Keeping Your Family Hydrated and Healthy All Summer with Herbs
From the beginning of time, people have been using herbs not only for healing a particular illness or imbalance but more importantly for maintaining radiant health. In days past, most families had their own backyard medicinal herb garden and used these beautiful Earth spirits for healing and prevention. For the most part, herbs are pretty safe, as long as we use them with a bit of knowledge, awareness and gratitude.
Medicinal herbs are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients. Because many of these plants are wild weeds, they have long taproots and, therefore, pull up nutrients, minerals and trace minerals not found as often in our cultivated foods. Did you know that a teacup of a good-quality whole-plant herb tea has about 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium, magnesium and bone-building minerals, and because they are foods, we utilize these minerals more completely and efficiently?
Simple, abundant plants like dandelion, nettle, oat straw, raspberry, red clover and mints (to name but a few) can be combined or used alone to provide our bodies with a plethora of amazing nutrients, and all we need to do is drink the tea.
We don’t need to be told how important it is to keep hydrated in our scalding desert heat, but in addition to losing water when we sweat, we also lose lots of minerals (that’s why our skin tastes salty). Oftentimes, we feel thirsty and it seems that no matter how much water we drink, we cannot seem to quench our thirst; this is especially true for those of us who work outside. Remember the aforementioned 300 mg of calcium, magnesium and bone-building minerals? Well, the answer to the big secret of how to stay hydrated and have your energy restored is drinking lots of mineral-rich herbal teas. In addition, these herbs are healthful for the whole family. So, just put a pitcher of delicious herbal ice tea on your table with each meal for everyone to enjoy.
Herbs nourish and support every organ and system of our bodies, and mixing and matching a variety of these nourishing herbs each day can help keep us in tip-top shape. Of course, a good attitude (getting out of our mind), a healthy diet, positive thoughts, joy, laughter and exercise are also a big part of the health puzzle.
Learning to make these simple herbal remedies right in our own kitchens is not only fun and easy but also very empowering and effective. Herb shops are popping up all over the country, and are great resources for both good-quality herbs and herb classes.
Here is a simple, mineral-rich herbal tea blend to get you started. Make a big soup pot of it and refrigerate so you only need to make it once or twice a week.
High-Calcium, Mineral-Rich Herbal Tea Blend
2 oz oat straw
2 oz nettle leaf
1 oz comfrey leaf
1 oz raspberry
1 oz lemongrass
2 oz peppermint or spearmint
½ oz horsetail (shavegrass)
¼ oz cinnamon
Stevia to taste (or you can add honey)
– Mix all herbs together and store in glass jar.
– To make tea: Put herbs and water in big non-aluminum pot and cover tightly (1 teaspoon herb blend for each 8 oz cup of water).
– Bring to boil and remove from heat, but leave on stove overnight.
– In the morning, strain off your tea and store in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Enjoy 1 quart or more per day. Most of us who live in the desert carry a sports water bottle with us all the time, so just make sure to get one that is 32 ounces; fill it up each morning and sip it throughout the day to get 1,200 to 1,500 mg of those all-important bone-building minerals. It’s that easy!
Note: The used herbs from your teas make great nutrient-rich compost for the plants in your yard.
Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place, located at 148 N. Center St., in Mesa. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. She has studied with many of the top herbalists in the country, has written articles for several publications, and is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. For more information, call 480-694-9931, or visit SWHerb.com or Store.SWHerb.com.