The last few years weather patterns have been rather odd. It has been fun and way more challenging this year to identify the best tea blends for each month, since the edges of seasonal shifts are increasingly unpredictable. I feel I have created some really good seasonal teas and a few that were oddly timed. When I make seasonal blends as climate patterns change, I have to be very present, trusting my observations and intuition, rather than relying on past experiences and analytical information about timing and seasonal transitions.
Nature and ecology have been a lot more exciting in both good and bad ways as our planet is impacted by climate change. We are experiencing shifts in climate and conditions of resource scarcity in many parts of the world that impacts each and every one of us. With human population booms, land development, and a truly global transience of species, ecological changes in our lifetime have been profound and extremely fascinating. There is no shortage of important environmental issues and I feel there are plenty of ways for each of us to live in an intentional way in which we are constantly learning, aligning ourselves to the needs of our ecosystems, and adapting new strategies to restoring focus and balance in the places that we live.
Ecology within and outside our bodies are incredibly complex but certainly not impossible to understand and take responsibility for. Our survival as a species for the majority of our evolution relied on our ability to recognize how our bodies respond to and impact ecosystems. We survived, thrived, and evolved for most of our species’ history by establishing restorative ecosystem models and roles. By using our creative abilities to observe minute ecological details, just as our ancestors did, we have the ability to steward our gardens and the wilderness in ways that increase species diversity, create resilience, and support the natural flow patterns of resources such as water. We already know how to efficiently and sustainably manage all of our natural resources, it is just a matter of doing it.
Landscapes are like giant immune systems. The most resilient and diverse ecosystems are much more stable, healthy, and immune to devastating pathogens, pests, natural disasters, and resource shortages. Landscapes that lack biological diversity are often very unstable because they are consistently pressured by varies types of stress, which greatly lowers their immunity and ability to rebound.
Simply having a desire to develop a keen sense of observation of how your body responds to foods, herbs, social activities, and environmental shifts is a very effective way to begin to understand physiological patterns that create balance or imbalance in your own life. Making the choice to create deep relationships with plants and your body opens your mind and heart to your powerful role in social and ecological stewardship. In this country we get to choose the role we play in society and we have the power to be agents of healing and resilience, both inside and outside. It is never too late to begin developing a relationship with your place and using the space around you to foster diversity and wildness.
I personally have a desire to be a gardener, ecology enthusiast, and herbal tea maker. I do not have a lot of money, so I do not own my own land or live very close to the wilderness. I build relationships with landowners and make extra time for native ecological stewardship in my region. Each of us creates healing and resilience in our own unique ways. My medicinal gardens are on other peoples land and I basically think of myself as a steward of nature. I feel called to foster and create healthy ecosystems that provide enough food, shelter, and medicine for all the humans, birds, insects, microorganisms, etc that use the space. My pride and personal glory is not always in what percentage of herbs in my products I grow myself, but in the diversity and resilience of the landscapes that I spend my time in and taking responsibility for. The earth will provide all that you need, granted you listen to her teachings and pay attention to her basic needs.
This month I really wanted to express my gratitude and a sense of humbleness before Nature. I have had more health issues this year than I like to admit and I am constantly presented with messages from my body’s microbiome and my gardens. Because we live in an era where ecosystems are changing very quickly in response to various disturbances including climate change, it is important to sit with how the transitions are affecting your body and the place where you live. The unpredictability can be a little scary for many people, but do not lose hope, just learn about yourself and your place.
And one last but very important note: Autumn is a transitional season. There is a dramatic change in weather and plants are dying back or going into dormancy for the winter. Please realize that you are affected by these changes and make sure you are kind to yourself as your energy and thoughts go inward and become self reflective.
P.S. Get lots of exercise!
Lavish Garden is a really smooth blend to get your body moving early in the day. Shorter days and blustery weather during fall often create tension and tiredness as our bodies have not fully adapted to the season. I hope this tea uplifts and helps increase energy as fall sets in.
Ceylon black tea is grown and processed in Sri Lanka, an island off the southern tip of India. The climate is tropical but has very distinct wet and dry seasons. Ceylon tea has been commercially produced in the highlands of Sri Lanka since 1867. The tea is grown at elevations of close to 6,000 feet and the variety requires 36-42 inches of rain during it’s two monsoon seasons for high yields and quality. It is quite a beautiful scene to see tea plantations in Sri Lanka because the plants are grown along the geographical contours of the mountains.
Ceylon black tea tastes very bright with distinct notes of citrus to me. I prefer it to most black teas that are produced farther north in India. It feels lighter and more dynamic than most black teas I try.
Added to the ceylon tea is cardamom, vanilla bean, and Pacific Northwest lavender. The tea is ideally steeped in milk with just a dollop of honey or sugar. Black teas are energizing and slightly bitter and are often drank to stimulate digestion in the morning.
Fall Immunity Tea
Please make a concentrate of this tea! I use a stovetop or crock pot method to decoct the herbs. Place all the herbs and at least 8 cups of cold water in a lidded saucepan or crockpot. Slowly simmer herbs all day or overnight. Keep the decoction in the fridge and reheat a cup each time you need one. You can add a little sweetener or milk to individual cups if you feel like it.
I have been getting several special requests from customers for a “mushroomy immune tea”. Well, here it is folks. Better get a jump on strengthening your immunity before cold and flu season. This tea is a daily tonic for your immune system but also provides a little liver and kidney support to cleanse a little bit. As our metabolism slows down during fall and winter, it is a really great idea to drink a daily immune tonic. This is a very general wellness tonic that supports many body systems. I prefer general tonics as my daily support because they quickly and quietly restore subtle imbalances as they come up. I drink my more specific immune support teas only when I feel like I am really “coming down with something”.
Reishi and chaga, in addition to being anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic, and providing immune support, are very grounding. Astragalus is a great root to have in your daily life because it helps the bodies general resistance to stress and disease, and ultimately helps strengthen immunity. Codonopsis provides a milder action than ginseng, but supports adrenals and restores the central nervous system in times of stress. Dandelion and burdock provide the liver and kidney, which are the primary organs of blood waste and toxin elimination. the rest of the herbs in this blend are balancing herbs for vitamins and warming actions.
This is a really fun blend to help hail in the cooler weather and get you excited for tea season! Honeybush tea is a rich sweet base for the roasted cacao shells, mint, tulsi, and jasmine. I really like drinking it in the afternoons on cool grey days. The roasted cacao shells are uplifting and help maintain my focus as I am writing or working. This is not a particularly medicinal tea, just a special delight for the autumn.