The West Bend Community Memorial Library has many books on herbs including Sacred Herbs: your guide to 40 medicinal herbs and how to use them for healing and well-being, by Opal Streisand. With a concise description of each herb’s properties alongside gorgeous photographs of each plant, this little book shows us how to enrich our lives by unlocking the secrets of herbs.
Below are different infusions and decoctions that are easy to brew. An infusion is the pouring of boiling water over the fresh or dried herbs (leaves and flowers), letting them steep for about 10 minutes, and straining off the liquid. A decoction is used for roots and seeds of healing herbs. Place the herbs and some water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 10 minutes before you strain the liquid.
Used for more than 3,000 years, ginger was thought to have come from the Garden of Eden in medieval days. A cup of ginger tea can calm an upset stomach and relax any other areas of tension for many hours. One or two slices of raw ginger can be added to a cup of water and simmered. Consider adding a teaspoon of raw honey, which is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold” because of its healing properties.
Rosemary was thought to strengthen the memory and became an emblem of fidelity in ancient times, and thus was worn by brides at their wedding. One can take an infusion of rosemary for colds, indigestion, headaches, and fatigue.
Peppermint has been used for indigestion since ancient Egyptian times and dried leaves have been found in the pyramids. Greeks and Romans crowned themselves at feasts and adorned their tables with peppermint sprays. Peppermint tea aids digestion after meals, relieves a migraine, and helps with morning sickness.
The ancient Egyptians so revered chamomile for its power to cure fevers, they dedicated it to the gods. Because of its calming effect, the tea can be sipper for insomnia and mild anxiety. It too aids digestion and eases heartburn.
The Greeks used lemon balm, a member of the mint family, medicinally for 2,000 years. They believed it would benefit the heart, memory, and the mind. An easy-to-grow perennial plant, it attracts bees who love its lemony scent. To relieve stress and improve your mood and mental well-being, make a soothing lemon balm herbal tea.Children can also sip a cup of its tea before bed to help allow for a good night’s sleep and to relieve anxiety. It is called a heal-all, which aids healing to almost every part of the body.
Let us sip our tea. As the world-renowned Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn writes, “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”