flu remedies as they are good for inducing sweating, yarrow is also quite astringent making it drying and perfect for reducing a streaming nose. Elder is antiviral and anti-catarrhal particularly to the upper respiratory tract and quite cooling also.
For pain and inflammation (e.g. joint pain, period cramps)
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) - best taken as a 'golden milk'
- Turmeric could fix any of the above problems to be fair!! A wonderful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it is spicy and warming so encourages circulation making it fab for any joint issue or congestion which is often a cause of period pain, or any digestive weakness as it is hepatoprotective also, so could contribute to clearing skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema too.
Of course there are so many more options and especially with herbal medicine, it's about finding what best suits you! These are just some that I like to keep at hand for when the common ailment hits!
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.