As I get to know herbs more deeply, I have started using herbal teas every day and varying them according to my needs and the needs of my family. For example, this past week my children and I took turns with a chest cold and so I was making herbal tea blends to support our immune system, relieve discomfort, moisten dry tissues causing painful coughs and relieve some symptoms that made sleeping difficult. We took advantage of the healing and nourishing qualities of linden, elder, spearmint, yarrow, chamomile, oatstraw, nettle, marshmallow and licorice. They didn’t keep the cold away completely but it helped us get through it and I think now that we are getting better, our bodies and immune systems are stronger for it.
Today I am turning our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. I love this because it will mean more time with sunshine and therefore outdoor playtime after school. But the challenge can be bedtime, because it doesn’t get dark as early, and because essentially we are making bedtime earlier. S0 I wanted to share a recipe for a lovely Bedtime Tea that my family enjoys.
For this Bedtime Tea, I use three herbs that don’t need much introduction: Chamomile, Lavender, and Rose. While these herbs have many wonderful qualities, for this blend, we are using them for their help in relaxation. All day long our minds and bodies go-go-GO, and then we turn on bright lights at home and at the kids’ bedtime, we turn off the light and expect sleep to come quickly. For some that happens, and for others, it can take a while. My oldest does not relax and wind down easily. When she was very little we did bedtime massage, which helped her. And we sometimes have family massage nights, but more often we have had to find other ways to help her be ready for sleep.
We turn off the bright lights and just keep a desk lamp on in a corner of the kids’ bedroom. We have a bedtime routine that is calming and predictable with getting ready for bed, reading books together, a short family meditation, and on nights when we need it, Bedtime tea!
Sometimes we will add milk (steamed milk makes this a Bedtime Latte, but maybe save that for yourself in a couple of hours!). And sometimes we’ll have a side of toast with honey as bedtime snack if dinner was a while ago and littles are saying they are hungry again (are they ever not hungry??). We sit in a circle on the floor of the kids’ bedroom and sip tea and inevitably take nice calming deep breaths – because the aromatic properties of these herbs basically demand you do just that.
The tea is relaxing, the ritual is centering and peaceful. Try it and let me know how it goes!
Bedtime Tea Recipe
To make the tea blend: Mix the herbs in a small jar. You may have to experiment until you figure out what everyone likes. Personally, lavender is a bit overwhelming for me so I might like less than you, or you might feel that way about rose. But I suggest starting with 2 parts chamomile to 1 part lavender and 1 part rose (replace the word part with whatever measuring tool you are using – tablespoon, cup, etc). This is your tea blend.
To make the tea:
- For every cup of water, take 1 tablespoon of your herb blend and put it in a tea strainer or disposable tea bag, or straight in your cup or teapot to be strained after steeping.
- Boil water and pour over the herbs. Take a deep whiff and then cover so all those lovely aromatic oils don’t escape before you get to inhale them with your tea sipping.
- Let the herbs steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain and pour into tea cups.
- Add your sweetener of choice. We use local honey, which is also soothing and immune boosting.
- Breathe, Sip and Enjoy!
Postscript: If you are looking for a trusted source of loose dry herbs, you can purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs (affiliate link) which works with organic herb farmers around the world and focuses on sustainability and quality.