fresh herbs

8th January 2010



Lemon Thyme



Ginger……..the list of fresh herbs that can be brewed in a pot is endless.   And the combinations of these.

Since I have arrived here in Israel, I am in the constant search for something to maintain that feeling of warmth.  A fire.  A feather doona.  Woolly socks, scarves and cardigans.  And, of course, comfort foods and hot drinks.  I love my freshly brewed coffee, however, without access to my daily kick first thing in the morning, I have turned to tea.

The aisles devoted to teas in the supermarkets here are impressive.  My favourite brand in Israel would have to be the Wissotzky range.  Their rooibos with cinnamon and vanilla is my pick, and boxes of these will take up precious space in my suitcase for the trip home.  Ceremonie also does a beautiful range of individually boxed silk tea bags.  My pick there would have to be the rooibos with caramel.  They also have managed to find space in my suitcase.

However, this post is about teas made from fresh herbs, which are in abundance here, and are correctly termed as tisanes.  A pot is a welcoming start to the day or a refreshing end to our dinner. The pot of choice is whatever happens to be picked from the herbs outside the door or whether you feel like venturing out to the main vegetable garden.  I can fully understand why tea drinking and brewing is such a ritual in Asian cultures.  Sight.  Smell.  Taste.  The senses that are drawn into the whole tea experience.  A glass teapot brewing with fresh herbs touches upon the visual aspect. That scent of the fresh herbs as boiling water hits fresh, green plant, and that strong scent inhaled just before glass touches lips.  Yes, glass.  It is very common here and in Middle Eastern countries for tea to be enjoyed out of small glasses.  Makes for a more special experience.

This post will list some of the herb blends currently in favour.  There is no precision measuring of herbs, whatever works.  Just pick whole sprigs, toss in a pot (preferably a glass one), and add boiling water and a few teaspoons of honey/agave syrup if prefer a sweetener.  Let sit for about 5 minutes and indulge.

Herb Teas of Choice & Benefits

Sage + lemon thyme + peppermint

Lemon verbena + peppermint/mint + ginger

Sage + ginger

Lemon thyme + peppermint/mint + small piece of peeled ginger

Thyme + sage

Peppermint + ginger

Lemongrass + ginger

Some of the Health Benefits

Sage Tea – soothing and quieting to the nerves; a sore throat, cold sores, fevers and congestion antidote; regulate hormones and bring on late or suppressed menses and help lessen excessively heavy menstrual flow.

Thyme Tea sweetened with honey – excellent soothing cough mixture, helpful in fevers, relieve headaches, acts as a mood elevator, expels gas, and increases perspiration.

Peppermint Tea – a strong cup will act more powerfully than any liquor stimulant, bringing natural warmth and glow; allays nausea.

Mint Tea (of any kind) – soothing for digestive tract; effective against stomach gas or spasms, vomiting, intestinal parasites, excessive acidity and colic.

Ginger Tea (pieces of fresh ginger) – promotes cleansing of the system through perspiration; useful for bloating, menstrual cramps; onset of a cold or flu to ease effects; ease morning sickness or alleviate colds.

Lemon Verbena Tea – remedy for exhaustion and depression; useful as a diuretic, sedative, antispasmodic, astringent, or aphrodisiac tonic.

Health benefits from ‘Whole Foods Companion – A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers & Lovers of Natural Foods’ – Dianne Onstad

Goodness shared by Donna

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