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Spice It Up!

Spices make your coffee better

When you go to a tea and spice shop it can be a little confusing sometimes, I mean aren’t herbs and spices just for cooking?

The simple answer is not at all, in fact, most herbs and spices have health benefits as well as making things tasty.
Take coriander for an example.  This spice is the seed of the cilantro plant but tastes nothing like cilantro.  Instead, it has a beautiful citrus flavor that aids digestion is a common ingredient in cold and flu remedies,  and has many other great health benefits.
Another favorite spice of ours is cardamom.  When you hear cardamom you probably think first of Indian food and then to Chai, as these are the most common places we encounter it.  What you may not know is that cardamom is a wonderful spice for controlling cholesterol and cancer, as well as improving blood circulation and relief from cardiovascular issues.

I have singled out the two spices above for a very specific reason.  For all you coffee drinkers out there if you add one cardamom pod and about a teaspoon of coriander to your beans and grind them all together you will wind up with an amazingly refreshing cup of coffee that will wake you up and start your day off on a healthy path.

Coriander and cardamom aren’t the only spices that can make coffee taste better and more healthy.  You can add cinnamon and clove, for instance, to get a spicy and festive cup.  Add some peppermint and vanilla next time you want a candy cane coffee instead of using chemical-laden creamers.
How about rosemary?  I haven’t tried this one but it could prove interesting.  My point is, break out of the normal cup and try something different and spice it up.

What about tea?

I know you are probably asking, aren’t you a tea shop?  Yes, we sell teas, herbs, and spices and specialize in healthy and tasty teas.  We have lots of posts about our sample tea of the day that we brew fresh each morning and the health benefits that go along with it.

Which brings me to:

Tea of the Day

Tea of the DayEvery day for the past few months I have seen another friend stating they have come down with the current crud, or have caught it again.  There are definitely some bugs making the rounds this season that are pretty harsh and one of the best ways to combat them is to bolster your immune system.
One way to help keep healthy is to increase your vitamin C and zinc levels which there are plenty of supplements, fruits, and veggies that can help with this, think blueberries and elderberries they are great on oatmeal or in a shake.
Another great way to keep healthy is to include immune boosting tea in your diet.  Today we took our Nilgiri tea and added coriander, echinacea leaf, galangal root, stevia leaf, and vervain.
You have seen us use most of these before but you might be wondering about vervain.  Vervain is a liver stimulator which helps detoxify the body, it also is a great anti-inflammatory which helps reduce pain and alleviates chest congestion.

 

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Foragers Wanted!

Good morning, I hope everyone got to work/school and the such safely.  Today’s tea is Darjeeling with Hibiscus, Galangal, and Stevia which will give you a little caffeine kick with a nice citrus and ginger finish.  We really like to use stevia leaf in our blends as it adds natural sweetness without calories and is very easy to control in its leaf form.

We are also looking for Foragers to help provide some local medicinal herbs to our store.  If you have access to land that you commonly forage and there are no pesticides or other contamination we would like to talk to you.  We are working on a verification system to ensure we are getting quality ingredients that were harvested in a sustainable manner and with proper permissions.

Mucous Relief Infusion

Alternative to OTC Cold Relief

We previously posted a couple of natural throat and cough relief infusions and today we have one to help get that nasty mucous out of your lungs and bring you some relief.
There are a few over the counter (OTC) pills you can get that do this but they have any number of side effects, a very frightening one is that they can increase mental depression.  As if your cold wasn’t bad enough the treatment is going to make you feel bad about it?  I don’t think so.

Enter the herbal power houses of Horehound, Mullein, and Thyme.  Horehound is a gentle stimulating expectorant, Mullein helps sooth your cough and Thyme is an amazing antimicrobial, antispasmodic and bronchial relaxant.  In short it will gently encourage mucous to be expelled from your lungs while soothing your throat and lungs and helping your body to heal itself to get over the cold.

Another benefit to this treatment is that it is a fraction of the cost of an OTC pill.  You simply add 3 grams of each herb to 2 cups of water and boil it for 15 minutes.  After the boiling is finished thoroughly strain it into a sealable jar, great use for empty jelly jars, and take a tablespoon multiple times throught the day.

We will be making an infusion of this tomorrow morning that you can come and try.  We can also measure the herbs out for you and combine them into serving size bags.

Cough Remedy

Cough Remedy and Immune Booster

When our herbs arrived I needed to test out a few things like our scale, bags, and measuring devices.  To accomplish this I decided to make a blend that would hopefully help with our daughters seemingly non-stop cough, you know that one we all get this time of year and none of the cold remedies work?

I sat down with some of our herb books and decided on 3 herbs that would make up the remedy: 2g Galangal root, 1g Mullein Leaf, and 1g Echinacea leaf.   I took this home and simmered it in 473ml of water (that’s about 2 cups) for 5 minutes and then let it rest for another 15 minutes before straining.

The resulting infusion was very pleasing to smell and our daughter gobbled up the spoonful that I gave her without any foul remarks or issues.  That night she was not coughing and when she woke up she was quite chipper.