Do You Drink Tea?

David Trammel's picture

I am a long time coffee drinker, though I take it the "British Way" with plenty of milk and once sugar now Steva. As I reread my library of books on herbal medicines, teas both medicinal and recreational have begun interesting me.

One of the spiritual teachers I read on a regular basis, Elder Mountain Dreaming has a good introductory article up this week.

Teas You Should Be Drinking and Teas You Shouldn't

What are your preferred beverages? Any favorites you go to for a bit of relaxing or to help with an illness?

alice's picture

That link is a strange read to me. Not all of the information is correct: for instance the comfrey most widely grown in the UK (aka Russian comfrey, the one with pink/blue flowers) is one specially bred so the pyrrolizidine alkaloid is absent from the aerial parts. It was a plant breeding project of Lawrence Hills, who was a founder of the Henry Doubleday Research Association, a pionerring organicing gardening and famring charity. As I heard it there was a competition for new foods for the British population during the U-boat blockades in the second World War: the winner was the yeast extract Marmite, and the runner up was Lawrence Hill's new strain of comfrey, of which the aerial parts are edible and would cause no harm as tea. But then I suppose the point stands that one should always be certain about what plant one is consuming, there can be disasters from mistaken identity.

Before that, to dimiss all herbal beverages except peppermint, hibiscus and ginger seems odd. I think the article must be written by someone who has a fixed idea about what counts as evidence. But then I was brought up by parents who had Juliette Bairacli-Levy's 'Herbal handbook for farm and stable' on the shelf. I believe there is a good reason for the widespread use of many herbal preparations. Bairacli-Levy's teachings are based on her time living with traditional travelling peoples in Europe, who had a herbal practice based on observing the food choices of their animals: a horse for instance would be allowed to browse along a traditional varied hedgerow or other species-rich habitat, which could contain hundreds of different plants, and the choices observed. Over hundreds of years the choices of the animals were compiled and many tested for effectiveness in humans. So Bairacli-Levy's work is a compilation of this corpus of herbal knowledge.

The author of the tea article warns against contamination by heavy metals in the food chain is something which is worth bearing in mind across all industrial products. Given the locked-in difficulties of the industrial system quality is always going to be better from something which is prepared at home or produced 'one handshake away' by a local farmer or grower who cares about quality and the bigger picture of positive impact agriculture and wildlife conservation. And of course local production doesn't require all the lorries, container ships and packaging which the industrial system runs on so local and home production is part of 'collapse now and avoid the rush'. I would think this is all the more reason to learn to grow and use local herbs traditionally used for beverages in your region.

Perhaps the author of the tea article took some slightly strange perspectives for clickbait purposes? I have heard that professional bloggers are advised to contradict common knowledge as one strategy for getting more clicks-through.

David Trammel's picture

The blogger is of interest to me because of some of her occult teachings. I posted the link with the private understanding that some of what she mentions might be disagreed with and I'm seeking more opinions.

(She is at times a bit "fringee" but then aren't we all.)

Since I collapsed (aka took early retirement) I've been drinking a bit more coffee. Used to be I'd have one large cup (often with an additional packet of hot chocolate tossed into it) at the start of my work shift, and tend to nurse that cup all night. Now I mostly brew a small pot (3-4 cups) when I get up, and sip it while I review the news, answer mail and sometimes post here.

Long term, I know that commercially purchased coffee is going to grow in price and wouldn't mind finding something I can grow locally as a substitute.

Also I have pretty much accepted that day to day personal medical care is going to have to be something I take charge of myself. I'll get Medicare when I turn 65 in a few years but don't expect that to help out much except for catastrophic illness and even then it will probably bankrupt me. So its time to start learning.

Hopefully I can take a day a week going forward and work on the information in this forum.

alice's picture

On the subject of your question I drink some nettle tea. Dried nettle steeped after infusing with boiling water. The I refresh it by adding two thirds hot to a third of the cold nettle. It is soothing in the way that black tea is soothing but grows locally. It has to be picked in spring before the nettle grows its long stalk otherwise it tastes horrible, and dries best if the stem is thoroughly crushed otherwise the stem and leaf dry at too different rates. Supposed to be good for keeping arteries supple and supplies plenty of minerals to keep teeth and bones happy.