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Monday, November 23, 2009

Winter Sunshine...

Sunshine Tea-- In sickness and in health. I formulated this tea for my grandchildren as a substitute for soda drinks and that stuff with red dye! They love it. I always think I’ve made plenty and I always run out. These ingredient descriptions will give you an idea why my Sunshine Tea is a favorite with aduls and children.

Catnip Nepeta cataria

Catnip is a bushy herb native to Europe but now very common in America and Canada. It's name reflects the inability of cats to resist its aroma. Our kitty, Professor April McGonnagal, loves it when it's time to harvest the catnip! I grow plenty--enough for me and the neighborhood cats. For the feline population catnip elicits feelings ranging from frisky to euphoria and may include sexual stimulation. In many parts of the world it is used as bait to trap wild cats. It has the opposite effect on humans giving us that wonderful alert calmness. The essential oil sesquiterpee lactones is chemically similar to those found in valarian root which is also a sedative herb. Traditionally catnip has been used for insomnia, indigestion, nervousness, flatulence, coughs, colds and fever. High in potassium, it helps to replace valuable minerals lost in sweating during exercise or fever. Catnip/mint tastes mild and is safe for children.

German Chamomile Matricaria recutia

Chamomile was one of the best known herbs during the Middle Ages its use common and widespread. Native to Eurasia, Egyptians revered its curative powers and dedicated it to their gods. Today it is widely cultivated and with its little sunshine-like flowers that have a mild apple taste it is the most popular tea flavor in the world. Aside from its use as a medicinal herb, it is also used as flavoring in a variety of foods and alcoholic beverages such as vermouth, in hair products and used as a hair colorant. Chamomile is studied extensively and most of its folk uses have been chemically verified. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, anti-thrombotic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal especially against gram positive (staph) and candida. It is an excellent nervine and carminative (good for those nasty tummy upsets). Chamomile has a wide nutritional profile: is very high in niacin, high in magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin and also contains vitamins A and C. I love to stroll through my chamomile bed just to smell it. Chamomile is safe for children. Caution if you suffer seasonal allergies.

Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis

Definitely one of my favorites, I grow massive amounts of Lemon Balm. Its lemony fragrance and taste lends itself to many applications in culinary circles. Lemon Balms carminative and anti-spasmodic qualities relieves digestive spasms and flatulence. It's wonderful for the nervous system relieving stress reactions and tension and is one of my best herbs for anxiety induced migraines, insomnia and palpitations. It works almost magically between the digestive tract and the nervous system calming both in tandem. Its diaphoretic action makes it an excellent choice during cold and flu fevers. Lemon Balm causes mild vasodialation so is good for helping lower blood pressure.

Sunshine Tea or the individual herbs can be prepared hot or cold. ICED: Pour one quart of boiling water over 3 Tablespoons herb(s), steep covered for 10-15minutes. Add lemon and/or honey to taste. I cut up a whole lemon in the pitcher…yummm. HOT: Especially good this time of year and wonderful just before bedtime. 1 tsp per cup hot water, steep 3-4 minutes covered. Add lemon and/or honey to taste. If you must use sugar, please don’t use the white processed kind.

My herbs are grown with no herbicides, pesticides or chemicals of any kind.
Sunshine Tea is available at www.GBHfarm.com
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