With the February full moon, also known as the Hunger Moon or the Snow Moon, bringing us more frigid temperatures and food scarcity, it is a time for self care to get through the remainder of the winter. Home made tea blends are a great entry point into herbalism - learning about the healing and restorative properties of herbs.
This craft is versatile, a great way to learn and share knowledge, and will also produce memorable gifts you can give away. Making tea blends from raw ingredients eliminates the waste of tea bags, is much cheaper and better for the environment than buying boxes of tea bags off the shelves. It's also a great way to interact with the herbs - when they're loose and you can observe them, you can forge a stronger connection to them and what they look and taste like instead of sealing them away in a paper bag. I like to keep my herbs loose in a jar of hot water while they're steeping.
What you'll need:
- individual mixing bowls and spoons for each person
- black tea leaves
- assorted dried flower petals such as hibiscus, chamomile, lavender, mint, calendula, chrysanthemum, cornflower
- spices such as cardamom, allspice, dried ginger root, cinnamon bark
- small jars to package the tea in once you've made it (reusable jars are always best)
You can purchase bulk dried tea and herbs from many health food stores. If you're located in New York, my favorite place to shop for herbs is Flower Power in the East Village. It's been around for as long as I can remember and is loaded with shelves full of jarred herbs. I also like Dual in the East Village. If you're not in New York and would prefer to buy online, I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs - not only is their sourcing transparent, they have lots of great information on their site about the properties of each herb.
1. Set out all of your flowers, herbs and spices - they're best stored in clean, dry jars so that they don't risk getting wet or mildewy.
2. Start with a black tea base. For an 8 oz jar, you'll want to use about 6 oz of black tea. Add in herbs or spices based on their flavors and healing properties - certain herbs' volatile oils are higher than others, so start small, with about a teaspoon of each herb - you can always add more later if you feel the flavor isn't strong enough.
If you're using herbs or barks that are large such as hibiscus flowers or cinnamon bark, you'll want to crush them up in a mortar and pestle before mixing into the tea.
3. Once you're finished adding in the components, you'll want to mix the tea evenly.
4. Once mixed evenly, spoon into a jar and create a label listing the properties and ingredients.