Tea blending is a totally magical process. Fewer things make me feel more in control of my own health and wellness than being able to intuitively blend my own herbal teas. And fewer things make my kitchen space feel more “potions class” than my apothecary nooks. When you start to create your own apothecary at home, you’ll start to gravitate towards those herbs you’re reaching for or craving regularly. These may change seasonally and that’s absolutely appropriate, and you may also have those tried and true herbal allies that are always present in your daily tonics routine.
Read More: Creating an Herbal Apothecary At Home
Intuitive tea blending starts with the practice of sipping things slowly and consciously. Of really getting to know the flavors and personality types of the herbs you’re gravitating towards. This may sound obvious, but it’s a time consuming practice that basically just takes devoted time to get to know your herbs. That’s part one. Part two is getting to know your own body more intimately. Herbal tea blending can be exquisitely matched to your body’s needs at any time. You’ll just need to practice tuning into your body each day, asking what it needs, and then trusting your intuition to choose the best herbs to take care of that part of your body.
For example, if you wake up one day and you notice you’re feeling unusually tired or fatigued, maybe you have a subtle headache and you’re feeling sluggish and a little grumpy – stop and pause. Take a quiet breath and notice calmly what areas of the body are you feeling the most. The headache….The fatigue…heavy skeletal system. Maybe your lower back is drawing your attention. Do these symptoms make you feel stressed? Or frustrated? Or anxious because “you just don’t have time to be tired today!“? Ask yourself what you need. This may look like “I need nourishing, building energy and a cooling, opening sensation for my head”. When we’re tired, our body is depleted. We need to be built up sustainably (not with quick caffeine shots). When our head hurts, our blood flow may be constricted (or we’re dehydrated), and we need cerebral opening and blood flow support. I’d be reaching for a nutritive herb for building mineral support, a cooling aromatic herb for headache support, and an adaptogenic herb for sustainable energy / adrenal support. This might look like nettle + spearmint/peppermint + holy basil.
Read more: Creating a Care Plan for Yourself
Practice for you: Choose your favorite herbal tea. This can be something you’ve created yourself, or a favorite tea blend from someone else. To begin, try a tea with at least 2 herbs in the formula (and give it a good sniff – make sure this tea’s aromatics resonates with you in that moment). Brew a cup to that teas specifications, and then just devote some time, maybe just 20 minutes, to the act of sipping consciously. Find a nook, and sit all cozied up with your mug of choice. Note the flavors, the aromatics, the astringency, the energetics (is it warming? cooling? sweet and stimulating or savory and calming? etc), and most importantly, how does it feel in your body? What do you notice before, during and after the tea experience. Herbs work subtly, and it takes some time to really feel their impact on your whole body and mind. Later that day, choose one of the herbs from that formula and try that herb in a tea all by itself. Get to know that flavor and energetic quality of that single herb. Notice the subtle difference of that herb alone vs in a formula. One by one you can try each herb in your favorite formula, and this is a great practice for getting to know herbs intuitively so you know what to reach for when you want to intuitively blend up a new formula everyday.
If you need resources on where to find single dried herbs, check out your local health food store’s bulk department, or you can order them from Zack Woods Herb Farm / Starwest Botanicals / Mountain Rose Herbs
1) Check in with your body daily. Where is your body asking for support?
2) Choose your herbal actions (building adaptogen? nutritive mineral rich? calming nervine? cooling and opening? etc) You can learn more about this in the link below – Guide to Herbal Formulating.
3) Smell each herb deeply and make sure they’re what you’re craving in that moment. Tea is a sensory experience!
4) Blend in equal portions (approximately a scant 1/2 teaspoon per herb or a little less) for 10oz liquid.
5) Sip consciously and slowly for at east 20 minutes, noticing the flavors, energies and whole body effects before, during and after consuming.
And keep notes! Start a guided herbal journal to keep memories and thoughts on your herbal experiences for each herb!
Read more: Guide to Herbal Formulating
Inspired: Becoming an Herbalist Inspiration Board
Photos by Renee Byrd