Let's be real: Life can be really overwhelming sometimes — and this goes beyond the seasonal winter blues. However you choose to manage those feelings, whether that's meditation, exercise, or some other form of therapy, it's all about finding what works best for you. For Branché Foston of The Honey Block, that solace comes from herbalism, the study and use of plants for wellness.
Foston brought her knowledge of herbs and flowers to our very own Hunker House, conducting a workshop on how to make botanical tea right at home. The creator went over a few tips for creating a blend for a standard 8-ounce cup of tea so you can get brewing ASAP.
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1. Pick your herbs.
The first step to creating your own DIY herbal tea blend is, well, selecting your herbs. Hone in on how you'd like to feel emotionally, mentally, and physically before making your decision. Plants can impact your wellbeing in a powerful way, so choose wisely. If you're feeling tired, you may opt for something more stimulating, or if you're feeling anxious, you'll likely want something more calming.
Foston showcased two blends, beginning with Night Cap Tea comprised of lavendar, Chamomile, and milky oats in order to provide soothing support before bedtime. She followed with Big Crush Energy Tea full of hibiscus and lemon balm, both helpful in balancing emotions.
2. Connect to the herbs.
You may receive more insight from plants than you think. Take the time to smell them, sit with them, and if you have the time, a little meditation never hurt. Foston recommends placing your herbs into jars and holding them close to your heart center.
3. Create the blend.
Once you figure out the purpose of the tea — whether it's relaxation, focus, or something else — it's time to create your blend. Foston suggests using between two and three herbs for your creation so you can connect to each additive fully, but you can choose as many as you'd like.
4. Figure out the ratio.
When it comes time to create your mixture, Foston advises having a base herb, which will be the largest scoop and the flavor you'll taste the most, plus some supportive herbs. For one 8-ounce cup of tea, she recommends using one full tablespoon of your base herb and 1/2 tablespoon of your secondary herbs — but you can really use as much or as little as you'd like.
5. Steep your brew.
It terms of steeping your blend, Foston recommends the 1:3 method. In a mug or your cup of choice, fill about 1/3 of the vessel with your herbs and 2/3 with hot (not boiling) water. Allow your tea to steep for at least 15 minutes to receive the full benefit. You can either steep your tea directly in a strainer, or just strain afterwards.
6. Store your mixture.
Keep your herbs and flowers in glass jars that are food safe with lids. It would probably be best to keep them away and out of direct sunlight, like in a kitchen cabinet.
7. Label your creation.
It may also be a good idea to label your blend so you can easily access it for next time. Foston suggests naming your mixture, plus adding the date you created it, the herbs you used, and if you're feeling really spiritual, the phase the moon was in upon creation.
Be forewarned: Once you get started brewing, you may not want to stop. The possibilities are truly endless.