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Is there anything more refreshing than early morning CCF tea sipping in oversized linen shirts with the first glimpse of warm sun rays on your face? July brings mornings when I love waking up before 6am to soak in these precious hours. We open up all the windows wide and start the fans blowing to cut the humidity that built up over night and absorb the early morning bird chirps that flood the neighborhood. During this month too...the oppressive southern humidity starts to settle in, the heat melts onto my skin and the garden is heavy with fresh, heavy, nutrient abundant veggies. Everything just feels thick and laden right now, and anything to take the edge off is most welcome. This time of year, my appetite really shifts into a scant reflection of what is once was six months ago, and I find myself craving more raw fresh fruits and veggies (which is not really great for my vata digestive tract on the regular...) and over the years I've found that the perfect solution to this predictable seasonal shift in digestion is incorporating CCF tea into my daily rotation. 

CCF Tea (Cumin, Coriander, Fennel), is a traditional Ayurvedic tea to support digestion and works as a tonic herbal support for any type of digestive seasonal shift. I find that when my diet shifts towards more raw foods (which are generally harder for the body to digest), my vata constitution has a harder time processing these foods. The combination of cumin, coriander and fennel naturally helps to ignite agni (digestive fire) to break down foods more efficiently and has the added benefit of enhancing absorption of nutrients as well. Coriander has the subtle ability to expel heat, cooling over heated (or excess) areas of the body. Cumin is a more warming and stimulating spice that aids in the absorption of nutrients and promotes detoxification, while fennel is a cooling, gentle carminative in the gut, helping to soothe and calm the lower digestive tract.  This seedy combination of herbs is relatively energetically neutral (not too cool, not too warm) and is truly ideal for almost all Ayurvedic constitutions to consume during any season. During the summer months, I often make a fresh batch in the morning and let it cool for about an hour before I pack it up in a mason jar and take it along with me for the day. 

This month, I've also been craving more minerals (and I've been so thirsty!!), so I've added in a bit of nettles to my CCF tea batch to quench my mineral lusting thirst and it works like a charm. Nettle is jam packed with nutrients and minerals including magnesium, potassium and tannins along with high amounts of zinc, calcium and chromium. It's a beautiful anti-inflammatory as well and I clearly love this herb like no other because it's been added to so many other monthly steeps I've made this year. 

When I prepare my CCF tea, I almost always use equal parts of all herbs, and I also keep a steady supply of Banyan Botanicals CCF Tea on hand as well. Nettle I'm harvesting locally if it's in season, and otherwise I keep lots on hand from  Mountain Rose Herbs who harvest their nettle domestically in the US. 

CCF Tea + Nettle

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried Nettle leaf
Serves 1

Mix all ingredients together and add to a tea steeper or to the bottom of a glass container. Cover with 2 cups hot water and let steep 12 minutes. Strain and sip before or after meals to promote healthy digestion, or strain and let cool to pack away with you for the day. 

 

I just arrived back home this week from another amazingly awesome Medicine's from the Earth conference in Black Mountain, NC and I'm still feeling the buzz of energy I always seem to absorb while I'm there. This was my fourth year attending this magical conference, and I'm always so jazzed by the time I leave I want to learn more about every. single. thing. It often feels like there's an endless stream of new things to learn about herbal medicine and therapeutic nutrition - I love that about this field. No matter how much I think I know, I'm blown away by how much more there is to learn and share. One of my favorite things about herbal medicine is learning from so many different teachers with different backgrounds... perspectives and experiences with herbs vary so much and it further reinforces that there is no one right way to do anything, but a collective wisdom that is shared from practitioner to person that is equally effective even with no single protocol. The flexibility and creativity of herbs and nutrition is endless - and I love that. 

Since returning home, the past week has been a busy one indeed, but what was most jarring was how much the garden has exploded with beets, chard, cucumbers, basil and squashes and it's only just getting started. June is the month of beginning summer abundance from our garden. Also, we finally starting hitting some 90 degree afternoons here in Richmond, VA...which I can't way I mind. I kind of like the oppressive heat of summer. But, when in need of a cool down - thank goodness for an excessive supply of cucumbers. These little viney green dudes are my favorite thing to infuse in chilled water with some extra fresh fruits & herbs for a delicious herby/fruity infused "tea" that I sip on all day for weeks. It especially hits the spot when the 99% humidity rolls in around mid July...

These fruit & herb infused teas can work with almost any fruits you have on hand throughout the seasons (including peaches, pineapple, pears, apples, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, limes, hibiscus, kiwis etc). Just add a bunch and see how you like it! The cucumbers really give it a cooling undertone, and adding in fresh or dried herbs like lavender and orange peel is another delicious addition (I use dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and absolutely love them). Experiment with each season and Sip Consciously...

Fruit & Herb Infusions

Cucumbers
Blueberries
Lemon
Strawberries
Fresh Basil
Grapefruit
Lavender Flowers
Orange Peel (fresh or dried)
Fresh Sage
Filtered Water or Sparkling Water

Strawberry Basil - In a large wide mouth mason jar, add 10 thin cucumber slices, 4 sliced strawberries and 5-6 fresh basil leaves. Cover with filtered or sparkling water and stir / smash well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Blueberry Lemon - In a large wide mouth mason jar, add 10 thin cucumber slices, 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/2 lemon (sliced and squeezed including the juice). Cover with filtered or sparkling water and stir / smash well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Lavender Grapefruit - In a large wide mouth mason jar, add 10 thin cucumber slices, 1/2 grapefruit (in chunks and squeezed, including the juice), 1 tsp lavender flowers, 1 tsp dried or fresh orange peel, and 4-5 fresh sage leaves. Cover with filtered or sparkling water and stir / smash well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

When ready to drink, pour through a strainer, smashing all the juice out. Drink chilled with extra lemon if desired. 

 

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. 

 

HELLO, I’M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

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