To make a herbal infusion:
Find a one person teapot or cafetiere and a pretty teacup or bone china mug.
Take 1-2 teaspoons dried herb per cup of boiling water. Fresh herbs – pick a sprig or two!
Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Strain and drink.
Three cups are usually drunk daily for medicinal effect.
www.ladycomfrey.co.uk - Julie Wood Herbalist, Plant Medicine for Health, Balance and Well-being
Most herbal infusions are drunk warm/hot whilst one or two maybe best cold (for example, sage tea for hot flushes). You can make up enough of the herb tea for the day and keep it in the fridge to prevent it deteriorating.
It is important to take time and focus on the infusion whilst you make it, smell the herbs as you pour it out, note the colour. Then be aware of the taste as you drink. Some are bitter and you may not wish to linger over them! Some are fragrant and floral, some tighten on the tongue and others leave the mouth feeling soft and velvety. These are all important sensations and should help you to understand the actions the herbs will have upon the body.
Herbal infusions work on many levels. Even the ‘tea-making ceremony’ and allowing yourself some time to ‘be with’ the infusion will bring about a sense of well-being.
The Herbs – Anxi-tea Blend
An enjoyable herb blend that helps us to relax, take a deep breath and cope better with our day. You will find that you don’t sink into that edgy anxious state so readily if you drink this tea daily.
Great for any times where you feel pressurised, stressed, worried, edgy, irritable. University students have found it so helpful, dealing with the all the new challenges they face. Women going through their menopause find it calms and relaxes, and this in turn may reduce the severity of the symptoms too.
Especially helpful for those who are deeply affected by the Covid virus, the many fears we are experiencing and the huge impacts it is having on our society, not least of which is not being able to hug!
Cautions: do not take with anti-convulsants, barbituates, benzodiazepines.
If taking this tea medicinally, ie. three times daily, avoid with hypothyroidism, high blood pressure; 1 cup daily should be tolerated.
Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae
A herbaceous perennial herb, easily grown, can be harvested twice in the year, before flowering. Wonderful lemony scent.
Constituents: volatile oil, tannins and other polyphenolics, some lavonoids
Actions: carminative, nervine, antispasmodic, antidepressant, antiviral/antimicrobial, diaphoretic, hepatic
Uses: relieves spasm in digestive tract and useful for flatulent dyspepsia, especially indicated when anxiety/depression is linked to digestive complaints(IBS), gently sedative oils relieve tension and stress, healing for nervous system, any condition linked to anxiety, potentially lowers blood pressure, hot water extract for cold sores (anti viral), also seen to be useful for early stage dementia
Note: Contra-indicated at high doses with hypothyroidism.
Scutellaria laterifolia, Lamiaceae
A herbaceous perennial, a native wild flower of wet meadows. The blue and white flowers have caps which give the plant its name.
Constituents: large amounts of flavonoids, including scutellarin and baicalin
Actions: Nervous system relaxant & tonic, antispasmodic, anticonvulsant,
hypotensive, mild bitter.
Uses: Nerve- calming herb for anxiety, stress, irritability associated with
stress. It soothes the nerves by stimulating gamma-aminobutyric acid
(GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps calm nerves. Potentially helpful
Contraindications: can increase the effect of drugs that have a sedating effect, including: Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakote) Barbiturates. Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium)
Glycyrrhiza glabra, Fabaceae
Non native perennial from Mediterranean and south-west Asia, grows well in the UK.
The dried roots are used to sweeten drinks and foods, and given to children to chew on! Beware, too much can increase water retention; should not be given to people with high blood pressure.
Constituents: Glycyrrhizin and phytosterols, flavonoids, sterols,
Actions: adrenal cortex tonic so helps with long term stress and anxiety, anti-inflammatory, demulcent (soothes skin and gastric lining), expectorant, laxative
Uses: anxious and stressed states, fatigue, gastritis, stomach ulcers, mouth
ulcers, use in cough syrups, chest conditions, skin rashes/irritations; simply to sweeten medicine in small doses, a pinch in a cup of tea
Contra-indications: if taken in high doses, or long term, can increase water retention, raise blood pressure.
Rosa canina - native, Rosa spp.; Rosaceae
Rose buds, flowers, leaves and hips (fruits) are all harvested. These are usually dried but fresh flowers can be made into a most luxurious tea – try a perfumed rose in a mug with a sprig of lemon balm for real indulgence. (check for bugs first!) Rose is
Constituents: Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, c and K, flavonoids, tannins, volatile oil
Actions: astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, cooling
Uses: Used energetically for stress, anxiety, grief and loss, for ‘a big hug’.
Diarrhoea, gastritis. Rose petals traditionally used in jam and jelly making and crystallised in sweets, but add to a tea blend for gentle healing for the digestive system, cooling, and a touch of beauty!