Our belief system can limit us, or it can set us free to experience our own limitlessness. OK, stay with me on this, dear reader. You might be like me. Growing up, I believed that tea was something made with hot water and a tea bag. Tea, as defined by Webster, is a drink made by infusing, or soaking, the dried leaves of an Asian plant, Camellia sinensis, in hot water. My mother had a tea revelation at some point in my growing up, and started to introduce many different types of teas into our pantry, some flavored with aromatic spices and herbs. I left for college, accompanied by my love for coffee, while tea was demoted to a weaker form of access to caffeine, a favorite study aid of students.
On my journey as an herbalist, I discovered that tea is much more than a single type of plant. It might be a rich nourishing broth of roots and berries and leaves, to keep my immune system strong in winter. It might be a refreshing and energizing drink of fresh leaves and flowers on a hot summer day. It might be part of an evening routine to calm my nerves and prepare me for a restful sleep. I began to change my belief about tea. I also, once believed that herbal tinctures were complex and mysterious, and somewhat far removed from the plant that it is made from. Yet, in reality, it’s another version of tea.
Today, my tea is a mixture of fresh catnip, wild bergamot, lemon balm and mint, picked on an early morning stroll through my backyard herb garden. I am drinking it hot, and it lifts my spirits and makes me optimistic about what the day will bring. A bit later I’ll add a spoon of ginger honey to prepare for my afternoon tasks
I believe that tea allows us to experience the science and magic of herbs at a personal level – and provides insight that is free for our asking. Perhaps, dear reader, it may also change what you believe to be true.