For as long as humans have been able to warm water, they have enjoyed herbal teas. Herbal teas are not really true teas like green, black, and oolong tea, which are all brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal teas can be made from any part of a plant, including the roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, berries, or bark, and they can sometimes contain thousands of different compounds, each with distinctive healing capabilities.
Before you grab your weed-killing tool of choice and get to work eradicating the dandelions from your garden, you may want to continue reading. Dandelion is actually an incredibly healthy edible plant with several surprising benefits. Here are our favorite and how you can enjoy this yellow weed today.
Tea is up there at the top of the list of favorite beverages, and for a good reason. It comes in so many different varieties and flavors and can be brewed light or strong to match any mood. Moreover, the presence of several antioxidant compounds in tea has now given it a super drink status.
How do you like your coffee? Maybe a little cream, a little cinnamon, honey, or perhaps a few mushrooms? Maybe I had you at cream, cinnamon, and honey…but lost you at the mushrooms. Believe it or not, fans of mushroom coffee rave about benefits like increased energy, stress reduction, better sleep, and clear thinking. But does it work?
Mushrooms and herbs are known as adaptogens that help the body recover from short and long-term physical and mental stress. Research shows that adaptogens can boost immunity, combat fatigue, improve mental acuity, and reduce anxiety and depression.
What are super mushrooms?
Super mushrooms, or “magic,” non-trippy mushrooms, have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to tackle many ailments and support the immune system. Today, mushrooms are one of the most scientifically studied superfoods. Researchers are finding out mushrooms have incredible health benefits for the brain, immune system, hormones, energy levels, mood, and cognitive function.
These powerful mushrooms are ground up and added to many things such as coffee and tea. Let’s take a closer look at the top adaptogenic mushrooms often included in coffee blends, along with their health benefits.
Reishi is known as the drug-free option for Xanax. Also known as lingzhi, reishi mushrooms are known as the “mushroom of immortality” and have powerful adaptogenic impacts on the body and mind. Reishi is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. People have been drinking reishi tea for thousands of years to boost immunity and longevity. These immune-boosting fungi contain compounds that promote cells involved in immune system function. Because they have analgesic properties, reishi mushrooms help the body relax and wind down. Research also shows that reishi mushrooms can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better by promoting high-quality, deep, slow-wave sleep. Studies also show that reishi mushrooms can reduce blood sugar in persons with diabetes and reduce excess fat storage.
Chaga mushrooms are best known for their inflammation-busting properties. Packed with antioxidants, these fungi go right to work, fighting inflammation and gobbling up free radicals. Like reishi, Chaga mushrooms help to fuel the immune system. Research shows that these mushrooms can be used to prevent aging of the heart, fight viral infections, and can even possibly be used to treat cancer.
For brainpower, including memory, creativity, clarity, and concentration, lion’s mane mushrooms are a great choice. This fungus stimulates the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a vital bioprotein in the maintenance, health, and regeneration of brain neurons. Research shows the power of these mushrooms in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Do you currently fuel up on pre-workout stimulants to help you get through your workout? Cordyceps is a natural pre-workout fuel that is not a stimulant but rather an adaptogen that supports the adrenal glass and helps your body stay energized all day long. Also, cordyceps increase cellular oxygen absorption, boost strength and stamina, improve performance during exercise, and hasten recovery from a hard workout. Like other mushrooms, cordyceps is rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties.
Make mushroom powder
The good news is that you can make nutritious mushroom powder. After dehydrating mushrooms, place them in a food processor or blender. Process into fine powder and store in a clean jar with a lid. If you want extra fine powder, use a mesh strainer to separate any larger mushroom pieces. Place the larger pieces back into the blender or food processor. Add mushroom powder to your favorite soups, smoothies, broth, sauces, gravy, yogurt, and more for a nutritional boost.
Eat mushrooms whole
Adding more whole mushrooms to your diet is an excellent way to reap all of their tremendous benefits. Just be sure always to choose organic. Toss mushrooms into salads, pasta dishes or grill them with other veggies for a delicious summer side dish.
So, whether you enjoy them in a coffee or tea blend, superfood powder, or whole, mushrooms are a spectacular superfood loaded with vitamins and minerals and adaptogenic properties you don’t want to miss.
Here’s to eating more mushrooms,
-Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener
Herbs are beautiful, edible plants that emit enticing aromas. Plus, they are highly beneficial for adding delectable flavor to outstanding cuisine and are highly prized for their therapeutic value. For thousands and thousands of years, herbs have been central in wellness elixirs, tinctures, salves, oils, teas, and more.
Growing and crafting fine teas is an involved and time-honored tradition that can take many years to master. That said, if you love gardening — and drinking tea — growing and processing your own organic, herbicide- and pesticide-free specialty teas will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. In case you think you’re limited to tea leaves, think again. The ultimate tea garden can even include teas made from roots, seeds, and fruit. In fact, there are so many options, you could create an entire garden devoted to the art of tea drinking. Here’s what you’ll need to know!
During these uncertain times, fear and anxiety for the future are commonplace. If you’re struggling to relax and find that you can’t unwind, it may be time to plant a lovely, aromatic patch of chamomile in your herb garden to help ease your worries. Here’s why we love this useful herb and how you can grow some today.
Roman vs. German chamomile
There are two types of chamomile, so it is important to understand exactly what you are planting. German chamomile produces long, flimsy stems and tons of delicate white flowers that look very similar to daisies. This is the variety that is most frequently used for tea and tinctures since it produces an abundance of blooms. Roman chamomile is usually used as a fast-spreading groundcover to fill in holes in your garden and provide a nice, fragrant element.
Both varieties are technically annuals but will reseed and spread with vigor, allowing them to come back every year, so keep that in mind before you choose a planting spot. German chamomile will add a beautiful pop of white to any kitchen herb garden, and it is a great plant to have on hand. For the rest of this article, we will be referring to the German Chamomile variety as it is the best herb for various kitchen and beauty uses.
Why you should grow it
Chamomile isn’t just a fragrant, attractive addition to your herb garden. It can be used for a wide variety of tinctures and tonics that can help ease insomnia, reduce anxiety, and help even help reduce inflammation and menstrual pain.
During these stressful times, chamomile may be just the herb you need to help relieve some of that pent of fear and anxiety. Plus, if you are experiencing digestive issues due to excess stress or an altered diet, chamomile could help alleviate stomach discomfort, gas, and bloating.
If you have a little extra time on your hands due to lockdown or decreased work hours, why not consider making some DIY healthy and beauty products with this soothing herb. Chamomile is often included in many personal care products due to its anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing properties. Combine it with oatmeal for ultimate nourishment and exfoliation.
How to grow
Start seeds indoors under a grow light about six to eight weeks before your last expected frost date. This will give the seedlings time to grow and will help give them a good start for transplanting into your garden. Lightly tamp down the seeds into your growing medium and mist with water to avoid disturbing the seeds.
Once all danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings to the garden, leaving a space of about eight to twelve inches between plants. Water thoroughly when planting, making sure that your soil is well-draining and has been amended with organic compost. Like many other herbs, chamomile thrives when left to its own devices. Water frequently until the seedlings put down roots and then only occasionally to let the roots dry out slightly between waterings. In just a few weeks, you should see your first blooms developing on the spindly, green stems.
Since chamomile is so hardy, it doesn’t require any fertilizer and will grow strong and tall with very minimal care. Plus, it doesn’t attract many pests or diseases, which makes it a wonderful “leave it and forget it” herb.
Once the flower petals begin to curl downward, cut off the flowers and lay them on a mesh surface to dry. Chamomile leaves tend to be bitter and unappealing, so once your cut off the flowers, trim the stalks to about six inches above the ground. Leave the spent stalks on the ground as they will decompose quickly and add essential nutrients back into the soil.
Though you can use fresh flowers for tea, drying this useful herb will let it last longer, and you won’t need as many flowers since the flavor will be more concentrated. Keep the flowers spread out for about a week in a cool, dry place and store in a glass jar or airtight bag for use in the kitchen.
One of the best ways to reap all of the amazing benefits of chamomile is to brew a nice, aromatic cup of relaxing tea. Measure out about two tablespoons of dried flowers for every eight-ounce cup of tea you wish to make. Boil water and pour it over the flowers, letting it steep for about five minutes. Then strain through a fine, tea sieve. Feel free to add any of your favorite herbs, such as mint, to mix up the flavor a little bit. You can also use local raw, honey, for sweetener, lemon for a bit of zing, or a little creamer for a wonderful nighttime drink.
You’ve finally developed the perfect outdoor living space. You have comfy chairs, cooling fans, and lighting strung in the trees to set the mood. What better way to welcome summer than by throwing a vibrant garden party with your closest friends on your newly revamped porch or patio? Of course, you need fabulous potted plants and vines to complete the look, but no party is complete without these healthy and refreshing summer teas. Check out our favorites below!
Passionflowers are the strikingly attractive blooms of plants belonging to the Passiflora genus. The flower got its name because early Christian missionaries to South America drew some parallels between its floral structures and the passion of Christ.