Homegrown Tea as Medicine

Reader Contribution by Bethann Weick
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It’s winter, and I’m teaching kids until Springtime. The quantity of coughs, sneezes, running noses, and sore throats that I encounter on a daily basis has now surpassed what I can count on my ten fingers.

So, not surprisingly, I’ve come home with a cold.  Again.

I’m stubborn, though, and generally hopeful that just a little more sleep will be enough to kick my immune system into high gear.  Sooner or later though, it becomes clear that that’s not quite enough.

At this point, I turn to the darker corners of our kitchen shelves and pull out a collection of jars.  No two look quite alike: a pint jar of oregano, a rubber ring quart of calendula, a wide mouth jar of mint, a painted quart and half with raspberry leaves, an old honey tub filled with nettle (harvested, dried, and gifted by my mother), a large red-topped jar of holy basil, and a tiny vial of echinacea tincture (gifted from my sister – our echinacea patch is not yet that substantial!).  A strand of mullein hangs, dried, in the corner.

These are our medicines. We do have an old (likely outdated) bottle of aspirin, and a handful of ibuprofen for a range of emergencies.  But by and large, I prefer plants to pills.  So this little apothecary, a bit of summer dried and jar-ed, becomes my prevention and my prescription.

Some are for specific symptoms, while others are general tonics.  Mullein, for example, is the antidote to respiratory congestion (yes, it really works!). Echinacea, raspberry leaf, and nettle are bitter immune boosters – you can taste it in their dark, earthy, healthy flavor.  Mint and oregano help an upset stomach.

Through reading and testing I have, over time, created my own medicine.  I can’t guarantee your own experience.  But for us, it makes sense that our health is cultivated from the same dirt and the same landscape within which our lives are blossoming.

Start planning your spring plantings now! Contact Beth via b.a.weick@gmail.com to design your herb garden, vegetable plantings, or small orchard (see Business Directory listing under ‘Garden Design & Services’).