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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Herbal Tea Remedies: Good For What Ails You

Author: Susan Anderson

"If a man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty." - Japansese Proverb

Some days we can wake up just not feeling quite right. Unable to put our finger on it, we know we are energetically out of balance. At other times, we may be able to identify precisely the moment when something inside us triggers the arrival into the Not Well Zone. It may feel like we just hit the bullseye and concentric circles of awareness ripple outward, warning all systems. It is during these times, that a good hot cup of herbal tea may be just what is needed to help get things back on track and moving in the right direction.

What is a Herbal Tea?
A herbal tea is made from either a single plant or a combination of plants. Different teas can be made using various parts of the plant which include the leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers, roots, bark or stems of the plant. The type of plant often dictates which part will be used. For example to make a chamomile tea, the flowers are used, to make peppermint tea, the leaves are used, and to make ginger tea, the roots are used. The herbs can be fresh or dried. They are then seeped in a cup of hot water, to create an infusion which allowed the therapeutic properties to be released.

Benefits of Herbal Teas
Drinking herbal teas can serve two basic purposes: to support the body in a therapeutic manner and to provide a pleasing drinking experience. Depending on the herbal tea that is selected, a different therapeutic value can be derived. Having a few basic herbal teas on hand can be a good supplement to whatever approach you may be taking to bring your body back into balance if you are not feeling up to par. There are so many good choices of herbal teas available today. Below is a suggested list of 5 basic teas to have on hand if you are looking to start adding herbal teas to your regular health care program.


Chamomile Tea
Is an aromatic tea known for its calming, soothing properties. Made from the flowers of the chamomile plant, this tea is useful in relaxing the nerves, soothing the stomach, relieving muscle tension, as well as helping with inflammation and improving liver function. This is a herb I grow annually in our garden, so we can have our own supply of chamomile tea.

Dandelion Tea
This is on my list because dandelions were so revered by my grandmother. In the spring one could find my grandmother with her small pocket knife and basket out in the fields, gathering young tender dandelion greens..."good for the blood, you know'. So this memory stays imprinted in my mind. I wouldn't describe it as having a delightful taste or fragrance, but it is what I would consider one of the workhorse teas. Useful as a body purifier, it assists with promoting healthy liver and kidney function. When searching for a tea to include in a detoxification process, dandelion tea should be high up on the list.

Echinacea Tea
Is useful in helping to boost the immune system, especially in regard to fighting off mild to moderate infections, such as the cold or flu. The leaves, stems, flowers and roots of the Echinacea plant are traditionally used in the formulation of this tea. One of my favorite teas containing Echinacea is Organic Lemon Echinacea made by Traditional Medicinals, which is very soothing when I have a sore throat. A definite must have for my tea collection.

Ginger Tea
Known for its pungant taste, ginger tea is another must have for the kitchen pantry. When experiending any type of stomach imbalance, whether we are talking about digestive difficulities, nausea, cramping or bloating, one of the first herbal teas of choice should be ginger. Using the root of this plant, it is easy enough to make your own blend. Purchase a fresh ginger root from the grocery store, wash and peel a small section of the root. Place thinly cut slices into a cup, then cover with boiling water. Cover and let the tea seep for about 5 minutes. Strain then drink.

Peppermint Tea
The fragrant aroma of fresh peppermint alone lifts the spirits, the scent coaxing one to start to feel the freshness of life. There is always a mint patch growing right outside our kitchen door. During the summer months, fresh mint is used almost daily. As the season comes to an end, the mint is collected and dried so it can continue to be enjoyed throughout the year. Peppermint is another choice when looking to promote digestive health. In addition it is useful in helping to fight stress, supporting the immune system and help with bringing the mind into focus.

So the next time you are shopping at the grocery store deciding what beverages to put into your cart, leave out the artificially sweetened drinks and opt instead for a few new herbal teas. Delicious hot or cold, they will add a new dimension to your day without incurring additional health costs.

Now if you will excuse me, the teapot is whistling, so I am off to prepare myself a nice, warm, cup of Herbal Tea! Why not join me?

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

10 Things to Do When Snowed In

  1. Author: Susan Anderson

    When winter's first snow storm hits it's fun. After a few of these gifts of Mother Nature, the appeal starts to wear off, especially if you are stuck in the house snowbound for a few days. So here are 10 suggestions of things to do when you are being held captive in the house and are in desperate need of some distraction from boredom.

  • Cook Something Different. Now is the time to experiment and try a new dish or two. This snow storm I planned ahead and when I went to the grocery store for snowbound shopping I picked up some wontons and eggroll wrappers. I have never made either, but thought, what the heck, it will be fun to try a few new recipes.

  • Tackle Paperwork. Now I am sure this will not rate up there on your top ten list of fun things to do... but if you have piles of paperwork lurking all over the house... if you have made a promise to tackle this at some other time...if you have promised to do this when some time frees up...then today is the perfect storm! Even if you need to do it in small increments of time. Here is one approach that may work 5 minutes of focused effort followed by 10 minutes of reward time. You may not get through all that much using this system but it's a start.

  • Make a Frozen Snow Drink. What a better time to make a fun frozen drink then when Mother Nature provides one of the main ingredients, but be sure its clean snow of course!

  • Play Real Board Games. Do you remember what a board game is? In today's world of video games I wonder if kids get much exposure to this type of entertainment. When my mother-in-law comes to visit, she loves to play games so we always end our day with a game of cards or a board game from the closest. It is always so much fun, so why don't we do it more often? Now would be a great day!

  • Plan the Perfect Valentine's Day for Your Sweetheart. With just a few days left before Valentine's Day, take the opportunity to think up an exciting, out of the box surprise for your honey. One year, which by the way was the best, I planned a treasure hunt for my husband, and it was awesome. I started in the house leaving a simple note with a clue to the location of the next note and clue. I had him going all over town and then finally meeting me at a local restaurant for dinner, which he thought was the finale. But as we finished dinner and he received one more clue from the waitress, it really ended up being an evening away. We had 2 small children at the time and I got Grandmom to stay with the kids so I could do this and it was an amazing time, with a lifelong memory attached.

  • Make a Fictional Character to Have Fun With. My husband always talks about this fictional character Rudy Smith that he made up years ago. It was suggested he create a Facebook page for him. Well last night we finally put the page together and had not laughed so much as we did creating him. Then we invited friends who knew about Rudy to come visit him on Facebook and the real fun began. We had tears streaming down our face as we were writing and responding to comments. Deep, deep barreling laughter resulted--whew! so good for the soul. If you too want to become a friend of Rudy's his email is RudySmith58@gmail.com

  • Lighten the Load. So many of us have more than we need or can really use. We started with a small collection of extra stuff that went into a closet, then a room, then a new house, then a basement, then a garage and now we have a separate storage rental unit for the overflow of all this extra stuff. Yes alot of it is from a closed business but that is just another excuse. All this stuff drains our energy. I have made a promise to myself to lighten the load this year. I have committed to getting rid of at least one large bag of stuff per week, with the hope that several bags or boxes will be leaving the homestead for good. We give to the local thrift shops and/or to friends who I know can use something that we no longer want or need, and finally we put some things on Craigslist to get rid of. Any old way you look at it, less is more! A snowed in day provides a good block of time to sift through our Collections of Stuff.

  • Visit Project Camelot. Here is an interesting website that may seem a bit out there for some people but it is a great site operated by Bill Ryan and Kerry Cassidy. Their purpose is to travel extensively meeting and interviewing truth-tellers in the effort to provide enlightening testimony about the true nature of our world. There are a wide range of individuals who participate in the interviews, which are in audio, video and transcript format. Here is the link: http://www.projectcamelot.org/ Why not take a look for yourself? An eye-opening way to pass the time.

  • Create Art. Find something around the house to make a creative statement with. I have several of these types of projects going right now. One is an old chair that I am repainting in a funky way. Another is making graphic mandalas on the computer then printing them out, framing them and placing a poem or inspirational story on the back, and finally to help get rid of some of that Collection of Stuff I am making yard art--birdbaths, birdhouses and backyard decorations using recycled materials from around the house. After I have a large enough assortment of finished products I am going to get a table at a craft fair. You really don't need to be an artist to create- you just have to be willing to unleash some of the passion you hold inside of you.

  • Plan A Garden. Having a successful garden depends on prior planning. Often people like me omit this step, figuring we will wing it, then wonder when July rolls around why we haven't been as successful as we had anticipated. Alot of this disappointment can be circumvented through a little bit of planning. On a cold day inside of the house, dreaming of being outside in warmer weather surrounded by beautiful gardens is a good place to start. Think about what you want, then start to make it happen. Write your lists, check the seed catalogs. What! Don't have any? No problem go online- with a few quick searches you can find out what planning you should be doing and where to order your resources.

Well now that concludes this rendition of 10 Things to Do When Snowed In. I hope I have inspired you to do something useful, fun or productive with your day. And of course, I would love for you to share your list of things with me! Keep warm.

PS: By the way, that is my good friend Lynne in the picture at the top of the article with the help sign...sort of explains how we all feel after awhile of being snowbound....Hold on Lynne--Rudy is on his way!

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