Harnessing Herbalism in the Heat

Jul 09, 2024
Herbal Sweet Tea

I made a tea blend for a recent gathering of ladies in honor of the New Moon. We drank this tea over ice as we quietly considered its flavor profile and discussed the benefits this simple brew had to offer. I also asked for help in naming this particular concoction and we collaborated on the name ‘Spunky Brewster’ as its overtly sweet and refreshing zest help us all uncover the spunk that may currently be suppressed under the weight of difficult experiences, relationships and even just societal or cultural micro-oppressions that zap our energy. 

The spunkier we can all be–the more unfiltered and real we can be together–the more supported we will all feel. The energy released by unloading what doesn’t serve seeps out of us to improve the world around us. 

 

I’m going to share the recipe with you today! If this is something you don’t want to blend at home, would rather simply buy–I’ll share a way to get some bags to brew a pot to keep in the fridge and drink over ice through these hot months. (Warning–this tea is almost as sweet in flavor as ‘Iced Tea’ in the south–which is more like a syrup than the iced tea of my northern childhood–however NO SUGAR or sweetener is involved, which makes this tea a wonderful option for those who have a sweet tooth, or who have blood sugar instabilities). 

This blend helps its drinker embrace healing by releasing things they have struggled to let go of. Its harmony is in part because it is made from roots, bark and leaves which creates some synchronous delight we can tap into when we need more of that!

Lemongrass: Uplifting & brightening. 

There is a tradition of making a broom with the long fronds of lemongrass to sweep away negative energy & stagnance. Drinking it in tea, using the essential oil internally & topically all have a similar benefit--it is a potent remedy and support of our thyroid, which is often bogged down by both the seen & unseen. 

Also known as a great digestive aid, lemongrass soothes inflammation & can cleanse  parasites–physical and spiritual–things that cling to us and suck our energy without our permission--they thrive most when we don’t know they’re there.

This tool has been used traditionally for a millennia. Cooling and soothing, can be used during hot  months, and even fevers, to help cool the body. (and mind) Interesting, because it can be hot as an essential oil–if you apply topically without dilution it causes a burning sensation. It quickly dissipates, but I love that reality where fiery & coolness meet. 

Sometimes it can be hard to know the difference--the feeling of holding ice can be similar to that of holding fire, and sometimes stepping into the fire is the best way to find some sense of cool relief. 

Nature offers us the best analogies, and controlled burns of understories has been a tool nature uses to demonstrate enhancing the fertility while also activating new growth by clearing out so new might push through. The weight of the mulch on a forest floor often creates a barrier that no new growth can emerge from–perhaps the offense of the established trees to suppress competition. However, the seed bed is plentiful and just waiting for an opportunity. In burning this layer of decaying material, we open up a potential for the growth of seeds buried generations ago–in which we cannot conceive of what may be just waiting to flourish. The impact of what seems negative is actually the potent power of renewal. Lemongrass can give us the opportunity to do some of that fiery work in our own lives.

Emotionally lemongrass can help us feel cleansed instead of obstructed. [EL Book]

Licorice root is a cooling, sweetening & calming herb. It eases gassiness & bloating, balances estrogens & is wonderful for premenstrual and menopausal symptoms. There have even been extensive studies with its anti-viral benefits for issues like HIV [Book}–meanwhile it also offers tremendous support to the adrenals. Licorice packs a punch of sweet that can help satiate cravings while also helping manage estrogen levels–often the flux of which causes cravings. Leave your preconceptions of how black licorice tastes (not a personal favorite), it gives more of a fennel flavor as a tea.  

In the context of this combination it brings in the harmonious coolness to the heat of Cinnamon. In the parts of the world where the seasons flux between winter and summer, there is an ecosystem that relies on both for survival. As humans, we very rarely stay in a state of equilibrium at all times. The human experience is one of passion at times, and apathy at others. While we can always improve our ability to stay centered amidst the chaos, it’s unrealistic to be perfectly aligned at all times. We must be willing to feel both the heat of excitement and the cool of the mundane–perhaps where we find more rest, stability and reassurance like plants in the winter. 

Our society demands more and more passion, heat, anger, divisiveness, loudness and heat than ever before. In recognizing this imbalance, we have space to embrace the cool–we have an opportunity to invite in the restlessness of more wintry attitudes. In these hottest days of the year, it can be crucial to find coolness. We look forward to the winter knowing we will eventually find some relief. Do we have that same promise in society? When will it cool off? It would seem we’re always running hot these days. Perhaps we can find ways to invite cool in for our benefit & for all. In all the noise, the loudest thing we can do is be quiet–to make space for icy relief. 

It may not be realistic that Licorice will save the world from going up in smoke, but there are lessons within these plants that may give us the insight we need to find both hope & solutions. Licorice, after all, is known to help us step out of feeling strained into a place of feeling supported–precisely what our world may need most.

 Cinnamon Bark: One of the most coveted and valued herbs for hundreds of years, Cinnamon is a fiery spice–known for its stimulating effects and often turned to as an aphrodisiac. This spice is so popular for its potent abilities to preserve foods by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, something our pre-refrigeration ancestors needed to help prolong the life of their goods. Often used as a seasoning of sweets & candies, cinnamon is also a powerful medicinal and has also been used for thousands of years to help manage blood sugar/insulin. As a stimulant and potent antioxidant, cinnamon helps boost the metabolism, warm the body temperature and boost the immune system. So valued and popular even today Cassia is commonly sold as an alternative–though labeled cinnamon. Slightly less expensive to produce and with a similar profile, it is a wholly different plant and once noted, the flavors are notably different. As a spice and and essential oil it’s worth noticing when sellers are trying to dupe you. Often price reflects whether you’re getting true Cinnamon or a cassia look-alike. 

In the emotional realm, herbs & spices have a powerful impact. A quick way to stimulate the amygdala and trigger the release of hormones like dopamine and serotonin, it’s an easy way to help control what might otherwise seem out of our control! In this way, Cinnamon helps us move from feelings of being denied to openness & receptivity. [EL book]. 

Overall, this tea blend was created with the idea that both heat & coolness are simultaneously needed for our survival and when harnessed effectively they can lead to fertility and abundance. Having the ability to embrace both in one herbal experience gives us the opportunity to realize that within us all these opposite forces can coexist harmoniously. Our goal shouldn’t be to suppress one or the other, but to recognize how each one serves–notice when one is dominating and use that experience or state to do the work it takes to harness its potential.

Please share with me if you decide to make it! 

Want to buy? Just send $15 to @lacey-grim via venmo  (leave a note about the tea!) & I'll ship you enough to make 2 pots like the one pictured! (it brews strong and can be diluted to taste preference)

 
Sources: 
The Essential Life. Utah: Total Wellness Publishing, 2022. 8th Edition. Print.
Murray, Michael T. N. D. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing,1995. 2nd Edition. Print.

 

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Harnessing Herbalism in the Heat

Jul 09, 2024