In my recent trip to the farmer’s market I encountered this particular item of delight, a mixture of local herbs called horchata. I’m not talking about the sweet milky Mexican drink made from rice. This is a deep red, mineral rich, infusion of herbs. Sold by the Saraguro Indians, this speciality mix has a long established use within the local culture and is customarily used to promote well-being, longevity, and immune strength. How could I say no?
This bounty of benefits found in local plants has brought the importance of using locally available plants to boost your health and well-being to my attention. It is important, no matter where you live, to strive to be connected with the land you live upon. For me, one way to do this is preparing and working with local organic plants.
Every Sunday I visit the local farmers market to buy eggs, uvillas (the popular golden berry), veggies and fresh herbs for the week. This is a mother-daughter pair that I frequent. Their herbs are always fresh and they have the best eggs – the yolks are orange!
The deep red color is so pretty! The taste is light and lemony.
How make a Longevity Tea blend
Here is the recipe for a nutrient filled tea that has literally stood through the test of time:
½ cup of:
- Lemon grass -anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Lemon balm – promotes relaxation, anti-anxitey and anti-viral properties
- Nettle – anti-inflammatory, useful for allergies and extremely rich in minerals
- Alfalfa – extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, also cleanses the blood
- Mint – soothing for the digestive system, associated with positive cognitive functioning such as enhanced memory and uplifted moods
- Chamomile flowers – anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory
1/4 cup of:
- Plantain – very high in vitamins A and C, also a rich source of calcium.
- Borage – nutritionally packed with vitamins and essential fatty acids, soothes the nerves and eases depression
- Horse-tail – digestive aid, diuretic, promotes milk-flow in nursing, soothes the nerves
- Fennel – antidepressant, promotes milk-flow in nursing, digestive aid
- Oregano* – anti-microbial and anti-fungal
- Thyme* anti-bacterial, anti-septic and antioxidant
- Amaranth and blood leaf – provide the deep red color and an array of vitamin and minerals
- Make: use ½ cup measurements of dried lemon grass, lemon balm, nettle, alfalfa, mint and chamomile flowers. Mix with 1/8 cup measurements of dried plantain, borage, horse-tail, fennel, oregano, thyme, red amaranth leaf and blood leaf. I suggest you buy herbs in bulk as it is more economical and very practical. Store your pre-made tea in a glass jar for easy access.
- Steep: 1 tsp per cup of boiled water (or one generous handful per liter/quart) for 10 minutes.
- Drink: it’s great warm but if you have the patience to chill it, the taste is even better! Traditionally, a lime is squeezed in and a spoon of honey or panela (evaporated cane sugar) is added to the cold tea.
Horchata is so refreshing on a hot day! Never before have a had such an array of nutrient rich and medicinally beneficial herbs all in one tea!
Tea Time Sensory Ice Play
For some fun sensory ice play, I froze tea in a little ice cube tray. While my daughter and I drank tea together we heated up a cup of water and retrieved the ice cubes from the freezer.
I lay the ice and cup of warm water out on a towel and let her explore.
The frozen tea made nice trails of color in the clear water. Slowly the ice dissolved and we talked about temperature, different stages of water, and benefits derived from medicinal plants. It was a great early science experiment!