I was recently lucky enough to be sent a fantastic book called “Practical Herbs 1” written by the Finnish herbalist Henriette Kress. This book, as well as “Practical Herbs 2”, has just been published by AEON Books, priced at £19.99 each.
The books are packed with information about identifying herbs when foraging, how to pick them, how to dry and store them, and all the different ways you can use them and what benefits they give to your health and wellbeing. I have to say I was completely engrossed! I actively look for natural remedies for ailments that sometimes come my (or my family’s) way, so was very impressed to see that there were plenty of remedies included that were for problems we have experienced.
As today is National Tea Day I was asked to specifically try one of the tea recipes included and share my thoughts on it. I decided to try 3 different ones as they sounded like they would help to sort me out with a few little niggly issues.
Anyone who knows me will know that I am a bit obsessed with roses, their beautiful appearance, their wonderful fragrance, and their sweet heavenly taste. I was over the moon to see roses featured in Practical Herbs 1. There are lots of new ideas of ways to use roses that I had never heard of, but will definitely be making! Rose petal elixir to calm nerves, rose honey paste to soothe sore throats and lift your spirits, rose beads for when you need to feel special and calm… the list goes on. There are a few different tea recipes for roses but I decided to try the Rose Petal Tea, as I have a permanent supply of dried rose petals in my cupboard. You can use dried or fresh petals for this recipe.
Obviously you can’t just use any roses, as most shop-bought ones have been sprayed with various nasties to get rid of pests and to help them bloom. If you grow your own in the garden and haven’t used any chemicals on them, they should be fine to use. The book does state though that many hybrid roses we grow in our gardens have no scent, and these are not suitable. You need roses with a beautiful strong fragrance. Alternatively you could buy dried edible rose petals, but again they must be fragrant.
ROSE PETAL TEA
1 tsp dried rose petals, or 2 tsps crushed fresh petals
250 ml boiling water
- Pour the boiling water over the rose petals, steep for 10 minutes and then strain.
- Drink 1-3 cups a day.
Rose petal tea is a relaxing tea that lifts your mood. It also helps to ease menstrual cramps and mild stomach cramps. if you let it go cold, you can also use it as a face wash!
This tea really did lift my spirits. The wonderful aroma and the sweet rose taste are enough to clear any clouds away. I loved this tea and have been drinking a cup every day.
I always knew raspberry leaf tea was great for women near the end of pregnancy as it helps to strengthen pelvic organs and is packed with minerals. I didn’t know though that it is a fantastic tea for women in general. The book says that it can help to sort out many menstrual problems, such as pain, frequency, and amounts. I was most interested in it though for another purpose. For reasons unknown to anyone, in all the years I have been having cervical smear tests I have only ever had 1 result come back with no issues. This means I have to have tests every year, and it tends to be at least 2 a year. No one enjoys having them but they are vital to detect any early signs of problems, so we all go through them. As I am typing this, I have a letter to my side inviting me for another smear test as my last one a few weeks ago was inadequate. Henriette Kress says in this book that Red Raspberry Leaf tea is great for women with cervical issues. She states that if a smear test result comes back with problems, drinking this tea for a few weeks can often mean the next result comes back clear! (Obviously this isn’t saying it is a cure for cancer, so please don’t read it as such. There are a whole host of issues that can cause problematic smear results). Needless to say I am drinking this tea twice a day until my next test so fingers crossed!
You can make a tea out of the berries, but that helps to ease a fever. I used the raspberry leaf recipe which is why the tea doesn’t look red.
RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
1 tsp dried red raspberry leaves, or 2 tsps fresh leaves
250 ml boiling water
- Pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain through a coffee filter.
- Drink 2-3 cups a day for several weeks for full benefit.
Henriette explains that the undersides of red raspberry leaves are covered in tiny spines that can irritate mucuous membranes if swallowed, which is why you must strain this tea through a coffee filter to remove them.
I quite liked the taste of this tea. It is hard to explain what it tastes like but I found it to be quite pleasant. It certainly doesn’t bother me drinking 2 cups of this a day.
The final tea I tried was made with stinging nettles. I chose to try this one as it is the best one for a condition I suffer from terribly every year… hayfever! I love Spring and Summer but I dread the puffy eyes and streaming nose that come with it. Flowers don’t bother me, it is grass and tree pollen that cause me problems. Some people who have drank nettle tea from Spring to Autumn have been able to come off hayfever medication altogether! I hate taking tablets so a natural remedy for a problem I have suffered from since childhood sounds perfect.
Stinging nettles have a huge amount of benefits. I won’t list them all here as the book takes a few pages to cover them all, with each needing different parts of the nettles. As well as recipes to eat and drink, the book also tells you how they can be used in your garden as a fertiliser, a pest repellent, and a compost starter; and as part of your beauty routine by using as a hair conditioner and a softening footbath! So many uses for one plant!
I bought dried stinging nettle leaves to make into a tea, but in the future will be picking some now I know what to look for and where is best to pick from.
2-3 tsps dried nettle leaf, tops, or seed
250 ml boiling water
- Pour boiling water over the nettles. Leave to steep for 10 minutes, then strain.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups a day.
I strained this one through a coffee filter too as it was quite powdery. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like my first taste of this tea. It tastes very very earthy and I didn’t like that. The store I bought the dried nettle from said that you can add some honey or any other natural sweetener if you don’t like the taste of this one. I added some honey and it made such a difference. I can happily drink 2 cups a day now. I’m hoping that doesn’t cut down the benefits that I am praying will come from it and keeping everything crossed for a sneeze-free Summer.
If you, like me, are trying to find natural remedies for problems, I would strongly recommend these books. I will be ordering Practical Herbs 2 on the strength of how informative and concise the first book is. Everything is explained in great detail to make sure you get the full benefits. The author has over 20 years experience of treating people with a range of conditions, and she takes care to pass her expert knowledge on in a clear, easily understandable way. The books are perfect for complete beginners to herbs and foraging, to advanced herbalists.
To find out more about Henriette Kress, visit her website HERE
To visit AEON Books and order Practical Herbs, click HERE