tea

"Today's Tea" Blends

"Today's Tea" Blends

Tea is probably the most ancient of herbal preparation known to humankind. For all of my years of practice making herbal preparations, I still find the medicine in a cup of tea to be strong and effective in many ways. Just the simple act of making tea can create much needed restorative moments of presence within the fabric of our busy lives.

Tea blending is an art, practice, and skill that anyone can learn. I don't follow any steadfast rules, but instead, use my intuition and foundational knowledge of plant properties, taste, and the overall effect I'm hoping the tea will convey. This means that I basically just go into my pantry where my dried herbs are stored and grab whichever jars I'm in the mood for. Some days there is some central issue I want to address with my tea such as an upset stomach, joint pain, winter blues, or a cold/runny nose/cough. The number of herbs required is also dependent on the day and can range from simply one herb or several. 

Sacred Tea Ceremony

Sacred Tea Ceremony

Many of us think of the Japanese tradition when we hear “Tea Ceremony” and they definitely have one of the worlds most beautiful and sacred ways of making tea a healing practice. Tea ceremonies have been done in different ways in many other cultures also. The English are famous for their afternoon teatime and a tea culture exists in many other countries where tea making is sometimes ritualized and sometimes just a part of daily life as is our American coffee culture. Many ‘hip’ communities in the United States now have “tea rooms” where people can gather and drink tea together while relaxing and visiting. There is even an “American Tea Ceremony” now that has been adapted from the Japanese version.

Getting To Know White Pine

Getting To Know White Pine

White Pine or Pinus strobus is the tallest tree native to the Adirondack forest;growing up to 150-200'+ with up to an 8' diameter, and was considered sacred by the First Nations of the Haudenosaunee(Iroquois). The White Pine was widely overharvested and more or less clear cut by European colonists  but,  thankfully, there are still several small old growth forests left in the mountains. These are also easy trees to grow and cultivated in any backyard in the Northeast, although they do best in acidic soil and, in fact, the needles are highly acidic when they fall(3.5)  helping to create the necessary conditions for its survival.This will limit the growth of any plants below it with the exception of acid loving plants such as blueberries. I have 3 White Pines in my yard that I never have to mow under because the surface below them is nothing but a sweet bed of Pine needles.

The Art of Herbal Tea Making

The Art of Herbal Tea Making

My first experiments with herbal medicine involved the process of making tea. This is one of the oldest and least complex methods of imbibing the medicinal compounds of plants with water as the solvent. In all plant based medicine making there must be some means of breaking into the plant cell wall in order to extract and derive the valuable nutrients and healing constituents therein. These compounds must not only be extracted, but also held in some form of menstruum, such as water.