Friday, September 27, 2013

The secrets behind Ayurveda

Tea? Don't mind if I do.

If you know me, I swear by chamomile. It's my preferred drug of choice. You may laugh... but literally anytime I get sick... I just sip on some of that and I'm cured.

So, a couple of days ago, I drove past my favorite little nursery and saw they were hosting a tea making class. Naturally, I was intrigued. This was right up my alley. I couldn't wait! Not to mention, the woman giving the talk was my favorite tea maker in STL, The ReTrailer.

Lisa began making her own tea once she had heard about Ayurveda at a yoga training. Ayurveda is the Sanskrit word for "knowledge of life." She handed out flyer about her practice, here is a little blurb from it.
"According the Ayurvedic principles, every aspect of life-the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual- contributes to your overall health. By balancing these elements and addressing the body as a whole, Ayurveda restores the equilibrium when you're ill and keeps your body's natural defense system strong when you're healthy." 

So, everyone has their own dosha. You can be a Vata, Pitta or a Kapha.
- Vatas being visionary, imaginative, full of energy. Spacey anxious and uptight.
- Pittas being confident, passionate, organized and fiery. Typically strong and have fast digestion. When in balance, they're very dependable.
- Kaphas tend to be loyal, kind hearted and love their sleep. Tend to crave things that aren't really healthy for you... but they should be eating veggies and fruits.

You can take this quiz to find out which one fits your body. But if your name is Amanda Jackson, you shouldn't bother taking the quiz. You're a Vata. I'm a mixture of Kapha and Vata.

Tea suggestions for Vatas:

  • Relaxing and grounding blends. 
    • Grounding herbs (earthy) 
    • Fall foods: kale potato and roots
  • Chamomile,
  • Dandelion root 
  • Rose
  • Hibiscus tea
  • Apple/cinnamon/ allspice blend
  • Rosemary 
Tea suggestions for Pittas:
  • Cooling and relaxing blends:
  • Spearmint
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Cucumber
  • Lavender 
  • Sage
  • Fennel 
Tea suggestions for Kaphas:
  • Stimulating blends:
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Floral teas
  • Lavender
  • Spearmint
  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
Tips to make fresh herb tea:
- You'll need more herbs then you think you will! Herbs release more essential oils once dried, so if you're using fresh... add more! 
- Cover the pot while brewing or not drinking. This will keep more essential oils in. They are released when water is cooling off. 
- Cut off the herb at the greenest part. Place the herb in a pot and poor water over it! If you're using lemongrass, just cut off about 6 inches. If you're using a root, make sure to submerge the root- not the flower or leaf. 

Tips to make dry herb tea: 
- Snip plant, dry it, crunch it up. Crunching it releases essential oils. 
- To dry, bundle your plants and hang upside down. Keep in dark place for 3-7 days. The herbs should be stored in an airtight container which is stored in a cool dark place. They can last for 6 months. 
- Be weary of tea shops that store teas in clear containers.
- When brewing, cover the top of the pot! 

Ice Tea:
- Double the batch of herbs, when it is cool the tea will lose flavor.
- Rosemary, Rose, Fennel, Spearmint, Floral or Cucumber are great ideas for iced tea. 

Water temp.: 
- Florals should have a lower temperature. Bring the water to a boil and then set aside before brewing. 
- Hardy herbs (such as rosemary or sage) can withstand a rolling boil. Brew for about 10 minutes. 
- Roots can withstand anything. Rolling boil and brew for as long as you like. 

- Stiva is a natural sweetener. One leaf should be sweet enough... well, depending on how sweet you like your tea!
- Honey is great! Local honey is the best. Choose a flower honey (vs. a clove honey) to keep it a neutral taste. 
- Sucanat is one step removed from raw sugar. 

- Cheese cloth is great
- Paint strainer bags: come in bulk- and you can buy it from a local hardware store! 
- Normal mesh strainer. 

Great reasons to drink tea: 
- Lemongrass: anti-inflammatory, immune builder (helps with seasonal changes), reduces anxiety 
- Rosemary: Increases circulation 
- Spearmint: Musanogenic 
- Valerian Root: helps to calm you down, reduces anxiety.
- Jasmine: Reduces anxiety 
- Lavendar: Reduces anxiety, soothing, anti-bacterial 
- Chamomile: Reduces anxiety 
- Ginger: circulatory stimulant, helps with fevers, helps with nausea, eases arthritis

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