When someone is feeling blue and sad, one of the best ways to lift the mood is to offer a cup of tea filled with uplifting herbs.

 

 

Infusions

 

With these teas take the ingredients and then addd a cup (8 ounces) of hot water and let steep for 10 minutes with a lid over the top of the tea.  Then strain out the herbs and drink.

 

Uplift

1 tsp lemon balm

1 tsp lavender

1/4 tsp licorice

 

Brighten 

1 tsp St. John’s Wort

1 tsp Red Clover

1/2 tsp Rosemary

1/2 tsp Jasmine

 

Lemon Lift

1 tsp Lemon verbena

1 tsp St. John’s Wort

1 tsp Albizzia flower

 

Rose tea

1 tsp Rose

1 tsp spearmint

1/2 tsp sage

 

Heart Nourish

1 tsp Milky oats

8 hawthorn berries

1 tsp motherwort

 

Tulsi Lift

1 tsp Holy Basil

1/2 tsp Mint

1/2 tsp Rosemary

 

 

Decoctions

 

 

With these drinks, take a pint of water and add the herbs in a pot.  Then bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Then strain out the herbs and drink.  There should be around 8-10 ounces of tea left.

 

Strong Spirit

1 tsp Rhodiola

1 tsp Eleuthero

1 tsp Reishi

1/2 tsp licorice

 

 

Chai

1 cinnamon stick

ginger root- one slice of a 1/4 ”

1 clove

1/8th teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 tsp black pepper

6 cardamom pods

(add a bag of black tea and steep for 5 minutes afterwards if caffeine is desired.)

 

Stimulant Beverages

 

 

Perhaps the most common way people improve their mood is by drinking stimulants of some sort that usually contain caffeine or chocolate.  These time honored ways of elevating our energy levels come with a cost as they can wear us out or cause insomnia if taken too frequently or in too high of a dose.  But the reality is that most everyone consumes coffee, tea and chocolate because…they stimulate us, and some cheer and pleasure and…they work, at least in the short term.

Knowing that, its good to think of ways to make stimulant beverages that are yummy.  Here are a few of my favorite.

Mate

 

Mate Latte.  

Start with taking 1-3 teaspoons of mate and adding it to a cup of hot water.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes.  Then warm up a cup of milk (almond milk adds sweetness and is a favorite of mine here.)  Strain out the mate and add the warm milk.  Delicious.  A variation of this is to use a teaspoon of jiaogulan with a teaspoon of mate.  Jiaogulan has many health giving properties that you can read about here.

 

 

Tea

There has been a lot of focus on green tea being the more health giving type of tea due to higher levels of flavonoid antioxidants.  However, both appear to have immune and cardiac improving properties and research has pointed to both green and black tea reducing the risk of stroke.

White tea:  Tea buds are picked when they are still tightly enclosed and then just wilted and dried.  White tea really retains the flavor and essence of the plant.

Green tea:  This is the type of tea that is gathered and either heated by steam or pan firing to avoid oxidation.  Green tea is highest in anti-oxidant flavonoids.

Oolong:  This is semi-oxidized tea that tends to retain the flavor of green tea while having a more earthy, roasted flavor.

Black tea:  These are fully oxidized teas that are rich and strong in taste and flavor.  Many of these teas are familiar to us such as English Breakfast, Darjeeling or Earl Grey.

Pu’erh:  These are teas that have been fermented and tend to improve with aging and time.  They can be bought green or black.

Recipe:

1-2 tsp per cup is common.   Green tea is best steeped in 160-180 degree temp water to retain flavor.  Black tea can be steeped in boiling water.  In general tea only needs 2-3 minutes to steep.  The longer the steep, the more bitter the flavor and the higher the caffeine content.

Also- check out Rosalee de la Foret’s “The Best Earl Grey Tea”. 

 

Cacao

 

Cacao beverage:  Cacao has long been known to elicit feelings of pleasure and joy that are attributed to it containing the constituent theobromine as well as containing caffeine. This alkaloid mimics caffeine in having stimulating qualities, increasing vasodilation and diuresis.  Though theobromine is accented, cacao actually has hundereds of compound that work synergistically to give it its magical effect.  Like anything to do with chocolate its key to get ingredients that are ethical from sustainable sources that don’t involve horrible labor practices like child slavery.

 

Classic Hot Chocolate

1 tablespoon of cacao powder

1-2 tablespoons of honey

1 cup of milk.  (Almond milk is excellent here and you will need less honey if you use that because it is sweet already.)

Lightly heat milk in a pan and stir in the cacao.  Then gently add the honey.  Add a 1/8 tsp of cinnamon for additional flavor.

 

 Hot Chocolate with Maca

1 tablespoon of cacao powder

1 teaspoon powdered maca

1/4  teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon of honey

1 cup of milk

Lightly heat milk in a pan and add in the ingredients.

 

Making your own Chocolate

Yes I know its not a beverage but we’ll include it here.   Making chocolate is not that hard and something easily done in your kitchen with the right ingredients.

1 cup of cacao powder

1 cup of cocoa butter

3/4 cup of powdered sugar

1/8th teaspoon of sea salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Optional:  pick one of these (not all together).

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon, rose petals, lavender, hawthorn, or peppermint 1/8th teaspoon of nutmeg (all in powdered form please)

1/8th teaspoon of cayenne

You will need a double boiler for this.  I usually just use a nice glass cooking bowl and place it in a pot of water that is filled up enough to heat the bowl.  Heat up the water and then add the cocoa butter and melt it.  Then remove it from the heat and gently add in the sugar, cacao powder, salt and vanilla extract.   You can also choose to add some herbal ingredients here such as seen as above.  I like to usually add one or occasionally two of those herbal ingredients to the mix.  Whisk it all together until everything is blended and then you can place the chocolate into shapes on a parchment paper or molds and refrigerate them into they are hard.  Voila you have homemade chocolate.