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.

Sweet~Tart Tea

Sweet Tart Tea

A delicious recipe for an excellent table or beverage, or Iced tea tea

A few weeks ago as Summer quietly burst upon the scene here in Southern Virginia with the ambient temperatures now hitting 90 degrees most every day. Still working the gardens with tilling, weeding and yes, even harvesting some of the early crops, I’ve been trying to get out in the garden earlier and resting in the afternoon, (or at least doing more sedentary work in the heat of the mid-day). I’ve been looking for something different to satisfy my thirst in the hot summer afternoons. I generally like “lemony” drinks. My taste tends lean to the tart and sweet flavors. While poking through my inventory in my “Herbal Apothecary” (formerly our dining room. We now have floor to ceiling bookcases with large jars of “herbs” at the ready). I  pulled out some of my more flavorable, tea making herbs to make a sharp, tart tea that I could sweeten and still let the flavor  hold up to ice. I wanted something tart, but fruity as well with a hint of spice.

By George, I think I found it!

I placed in the jar:

  • 2 well rounded TBS of dried Hibiscus flowers.
  • 1 rounded TBS of Red Clover Flowers.
  • 1 rounded TBS of Lemon Balm.
  • ½ – 1 level TBS of (any) regular Black Tea.

(I used some loose Earl Gray I had in the cupboard.

  • 4 clove buds

I decided to use a half gallon Mason Jar and make a “Sun” tea out in the back yard. I then filled the jar with cold well water and placed the jar out on a small table in the back yard that got full sun all afternoon.

Within an hour, the flowers were releasing their individual boldness with a vibrant red coming from the dried Hibiscus. I let the tea steep in the sun for 2 hours, then brought the container into the kitchen and poured (through a sieve/ strainer) 1/3 glass of the new tea. I sweetened it while it was still warm with Honey (I like my tea like I like my women Sweet and Hot, Bold and Full Bodied). But this time I iced it, as it was now 92 degrees outside. I filled the glass with ice and topped off with tea.

The explosion of flavor was unbelievable. I drank the whole glass in just a few gulps.  While I was refilling my second glass, I was thin king I need to Market this at the community market. I needed a name for it to bring to market. While I was sipping the second glassful I had potential names running through my head. My first thought that this tea is soooo  good and stimulating to the senses, I jokingly called it “Herbal Porn”. But decided This tea is just too good not to share and I best to go back to the basics and simply call it what it is, a delicious blend of “Sweet~Tart” herbs and flowers. Thus my “Sweet Tart” tea is now one of my favorites.

The TinMan

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.