May is one of my favorite months of the year. It's beautiful here in Richmond, Virginia this time of year. The breeze is slight and cool. The days seem longer. The humidity isn't quite here yet. The birds are all over - serenading at every corner. And our garden is having an absolute renaissance. May 1 is also my birthday, and I've spent almost the entire day on my porch soaking in the early spring dreamscape that presented today and listening to my favorite David Bowie albums. An ideal day is so many ways. It's perfect transition weather from cool to warm, from dark to light, from sleeping to waking. I've been craving more room temperature and cooling teas lately as the warmth starts to settle in more permanently. This month, my May Steep is a warm infusion left to cool, filled with invigorating and nourishing herbs that taste just like the spring breeze feels. Damiana, Hibiscus, Nettle, Mugwort & Lavender are the lucky ones this month. 

I've always loved the versatility of herbal tea. The strength and potency and steeping calculations and how technical it could all be, and also how forgiving a simple brew can be when you're feeling lazy and nonchalant about it's ingredients. Sipping an herbal tea brew is just pure magic, and this recipe is pretty forgiving. So much so I never even wrote a recipe down until I came to publish this post. I've been making this for days now, a little different every time, never measuring anything and I like the subtle differences in flavor from day to day. I've been throwing this together once I get to my office each day, varying the amounts of damiana and mugwort, really, depending on what I'm feeling like that morning. More damiana when I need more of a kick in the pants and am feeling a little sluggish. More Mugwort when I need more support with mental focus or have lots of cerebrally heavy (and focusing!) tasks that day. Mugwort is SO GOOD at helping me focus and keep to the task at hand...especially when they're tedious computer tasks (and it's a main ingredient in my Book Nook Tea just for that reason!). Hibiscus gives it a sweet, springy, colorful and vibrant flavor. Nettle adds the punch of minerals and nutrients, and lavender adds the subtle sweetness to offset the bitter of mugwort. Together, perfection. 

This recipe makes a month supply of tea. Brew yourself up a pint or two early in the day and sip all afternoon. Add a twist of lemon or extra dash of honey if you're like more zing or more sweetness.  If you don't have access to herbs locally, you can source them from Zack Woods Herb FarmMountain Rose HerbsStarwest Botanicals & Oregon's Wild Harvest. Joyous May wishes, everyone!

May Steep

20 grams Damiana
20 grams Hibiscus
10 grams Nettle Leaf
7 grams Mugwort
5 grams Lavender Flowers
3-4 cups filtered water
1 tsp Raw Honey
Makes 1 month supply

Blend all herbs together and store in an airtight glass container. When making a batch of infusion, add 1 heaping tablespoon to a 1 quart mason jar and cover with just warm, filtered water. Add 1-2 tsp raw honey to taste and a twist of lemon if desired. Stir well and let steep at least 10 minutes before straining out the herbs. Drink immediately, or let cool and drink throughout the day.