February 26, 2016
Tea brewed with fresh leaves is healthiest
We all know that the less processed a food is the more nutrients it retains. Tea, like vegetables, retains much more flavor and beneficial properties when it is closest to its natural state. Research re-confirms this fact. The result? You’d have to drink LOTS of bottled teas, “some contain such small amounts that a person would have to drink 20 bottles to get the same polyphenol benefit in a single cup of tea” says Bill Hendrick in hisÂ article on WebMD.
Yet, many big name teas make claims that appear to state otherwise. Well, the FDA took note of that and sent some nasty grams to Lipton and Canada Dry pointing out their improper labelling. Everything from overstating antioxidants to unsupported health claims. Also keep in mind that many of the bottled teas are heavily sweetened, often with High Fructose Corn Syrup.McDonald’s “Sweet Tea” contains 280 calories from sugar in it’s large size. Taken with the lack of good stuff in the tea, one definitely would want to consider brewing tea at home.
Brewing tea is really easy at home – even by the travel mug to go. While i drink tea because i like the taste and variety, many are enjoy teas healthier aspects. Whichever camp you fall into, be informed and watch out for hype and exaggerated claims
February 22, 2016
Living in the desert is tough on your skin. With little humidity in the air, we have to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate……inside and outside. Drinking plenty of water helps you stay hydrated and keeps your skin nourished.
For the occasional boost, however, you can take advantage of mother nature’s abundant healing herbs and sooth that dry and flaky skin with a toner this toner that truly calms and soothes dry,chapped or even sunburned skin. It is so easy and inexpensive to make – and it really works!
Take4 tsp of lemon balm and 6 tsp chamomile flowers.
Add these to 2 cups of boiling water, remove from heat and let the herbals steep until the water has cooled off. Strain the herbs and pour the liquid through a clean container.
Apply the toner to your skin with a clean cotton pad, or fill the toner into a spray bottle and carry it conveniently in your purse to use it whenever you need to.
It’s as simple as that – try it yourself!
February 19, 2016
No, it does not necessarily require a formal education or a degree. Our grandmothers sure did not have that but they know and passed on the knowledge of how to harness and use the goodness of plants – mine certainly did and so did my mother . They were “herbies” in their own right and passionate about it .
Now, how do you know if you are an “Herbie”? I came across these funny descriptions and wanted to share them with you. If you recognize yourself in at least one of them…..you are definitely an “Herbie”!
- You spend a lot of labels off food jars that will be just perfect for herbs later on.
- Your neighbors are used to seeing you early in the morning in your PJs harvesting or taking care of your garden.
- You might be an Herbie if your neighbors show our kids their flowers and they ask: ” Can you eat them?”
- If there is no room in your refrigerator because it is stuffed with remedies, infusions and syrups.
- You tell your husband not to mow the lawn yet because you want to make soup!
- You carry fennel seed in your purse instead of Tums
- You over seeded your lawn with dandelions.
Does anything sound familiar:-)?
February 15, 2016
If you think herbal medicine is just for humans – think again. In fact, animals – especially in the wild – know instinctively which plant to turn to if something ails them. Ever watched your dog or cat eat grass to help with indigestion?
Many of the herbs we use to stay well, also have beneficial effects for our beloved pets. Here are a few of those herbs and how you can apply them as herbal pet medicine:
- ECHINACEA -(Echinacea spp.) We all know of the immune enhancing properties of this plant. Sprinkle some of the dried leaves and flowers over your pets food to support and enhance the immune system.
- CHAMOMILE– (Matricaria recutita) This herb can help your pet relax, but also treats inflammation and gastric upsets. Use the flowers to make a tea or chop them up and mix them with your pet’s food.
- NETTLE –(Urtica dioica). Rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese and vitamin C, it is a great nutritive herb for your pet. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help treat arthritis and joint pain in elderly pets.
The easiest way to administer herbs to your pet is in dried or fresh form or as a tea. Best start using them when they feel good as a preventative measure!
If you want to know more about herbal pet medicine, check out our books on “Herbal Dog Care” and “Herbal Cat Care”.
February 12, 2016
We all deal with stress every day, a hectic schedules, lack of sleep, demands at the work place or in school our world has become increasingly more complex. We are constantly bombarded with information via TV, cell phones and the internet, and the majority of it is negative, fueling worries and anxiety. Assaults on our senses create a physical and emotional reaction, an overwhelming feeling we call STRESS!
While our bodies strive to adapt to the stresses in our live and keep us balanced and healthy, it is the consistent exposure to stressors that eventually leads to physical symptoms such as:
- frequent bouts of low blood sugar,
- mood and memory problems
- salt and sugar cravings
- morning fatigue, low energy
In nature we find a category of herbs called adaptogens which can help the human body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic processes, and restore balance. They increase the body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors and promote normal physiologic function. They can provide a defense response to acute or chronic stress and are unique from other substances in their ability to restore the balance of endocrine hormones and strengthen the immune system.
Adaptogenic herbs have been used for thousands of years in ancient India and China. In the past, they have been called rejuvenating herbs, qi tonics, rasayanas or restoratives. Modern research has substantiated what the ancients knew, that many of these herbs are important medicines that can be used for the prevention and treatment of a variety of common ailments.
Astragalus, Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Eleuthero are some of the herbs that are considered Adaptogens.
ASTRAGALUS is native to China and it s Chinese name means yellow leader because the root is yellow and the herb is considered the leader among tonic herbs. Astragalus strengthens the lungs and enhances the immune system function. Research has shown that it helps prevent immunosuppressant caused by chemotherapy and has anti-tumor inhibiting activity. More recently, Astragalus has been used to improve cardiac blood flow and to prevent kidney and liver damage.
ELEUTHERO is native to Siberia, Korea and northern Japan. It strengthens the immune system and if used regularly, can reduce incidence of colds. It also increases endurance and stamina and if used regularly, a person will feel better perform better and recover more quickly. It is great for those stressed-out type A people who work long hours and/ or don’t get adequate sleep or nutrition. Eleuthero is also used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, jet lag and adrenal fatigue.
Adaptogens are tonic herbs and they don’t have any negative physical effects and can be taken safely over long periods of time. A tonic supplement strengthens and invigorates various organs and body systems. They help balance emotions and enhance memory.
Reference: (Winston & Maimes, Adatptogens-Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief, 2007)
February 8, 2016
What better way to show someone that you care on Valentine’s Day than to celebrate with tea and chocolate in honor of National Heart Health month. Both tea and chocolate contain antioxidants that have shown to aid in keeping your heart healty and your cardiovascular system strong and are therefore a great combination for your romantic Valentine’s dessert.
Tea and chocolate make a great pair and you can enhance the taste experience by following a few guidelines when matching the two.
One way to look at tea and chocolate is as “friends” where similarity in characteristics enhance the flavor. The other way is to view them as “lovers”, where contrasting characteristics will complement each other through their differences.
Since tea and chocolate share the same flavor profiles, floral qualities and bite from astringency and tannin, they practically invite you to create fun and tasty combinations. While you should always trust your taste buds to find the right combinations, there are some general guidelines that might help you get started.
White teas have a very delicate flavor and pair well with mild chocolates and fruit. Try a Silver Needle or Bai Mu Tan with chocolate covered strawberries or a white chocolate cheese cake.
Green teas have vegetal flavors and aromas and pair well with creamier tastes such as berry flavors and milk chocolate. A Japanese Sencha with its savory profile, for example, is a good match for white or milk chocolate.
Oolongs, which are partially oxidized teas, are very complex in flavor. The lightly oxidized, greener oolongs go well with rich sweet desserts like caramel filled pralines, milk- or dark chocolate, while the more oxidized oolongs complement the stronger flavors of dark chocolate.
Black Teas tend to have a stronger flavor, more body and their tannin content matches up well with rich and full flavored dark chocolate, maybe with a hint of berries, citrus or nuts.
I, personally, like rich and creamy desserts and therefore my choice for a perfect Valentine’s dessert would be a Ti Kuan Yin Oolong from China with its slightly toasted notes and a slice of creamy chocolate, caramel cake. Just writing this makes my mouth water!
February 5, 2016
Puerh is a great choice for fall and winter.A tea varietal from the Yunnan region in the Southern part of China, it is traditionally made with leaves from old tea treas and is well known for its rich flavor and aroma as well as its health benefits. Pu-erh teas are processed like green teas – but then aged to perfection!
There are two categories of Pu-erh
1.Raw (Sheng Puerh)
Raw Puerh, also known as uncooked, or green Puerh is processed like green tea. The teal leaves are wilted and then pan-fired, using a large wok. This stops the enzymatic action and prevents any oxidation of the leaves. The leaves are then rolled, shaped into strands and then dried in the sun. These dried tea leaves are the foundation for Puerh and are called “Mao-cha”. Mao-cha is sent to the tea factories where it is pressed into raw Puerh cakes or nests and left to age. For more than 1000 years, this process and the tools involved have remained unchanged. Raw Puerh requires quite a long time for aging to develop its character – up to 20, 30 years.
Cooked/Ripened Puerh (Shu Puerh)
During the second part of the 20th century, Chinese scientists explored the possibility to accelerate this aging process through induced, high speed artificial fermentation. The production of Shu Puerh involves wilting and pan-firing the tea leaves just like with Sheng Puerh, but after the sun-drying, they undergo a unique process known as “wet piling”. The tea leaves are piled up, watered and then covered with a wet cloth. They are then submitted to high heat and moisture for extended periods of time. During this process, the chemical composition of the tea leaf changes, leading to a reduction in bitterness and a purer flavor. This process is repeated for 30-40 days and requires much skill and experience.
Regardless of the type, Puerh teas have been enjoyed in the Southern parts of China for thousands of years and have been revered for their healing properties. If you need to settle your stomach or have overindulged at the Sunday brunch buffet, a cup of Puerh might just be the answer to bring order into your digestive system!
Try it yourself!
February 1, 2016
During February (National Heart Health Month), the National Heart Association is raising awareness about the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S..
While proper diet, regular exercise and stress reduction play an important role in cardiovascular health, a recent Australian research study suggests that heart disease rate could be reduced by 10% if everyone took to drinking tea.
If you have to or simply want to avoid tea’s caffeine or, there are many wonderful herbs that can support cardiovascular health. Many, like hawthorn, have been well studied and are popular in Europe as heart tonics that can safely be taken over long periods.
At Souvia, we have utilized the findings of this research and created a blend that will benefit your heart and cardiovascular health.
Our TICKER TONIC, is a blend of hawthorn, hibiscus and peppermint. It is naturally caffeine free and is
delicious whether enjoyed hot or cold!