Make Tea Not War

I love autumn but I hate all the warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold confusion. It just wreaks havoc on our immune systems in this house. We have one kid with a cough, one kid with the sniffles, one who is exhausted and one who is, well he is a teenager. Finally today I declared war on seasonal change! And by war I mean I made tea. Here is what I made.
All quantities are eyeball estimates of volume and not weight. The highly complex reason for this is that I am a busy woman and eyeballing is just fine for this. Don’t judge my imprecision! How much measuring do you do when you make tea?

2 oz broken up cinnamon sticks
6 oz hibiscus flowers
4 oz elderberry flowers
4 oz rosehip

Dump it all into a quart size mason jar and shake till well mixed. It will be about half empty. You can add more herbs to fill it if you want, I just like having space to easily blend.
Scoop about an ounce into a quart size mason jar, add boiling water to fill.
Allow to steep until some child comes in complaining or coughing or asking for a tissue.
This may be 8 minutes or 8 hours, both are fine. One is stronger than the other but both have major benefit.
Strain out the infusion. Add water if it is too strong. And raw local honey if you must get it sweetened in order to attain .. compliance, as they call it. It should be yummy so they chug it and ask for more, but too much sugar (yes even honey counts) is not good for the immune system. You know your audience, make your decision for them.
I also sometimes add a cup of the strong (~ 8 hour) infusion to a pitcher of water and put it on the table for dinner, it is always gone by the end of the meal.
Enjoy! Be well!

Easy Immune Support You Can Afford

Easy Immune Support You Can Afford

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With these weather changes everyone is talking about immune support for their kids. To flu shot or not to flu shot, elderberry $$$$yrup, probiotic$, no these are not typos. Have you ever tried to give a family of six a meaningful dose of elderberry syrup long enough for it to be preventative? Or good quality probiotics for everyone daily? Well, if you have, then you know how outrageous it can be. Eat lots of fresh and fermented veggies, and fruits and whole grains or no grains and lots of meat or no dead flesh you murderer! Well here is one immune support recipe that will not break the bank and will make you feel nourished, well and wholesome.

1 large mason jar (I use 1/2 gallon)

About 2 heaping cups organic stinging nettles (yes they really sting a little, try not to touch them, but don’t worry the tea doesn’t sting, weird huh?)

About 2 heaping cups organic oatstraw

Good clean fresh water

Fresh lemon (to taste)

Raw honey (to taste)

Do it in the morning before work (make tea, you perv) or while the kids are at school and when they come home they will know you have been thinking about them all day. It’s simple, but you have to buy some organic nettles (I buy it  online loose in bulk by the pound) and organic oatstraw.

Fill a large mason jar about 3/4 full of a 50/50 mixture of the herbs. The amount of herbs you use depends on the mason jar you are using, just mix them up and then fill the jar about 1/2 – 3/4 of the way. Pour boiling water in to fill the jar and cover to steep out on the counter for a bunch of hours, till you come home or whatever. If I am leaving a hot mason jar out I like to leave a pot holder or some kind of indicator on the jar so no one goes to pick it up and get burned. Handy little tip, or neurotic obsessive behavior? You decide.

Strain the tea, add some raw honey and lemon. You may need to dilute it with more water if it’s too strong. Keep it in the fridge. It’s good for days as long as you strain it all when it is done steeping.

My 9 year old son who is used to taking herbs said, “It tastes strange. But good. It’s strangely good. It feels good to drink it.”

“It’s Quenching” I said.

“Yeah, it’s quenching.” He’s so cute.

Why does this work? There are a few ways to help the immune system. Supporting the gut is one very effective way. One way to support the gut is to help reduce the inflammation in the gut so your whole body isn’t too busy cleaning up inflammatory shmutz all day and can absorb nutrients for the immune system to use to do its job. Another way is to provide adequate and easily absorbable minerals and nutrients for the gut to absorb so that the immune system can have the tools it needs to do its job. Nettles has been shown to help intervene in pathways of inflammation. They also have lots of minerals in them. Oat straw also has lots of minerals (think electrolytes) in it, and supports the gut, is known to reduce indigestion problems and soothe the nervous system. Crazy nervous system means exhausted immune system. I don’t have to explain that one right? It’s intuitively true? If not I will explain it, but not tonight, I have dishes waiting. Anyway, oat straw probably helps soothe the nervous system in part because it is such a good source of calcium and magnesium. Also for reasons yet to be shown in studies and probably because that just is its identity. It is soothing, comfy and cozy like oats are.

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Anyway, the point is, when the kids come home and see a pitcher of tea with honey and fresh lemon waiting for them, they feel special. They feel cared for. The laundry can be dirty, dinner can be leftovers, they already feel tended to. And that is what I am all about. Making my kids feel loved, with minimal effort. Plus we snuck in some herbal immune support and nutrients. Job well done.

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