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October 31, 2014

Herb of the Week: Eleuthero

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

If you want to get ready for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, build your stamina for mall hikes and holiday festivities ….and do all that while maintaining your zen – then Eleutero is just the herb for you!

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticocus), also known as Siberian Ginseng falls into the category of tonic herbs that balance physiological functins and positively influence health and well-being.

Eleuthero is a tall spiny shrub from the ginseng family. The bulk herb is used to make tea and tinctures.

When should you take Eleuthero? If you feel tired, run-down or are going through major changes in your life – if you are under stress or if you would like to improve your athletic performance – Eleuthero is your herb!

Eleuthero is an herbal remedy that belongs to a group of herbs called “Adaptogens”.  These tonic herbs help the body adapt to stress and changes in your life. Eleuthero has been seriously studied in Russia since the 1970s and was given to their athletes for better performance in competitions. It has been shown to

  • give you more energy
  • strengthen your immune system
  • improve alertness and cognitive function
  • act as a nervine positively affecting sleep and hyperactiviy

Eleuthero is perfect for the stressed-out typ “A” personalities who work long hours, don’t get enough sleep and eat a less than healthy diet. It may help you overcome jet lag faster and balance your adrenal glands to avoid burn-out!

Dosage and Preparation:

Tincture:

The best thing is that herbs like Eleuthero are considered safe and can (should) be taken over extended periods of time.

As wit all medicines, herbal or not, always check with your doctor first before starting a new regimen.

 

 

 

 

 

October 27, 2014

Make Your Own Cough Drops!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

Seems like the latest bug that’s been going around is leaving many with a lingering dry cough. Instead of reaching for the OTC cough syrup, why not make your own soothing cough drops with simple, yet effective ingredients Mother Nature provides:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried sage leaves (1 cup fresh )

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

2 tbsp. honey

granulated or powdered sugar to coat

Put the sage leaves in a saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain the liquid.

Add sugar and honey to pan, stir with a wooden spoon while bringing to a boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. If bubbles threaten to  overflow the pan, reduce heat slightly and stir.

Boil to hard-crack stage (330degrees), but even if you use a candy thermometer, test often toward the end of cooking to get the hardness right. Keep a shallow cup of cold water nearby. Stir occasionally. When you lift the wooden spoon and the liquid form a  thread, begin testing for hardness by allowing a drop of the mixture to fall into the cup of cold water. When it is hard enough to crack when you bite into it, remove pan from heat immediately.

If the mixture crystallizes, just add a cup of water and an extra tablespoon of honey to the pan, scrape the crystalline chunks into it and begin again.

Lightly butter a candy mold, cookie sheet or other heatproof baking pan and pour in the hot mixture. After the candy has cooled and hardened, sift granulated or powdered sugar over them to keep the from sticking together.

Store in a moisture-proof container!

This recipe will make about a sandwich bag full of cough drops. If you would like you can alter the recipe and add other herbs such as Marshmallow (good for dry cough since it moistens lung tissue) and licorice (a great expectorant).

Good luck and I hope you’ll share the recipe with your family and friends!

 

 

 

October 24, 2014

HERBAL OF THE WEEK: LEMON BALM

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:06 am

Lemon Balm

Latin Name: Melissa officinalis

Parts used:  fresh or dried leaves

Action: Nervine, Sedative, Mild Antispasmodic, Carmenative, Antiviral, Diaphoretic

“Lemon Balm: To cause the mind & heart to become merry,

to strengthen the weakness of the spirit and heart, and to comfort them” (Serapion the Younger)

This quote by Serapion perfectly summarizes the qualities of this wonderful and tasty herb. Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and its Latin name Melissa comes from the Greek word for honeybee, since bees tend to favor this plant. It is also thought of as  the “elixir of life” ensuring long life and extended youth.

While I am not sure about the life and youth extending qualities, I do know and value Lemon Balm’s calming and soothing qualities. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar considers this herb one of nature’s best nervines. Lemon Balm’s leaves and flowers contain volatile oils and tannins that have a relaxing, antispasmodic effect on the stomach and nervous system. This makes it an excellent remedy for a nervous stomach and general exhaustion.  Since lemon balm is also a mild sedative, which means it directly relaxes the nervous system and eases tension, a cup before bedtime can help you fall and stay asleep. Lemon Balm has a high safety rating and is recommended for adults and children alike. While an infusion of this herb can have immediate effects, it is also recommended for long term use to nourish an overtaxed nervous system.

For a delicious nervine tonic, Gladstar recommends blending equal amounts of lemon balm, oats and chamomile. Mix the herbs and infuse with boiling water. Steep for 10 -15 minutes and enjoy!

October 20, 2014

Jasmine Vanilla Breakfast Tea Scones

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:00 am

 

Lately, I  have gotten into baking again and found a great scone recipe in my grandmothers recipe collection. The recipe was for a simple buttermilk scone, but I wanted to add my own note and therefore played with different tea flavors.

Since we just got the first batch of this year’s Super Yin Hao Jasmine in, I thought it might complement the buttery texture of the scone. It turned out delicious and therefore I wanted to share it here with you:

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, 1tsp vanilla

1tbsp loose-leaf jasmine tea leaves (you can also use our Jasmine First Grade)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup white  whole wheat flour

3 tbsp packed light brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

5tsp chilled unsalted butter

1 tbsp granulated sugar

Put the tea leaves, vanilla and buttermilk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until just beginning to boil. Remove from heat and let steep about 5-10 minutes. (do not strain)

Preheat oven to 400F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with vegetable cooking oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, the brown sugar, baking powder and salt – mix well. Add the butter and mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed.

Pour the buttermilk-tea mixture into a blender and blend into a uniform texture. Strain the buttermilk into a glass measuring cup and add the tea leaves to the butter-flour mix. Measure out 2/3 cup of the remaining buttermilk and add it to the bowl. Mix on low speed.

Divide the dough into 2 disks and place ona lightly flouredsurface. Pat each disk into a circle about 6 inches. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1-2 inches apart.

Lightly brush the surface of each scone  with the left over buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 14-16 minutes at 400F.

I love these straight out of the oven, when they are still warm and of course enjoy them with a lovely cup of Jasmine Perls!

October 13, 2014

Tea and Pesticides

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:00 am

 

Tea Picker Lunch Break

Glenburn Tea ChestsThere has been a lot of talk about a recent report published by Greenpeace in which they disclose the heavy use of pesticide use by Indian tea growers.

The report showed that teas sold in country as well as exported to abroad by leading international and national brands such as Tetley, Lipton and Twinings contained multiple pesticides of which many are classified as highly or moderately hazardous by the World Health Organization.

If you would like to find out more about the findings, go directly to the Greenpeace report!

Even though this news is of great concern, it is important to lay the cards completely on the table and tell the whole story.

Fact is that pesticides sprayed on tea do not tend to end up in the body like the do with regular produce. Why? Because most chemicals used as pest prevention are not soluble in water. This means that when you steep your tea, these chemicals hang on to the tea leaf which is not consumed. I do not want to minimize the severity of the findings, but believe that the consumer should have all the facts to make an educated decision on their purchases.

If you are wondering about the Indian teas sold at Souvia, I can assure you that you don’t have anything to worry about.

Both, our Assam and Nilgiri are certified organic. This certification guarantees you that no pesticides have been used in the cultivation of these teas.

Our Khongea Assam comes from a family owned estate and we have developed a good relationship with the growers. After hearing the news, I immediately got on the phone and spoke with one of the owners about their teas. I was assured that the estate uses only sustainable agricultural and organic practices. For more information, visit Glenburn Direct.

At Souvia, we strive to offer our customers the best products. Well established relationships with growers and importers make it possible for to get answers for you in regard to all of your questions.

Cheers.

October 10, 2014

Scented Teas – Jasmine

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

 

The Chinese were the first to add a little more flavor to their teas by scenting them with flowers. Scented teas differ from flavored teas in that nothing other then the scenting agent (flowers, spices) is added and the process is much more cumbersome.

One of the most popular scented teas is Jasmine, a delicate flower that is predominantly combined with green or white teas. Most jasmine-scented teas come from several provinces in southeastern China, although Taiwan also makes excellent jasmine teas.

How does the Scent get into the Tea?

Jasmine teas take a long time to produce since the tea is picked and manufactured in the spring. They are then carefully stored until the jasmine flowers bloom in late summer. For premium jasmine teas the tea and flowers are layered and left overnight so that the tea leaves can absorb the essential oils of the jasmine flower. The next morning the jasmine flowers are removed and the process is repeated as many times as it takes to create a superb quality tea.

The overall quality of the finished tea is determined by the quality of the green tea, the amount of jasmine flowers left in the final blend (the fewer flowers, the more premium the tea) and the scent transfer of the flower s to the tea.

The result of this careful processing is a light, aromatic and sweetly soothing tea with a golden green liquor. It is important to note that aromatic does not mean “perfumy”. (which is often a sign of lower-quality jasmine tea).

Jasmine teas are best taken without milk and are an excellent choice after meals, with desserts or on its own!

Many of our customers have come to appreciate the wonderful fragrance and full flavor of  the “Super Yin Hao Jasmine”  (store only) and have been patiently waiting for a new batch to come in.

Get your share while supplies last !

Cheers

October 6, 2014

Foods for Strong Nerves

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

hWhile a cup of chamomile or valerian root might help  you bring relaxation and sleep, your diet also plays an important roll in the health of your nervous system. Many nervous system disorders are associated with unhealthy eating patterns and diets.

We all know to avoid caffeine and other stimulating substances when nerves are frayed, but which foods help nourish and rebuild our nervous system?

  • alkalizing foods such as greens (kale, swiss chard, spinach)
  • green tea
  • high quality protein (lean fish, poultry)
  • whole grains
  • root vegetables
  • cultured milk products such as kefir, yoghurt and buttermilk

Make sure to get enough calcium since it not only builds strong bones and teeth, but it is also essential in nerve function.

Herbs high in calcium are chickweed, oats and nettle. When you prepare a medicinal infusion to benefit from the calcium, it is important to steep the tea for at least 4hours – better even overnight, to extract the minerals.

October 3, 2014

More Fall Flavors Arriving at Souvia….

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:01 am

 

pumpkinOctober is synonymous with pumpkins and Halloween! So it is not surprising that we are welcoming back our famous PUMPKIN PIE! Its arrival always causes quite a stir and once you taste this blend of black tea, cinnamon and nutmeg, you’ll understand the craze.)

Back for the its 6th year is our TRICK OR TEA – a ghoulishly looking blend (it is as green as Shrek himself) with a delicious fruit taste that will complete any Halloween buffet! (serve it over dry ice for an even more dramatic effect )

Last on our October tea list is SMORES a black tea blend with mini marshmallows and the taste of chocolate and graham crackers. It will conjure up memories of campfires and ghost stories. A perfect treat you can enjoy guilt-free!

Visit us at the store or online and get your personal favorite today

Cheers!