Posted by Lindsay Kluge on Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Holiday Herbal Tea

When you have a house full of people, or an intimate family gathering, there’s nothing cozier and inviting than a table full of holiday herbal tea. Folks can help themselves, and gravitate towards whichever warming, delicious scent they choose. Serving a buffet of herbal teas throughout the day is one of my go-to holiday practices. It’s warm and cozy. Extremely inexpensive. And some have the added benefit of supporting digestion, relaxation, and energy, too.

My tea cupboards are always filled with a variety of organic teas from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have an herbal tea for practically any occasion and need, and every single one is absolutely decadent and delicious, providing a full body sensory experience. Always organically and ethically sourced, hand crafted, and in small batches, these are some of my favorite, treasured tea choices for holiday gatherings.

Holiday Table

Holiday Table

Honeybush Tea

Favorite Herbal Teas for Holiday Gatherings

Orange Spice – Ideal for the morning or early afternoon, this warm and soothing Ceylon tea blend is accompanied with orange peel, cinnamon chips and clove to give it a delicious seasonal yule flavor. A perfect substitution for coffee, it contains a bit of caffeine, but not too much! I love throwing some of this in a French press in the morning, and straining after 5 minutes for the perfect morning brew.

Honeybush – A naturally sweet tea that’s fruity and delicious! I like to brew this in a glass tea pot because the amber red color is just so gorgeous. This is such an easily sip-able tea for anytime of day. It tastes like a smooth combination of berries, roses and honey. (Loved by kids, too!)

MintThe perfect after dinner pot of tea. The Mint Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs is a combination of peppermint and spearmint, bursting with aromatic, fresh fragrance that will fill up the entire room. Mint helps to aid digestion, so this is an ideal choice to serve after the larger holiday meals. Tastes perfect alone, or with a bit of lemon and honey for added sweetness.

Chamomile – Aromatic and flavorful, simple chamomile flowers are a family favorite. With a calming nervine effect, this is my preferred tea to serve in the evenings to ease everyone into relaxation and deep sleep (especially children). I always serve this with a bit of honey, and a slice of lemon.

Peace – This herbal tea formula is so stunningly beautiful, I place a bowl of the herbs out for display that folks can draw from. The herbalists at Mountain Rose Herbs formulated this blend to cultivating gratitude, happiness, and wisdom, keeping in mind the need for balance and rest in our busy lives. Combining chamomile, spearmint, lavender, rose petals, cinnamon bark and passionflower, this is a crowd favorite for it’s gentle, joyful quality, and spark of floral flavor.

Tea Accessories : Glass teapot / Tea strainer / Mugs / Cotton tea nets / Tea pot warmer

Want an herbal beverage with a little more kick? Read More: Ginger Spiked Chamomile & Lemon Hot Toddy

Herbal Tea

DIY Holiday Tea Making for Kids

So, a favorite magical project for kids during holiday gatherings is for them to make their own little tea formula. Let their inner wizards shine.

Supplies: Small mixing bowls / Muslin bags / wooden scoops / Single herbs safe for kids such as chamomile, rosehips, peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, nettle, marshmallow, rose petals, lavender, oat straw.

How-to: Set out a collection of small bowls and fill each with a single herb. Let the kids choose 2-4 herbs to add to their own bowl (about 1 teaspoon of each herb). Once they’ve chosen their herbs, let them gently mix them up in their bowls with their hands or a spoon. Add their formula to a muslin bag and make a little label with the ingredients. And now they have their own special magic tea blend. Add 1 teaspoon of their formula to 1-2 cups of warm water and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain, and enjoy. *Ideally this is a project for children 8 years and older.

Read More: Choosing Safe Herbs for Kids

Herbs for Kids

Healthy Ginger Snap Cookies

PS – the cookies shown here are the Double Ginger Molasses Cookies sweetened with coconut sugar from Will Frolic for Food. These seasonally spiced, soft, delicious cookies are packed with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla – all of which are available at Mountain Rose Herbs!

Posted by Lindsay Kluge on Thursday, November 14, 2019
Herbalist's Guide to Stocking Your Apothecary

This is a continuation of my first apothecary post – Creating An Herbal Apothecary at Home – where I go into detail about specific herbs and their herbal actions to stock your apothecary. This post will explore all of the extras that can make your home or professional apothecary fully functional and versatile. 

At the peak of my apothecary venture after 6 years in business, I stocked over 75 herbs in tea, tincture, and powder form that I shared with 5 additional naturopathic doctors. These were all herbs that I had used for years, and each year I would add a few more to my collection due to client or fellow practitioner demand. It grew and grew, and honestly it was one of the most glorious visual expansions of my business that I could enjoy every day. Every month (sometimes every day), I would learn something new that would enhance the functionality of my apothecary, and I would try it out. Whether it was a new labeling system, new measuring devices, better (wider mouth!) bottles for storing, or a more efficient method of tracking my herbal batches, my apothecary journey felt very fluid and adaptable. As my business model changed, so did my apothecary set up.

Personally, I take a minimalist approach these days.

Currently, I keep a steady rotation of about 15 single herbs (in tea and tincture form). These are herbs that I know as well as my own self, and utilize every single little bit of their medicinal, energetic, and ancestral gifts. As much as I loved the availability of dozens and dozens of herbs, I kept gravitating towards really paring down my collection, and utilizing a handful of herbs that offer a huge array of varying therapeutic benefits. Herbs that I continually researched and found new and old ways of incorporating into client protocols. When I eventually sold my apothecary to my former clinic, I embarked on a new model of stocking my apothecary. One that now minimally suits my personal needs better. Every single herbalist and their business structure may require something different, and that’s the beauty of the time honored herbal apothecary! Adaptable, and fluid, meeting you right were you are.

Below are a few of the staples that I always keep on hand in my apothecary, no matter how big or small my herbal collection becomes.

herbal apothecary

Tips for Stocking Your Home or Professional Apothecary

Buy only what you need. There’s nothing more disheartening in your treasured apothecary than 12 months after you bought a gazillion herbs, and find you need to discard a hefty bunch of them due to lack of freshness or expired batches. Don’t be too overzealous with your ordering unless you know you’re going to go through them. Or, harvest minimally and as needed so there is minimal waste or un-used herbs.

Source from excellent, sustainable, ethical, and organic origins. If you have a local herb farm or small scale herbal grower, support them if their practices are ethical and good. If you’re purchasing from an herb company, look for organic certification, ethical and sustainable growing practices, and some quality assurances (like offering certificates of analysis for their herbs after testing for impurities or contamination). Some of my preferred herb supplies include Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, Zack Wood Herb Farm, Galen’s Way, and Gaia Herbs.

Store your herbs for optimal shelf life. Take some time to set up your herb storage space in a place away from direct sunlight, and is temperature controlled. I recommend always using glass storage containers like wide mouth amber glass jars. Read more: 5 Tips for Storing Herbs

Essential measurements. I keep at least one electronic scale with ability to measure in grams, and 4-5 graduated cylinders for tincture measurements. I also keep metal scoops, small metal funnels, and a collection of small, medium, and large mixing bowls.

Labels! For everything you have, label it with common name, botanical name, date, and contact information if you’re giving formulas to clients. You can use any labeling system you like. Simple Avery labels work fine, or an electronic Dymo printer. I also love these gorgeous assorted apothecary labels.

(For the professional apothecary) Herb tracking. This is important to keep track of if you are distributing herbal formulas to a wider range of people, including clients. This can be a binder where you track your herb batches (upon arrival), and list dates of when bottles and bags were opened, and when they were used up. I would also recommend you keep track of any COA’s (Certificates of Analysis) if offered by your herb suppliers for any herbs ordered. This just supports you in your quality control measures.

Cleaning materials. Always keep your compounding space tidy and clean (even if it’s in your own kitchen). I always keep a few bottles green cleaning spray, biodegradable paper towels, and rubbing alcohol (for rubbing the necks of tincture bottles after use so they won’t stick closed).

Not sure which form of herb to keep on hand? Read more: Guide to Herbal Preparations

Magic Herbs

Visit the Apothecary Shop page to view some of my favorite goods and herbs to stock your own apothecary. Do you have your own apothecary set up? I’d love to see it! Share with the community using #curatingmyapothecary and let’s get inspired by each others’ space!

Photos by Renee Byrd

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