Why I make herbal teas

Thank you to Jane McDowell for contributing this blog post about what started her on a journey of herbal tea discovery.

Here’s the story of how drinking a double cappuccino nearly landed me in A&E and how I came to start making my own teas.

I loved coffee, I loved the taste and the smell and I couldn’t get enough of it. So much so that I remember drinking a 12 cup filter jug of coffee to myself every morning when I was on study leave for my A levels.  Unsurprisingly this level of coffee consumption led to me getting the shakes and an upset stomach. And so it was that I stopped drinking coffee and stuck to drinking breakfast tea.

Cut to a few years later and I was on my way into work one day feeling so tired that I couldn’t fathom how I’d get through the day without falling asleep. In a desperate attempt to overcome my fatigue I decided to get myself a cappuccino, not just a cappuccino but a double.

I downed the drink, sat at my desk and started my work. A short while later my heart was racing ten to the dozen, I was shaking, feeling nauseous and had a slight pain in my chest.  Then I started to feel panicky, was I having a heart attack? I did my best to stay calm and told a colleague that I wasn’t feeling well and did she think I should go to A&E? She asked me if I’d had breakfast, ‘no just a double cappuccino’ I replied and then it dawned on me that these symptoms were the result of drinking a huge coffee.

That was the last time I drank coffee, from then on it was strictly tea for me. Warm, comforting English breakfast tea, lovely. Until I discovered that tea was one of the triggers to my migraines – I found out by following a liver detox diet after getting shingles. I didn’t drink tea for 3 weeks and as soon as I did, bang, migraine. This couldn’t be right so I tested it, I avoided tea for a week, had some, boom, migraine and again and again. Caffeine and I were no longer friends. I was devastated; for me drinking tea is a comforting and social thing to do, families and friends bond over cups of tea and a chin wag, when we come home from a hard day or a long journey we reach for the kettle and the tea caddy, when we’re upset people offer us cups of tea to assuage our woes, tea is the great social leveller, everyone drinks tea.

And so began my journey into exploring shop bought caffeine-free herbal teas.  I bought all sorts of flavours by different manufacturers and enjoyed many of them and still do. Except that now I like to make my own infusions too, using ingredients from my store cupboard, garden and even the occasional forage in the hedgerows. It all started with a recommendation from a yoga teacher who suggested I drank hot water infused with fresh ginger to help with a stomach problem I was having. I liked it and over time found I wanted a bit more of a flavour range so started adding other ingredients and now I’ve developed a few blends that I think taste great and also have added health benefits.

I love to make infusions for my family, friends and clients and I often gift people the fresh ingredients along with a simple recipe card so they can make them at home. There are so many positives to making your own infusions; they are quick, easy, delicious, inexpensive and there’s no packaging and no plastic. I never run out of tea because there’s always something in the kitchen that I can use and I’m always exploring new combinations and finding new ingredients to try.

Why not try putting together a blend of your own and be sure to let me know how you get on?

If you’d like to learn more about the health benefits of drinking herbals teas as well as learn to make your own using ingredients which are easy to get hold of or might even be destined for the food waste bin, then why not join Jane and I for an herbal tea making workshop?

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