for·ti·fy1. strengthen defensively so as to protect against attack2. strengthen or invigorate mentally or physically3. synonyms include rejuvenate, strengthen, energize, restore, revive, refresh, invigorate, vitalize
The fortifying teas below (which I brew as one tea, but you can brew individually) came into being almost a year ago when I attended a talk about taking the vegan diet to the next level (health-wise). During the lecture, the holistic nutritionist recommended five key things that every vegan (and indeed everybody) could do to optimize vitality. One of those five key things was to include a tea infusion of beneficial herbs on a daily basis. She recommended a variety of herbs, and I found that mixing most of them together, and adding peppermint leaves for taste, resulted in a delicious brew that basically tastes like peppermint tea and has all of the benefits of peppermint tea plus all of the benefits of the other herbs. All told, this naturally caffeine-free tea supports digestion, provides key minerals and trace minerals, adds antioxidants, and makes you feel simultaneously soothed and fortified.
So what healing delights do I add to my tea? Well, fair reader, I’m glad you asked:
- Oat Straw – high in calcium, magnesium, silicon, and chromium; oat straw is also beneficial to the central nervous system and may be soothing for anxiety and calming for sleep.
- Red Clover – reported to be helpful for skin conditions like acne, bladder infections, respiratory ailments, liver disorders, anxiety, and tumours. Also helping in addressing menopause symptoms, improving heart health, and reducing risk of osteoporosis. Apparently even Dr. Oz has recommended red clover tea!
- Raspberry Leaf – has Vitamin C, minerals, and is reported to be a great hormone-balancing plant for women.
- Nettle – immunity-boosting, reported to help with menstrual cramps, anti-inflammatory, and supports the digestive and endocrine systems.
- Chamomile – antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, soothing for the digestive system, supportive of health skin, and great to drink to calm down before bed.
- Peppermint – soothing to the digestive system and supportive of good digestive health, anti-inflammatory, promotes healthy skin, and is stress relieving.
This is really a highlights reel and is by no means an exhaustive account of the health benefits of these herbs. It is also by no means an exhaustive account of the beneficial herbs out there. In addition, many of the herbs I mention above also have tremendous benefits when applied topically, as in toners, or added to a warm bath. Note that each of these plant parts could make a tea on their own – if you want to try a taste test, make a cup with just one of these herbs. Or, for the full shebang, mix them all together as I do and just portion out when you are making your cup of tea. Also, I’d recommend purchasing organic, if you can.
As always, adding anything into your diet should be done with care. If you have any allergies, food intolerances, or current health conditions, be sure to check with a reputable health practitioner before trying any of these herbs and flowers.
If all clear, feel free to enjoy the benefits of the delicious fortifying herbal tea(s) above. Have fun making your own custom blends and experimenting with flavours. Lemon verbena could be nice, or just chamomile. Burdock root and calendula are also very health-promoting. I enjoy this tea in the evening, as part of a wind-down routine, but it can be enjoyed at any time during the day.
To Make the Tea Infusion:
- Steep 2 tsps (or so) of the blended herb mix (or single herb/plant, if you prefer) in a cup of just boiled water for about 10-15 mins.
- Sweeten, if desired (though I find the tea tastes just perfect as is – it is already a bit sweet from some of the plants, like red clover).
- Sip away!