Finding my new favorite herbal tea

This Spring we started free ranging our small herd (20) Angora, and Pygora goats outside the designated fenced pasture area’s of the farm. Goats are browsers and not so much grazers like sheep, cattle and horses. Goats prefer to eat leaves off various trees, bushes and vines according to their preference (including poison Ivy). There is a lot of goat desirable underbrush under some of the big old Pecan and Walnut trees. There are patches of Lespedeza. Honeysuckle vines and Virginia Creeper abound, Wild Roses, etc. We have lots of browse for the goats to enjoy all around the farm.

Angora's in the wild
Yesterday, I was out in the back forty trying to wrangle the goats back home or at least get them closer to the barn and pasture and not so far afield. The goats tend to wander freely and venture toward the deep woods if left unattended for any great period. But they will stay together pretty much as a herd when they are free ranging in the back meadow along the tree line. To get their attention I reached up with my walking stick to pull down some low branches on a big old pine tree. When I rattled the pine bough all the goats came running. Goats (and I) love to munch on pine needles. Pine needles are very tasty, citrusy and loaded with vitamin C and other nutrition. While the goats were busy munching and indulging on their new found oral treasure, I gathered a bandana full of the new growth pine tips for a cup of Pine Needle Tea to be enjoyed later.

Pied Piper of Bellfire
I headed back toward the house with all the goats in tow. On the way back I stopped at one of the many black berry thickets near the barn as the black berries are just coming into season and some were ripe for the picking. I topped off the bandana with fresh black berries. When I got back to the house I put a pot of 1 1/2 quarts of cold water on the stove to heat/ boil. I added the fresh pine needles to make a tea. As the water started to come to a boil I added about 1 – 2 cups of the black berries. I took a wooden spoon and mashed them slightly.

Time for the taste test.

The pine flavor wasn’t coming through enough as I overwhelmed it with the ripe fresh berries. I added about 1 – 2 TBS of lemon grass. I let the mixture steep in the hot water for 20 minutes then strained it through a steel mesh strainer. I like my tea sweet so I sweetened with sugar. The taste was amazing. I think the taste of the Pine Needle/ Black Berry/ Lemon Grass is one of the best brewed natural tea’s I’ve ever tried. The flavor is bold, rich and fruity and it is loaded with Vitamins. The tart citrus of the Pine and Lemon Grass was just enough to offset the sweet ripe berries.

This is nothing like any store bought tea, it is wild and free and the flavor is amazing.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Clove and it’s Theraputic Values

Here are some of my notes on the use of Clove buds. A common kitchen spice but with some very under used, undervalued therapeutic qualities.   *Please note the addendum on ‘Depression”.


Off. Name: Eugenia Caryophylatta
Aromatic, Analgesic, Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial, Anti-viral, vermifuge.
Although prized as a cooking spice and even burned for incense for centuries because of its highly aromatic and cleansing qualities.

Some pertinent side notes on the therapeutic uses of Cloves.
Clove is the unopened buds of a large tropical evergreen tree, primarily from Madagascar, Zanzibar but now, the Philippines, Asia and So America.
The essential oil from clove buds has been used for centuries as an remedy for toothache because the oil, (Eugenol) is highly analgesic when it comes in contact with the mucosa (membrane lining) causing numbness to the affected area, thus diminishing tooth/ gum pain. Also In folklore, Keeping 2 clove buds between tongue and cheek then sucking on the two clove buds will reduce cravings, ie: alcohol, tobacco.
In Chinese Medicine Clove has historically been used to treat Diarrhea, ringworm, athletes foot for it’s anti-fungal qualities.

Although the primary therapeutic uses of clove is usually as an adjunct to other herbal preparations. Clove is one of those herbs that are synergistic in nature allowing other herbs to work well. Traditional uses include placing one or two buds of Clove to steep in a tea or glass of warm water as an effective Digestive aid, reduce Nausea and stop vomiting. Because Clove being a Both Gram Negative AND Gram Positive anti-bacterial, it has a high capacity of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and even anti-viral uses as a medicinal adjunct.

 Clove Oil, (Eugenol) has been used by dentists, (until recently) for root canal and dental surgury. Essential oil of Clove placed one drop at a time on a cavity, tooth ache, even tooth or gum abcess is highly effective in reducing pain immediately and controling gum infection. (This application really works when you can’t get to a dentist right away) The effects are immediate.

 Clove’s anti-fungal, vermifugal abilities also have been used to kill and dispel worms and parasites from the digestive tract by killing the eggs of the parasite when used as a hot infusion/ tea.

A single Clove bud dropped into a hot/ warm infusion of a regular cup of tea provides a stimulating/ warming uplifting feeling, settling stomach complaints, aiding nausea. Studies have shown that Clove can be as effective as St. Johns wort in the treatment of Depression. I use Clove  as one of the primary ingredients in an herbal tincture specifically for the natural treatment of Depression.

Also:  I have a quick fix for Sinus infection, Bronchial cough and expectorant for congested lungs, using Clove. 

 Place in a small glass or ceramic bowl:

 6 oz. warm tap water

1/4 tsp of Cinnamon

1/4 tsp of ground Clove or 5 Clove Buds

1/4 tsp of fresh Grated (preferred) or powdered Ginger

1/2 tsp Thyme herb (Also a powerful anti-septic)

 Heat in the Microwave for two minutes.  Place on table, next to a chair.

 ** Add 2 drops of essential oil of Eucalyptus.  Immediately sit with face over the bowl and cover head with a towel. Breathe vapors deep.

 This will trigger an immediate cough response as the vapors will break break up sinus and bronchial congestion.

 Breathe the vapors deep and repeat as necessary.

 (I will cover the bowl or place in a sealed jar and place in the refrigerator. Can be reheated and used for another day or two) Just add another drop of the eucalyptus as this is lost in the vapor.

Immediate and remarkable relief

 Comments?  Questions?

 Please add to comment section, or contact TinMan at Belfire Botanicals

Rosemary Herbal Tea

I had been reading an recent article on “Rosemary Herbal tea” and its ability to reduce stress levels through the active component Carnosic acid. Rosemary contains many healthful constituants, including a powerful “Rosmarinic Acid compound”. Rosmarinic acid is known to effect the viability of HIV virus.

Rosemary is also Anti-Biotic, Anti-Viral, Anti-Fungal.

Through following links on two medical reports on Rosemary Extracts, I came across this notation from two University studies. Rosemary has the ability to promote nerve growth in damaged nerve disorders and injuries. I automatically thought of Parkinson’s sufferer’s , stroke victims, where nerve damage resuted from cerebral bleeding and traumatic injuries where nerve damage resuts from nerve impingements, degenerative disk disease and trauma to spinal column.

Rosemary extract may be a possible alternative for relief.

The TinMan

Any thoughts?

below is a quick paragraph on this study:

Neuroreport. 2008 Aug 27;19(13):1301-4.

Beneficial effects of carnosic acid on dieldrin-induced dopaminergic neuronal cell death.

Department of Biotechnology (BK21 Program), College of Dentistry (BK21 Program), Chosun University, 375 Seosuk-dong, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.

Carnosic acid (CA) is one of the bioactive polyphenols present in extracts of the herb rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). In this study, we examined possible protective effects of CA on neurotoxicity induced by dieldrin, an organochlorine pesticide implicated in sporadic Parkinson’s disease, in cultured dopaminergic cells (SN4741). CA (5-10 muM) pretreatment showed potent protective effects in a concentration-related manner and prevented dieldrin (10 muM)-induced caspase-3 activation, Jun N-terminal kinase phosphorylation, and caspase-12 activation. Furthermore, dieldrin-induced downregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor production was significantly attenuated by CA. These results suggest that CA may safeguard dopaminergic neuronal cells from environmental neurotoxins by enhancing brain-derived neurotrophic factor and repressing apoptotic molecules.