Doula and maternal health expert Latham Thomas traces her own tea appreciation back to her granny, who passed away in 2017. “She would make tea with local honey for us to have with the homemade desserts she would serve,” says Thomas, adding that her relationship with tea would expand significantly after an apprenticeship with a master herbalist. “I learned how to integrate fresh herbs, weeds, and wild edibles in the preparations to help fortify my body,” she explains. “I see plants as allies; they carry healing vibrational energy, and tea is a powerful conduit for us to receive that information.”
Nowadays tea—specifically an overnight brew of nettles, red clover, and oatstraw or, in the summer, a blend of lemongrass, lemon balm, and anise hyssop—is a daily ritual for Thomas. And that interest is something she has imparted to her 17-year-old son, Fulano, which she credits to always making the process sensory. “One of the big reasons I like loose-leaf tea is that you can smell the plant and touch the leaves, stems, roots, and flowers in your hands,” she explains. “Children enjoy the experience, especially when you integrate them in the process and let them pick out their own herbs and flowers.” (She even recommends pouring extra tea into a bath for a fragrant soak.)
Before you brew, Thomas recommends doing your research on ingredients. Wild foraging is amazing if you have access. Because she lives in the city, Thomas gets a large yield from her kitchen garden window boxes, particularly in the warmer months. “Otherwise I collect ingredients at the farmers’ market, dry herbs over time [Ed note: Her method is to hang them upside down in the kitchen with cooking twine or jute, let dry, and then use your hands or a spice grinder to break up leaves, flowers, and roots], and save them to create preparations and blends,” she shares. Thomas also suggests ordering herbs from reputable companies and small herbal apothecaries, like Flower Power in New York or Mountain Rose Herbs, which ships throughout the U.S. and Canada and has ethical practices. Below, a few of the doula’s favorite recipes for brews with all-ages appeal.
*Each recipe serves roughly 2 to 3. Thomas uses a French press or traditional stovetop teapot, then pours liquid through a strainer directly into a mason jar.
Linden flower is great for calming anxiety, aiding digestion, and helping to ease sleeping troubles; rose is anti-inflammatory; and goji supports the immune system.
- 2 cups linden flower tea overnight brew
- 1 cup rose petal tea overnight brew
- 1 cup plant-based milk of your choice (almond, oat, coconut)
- 1 tsp beet powder
- Rose water (dash)
- Sweetener (if desired, honey or maple syrup)
- Dried rose petals (garnish)
- Goji berries (garnish)
The night before: Boil water and add a handful of linden flowers and 1 tablespoon of rose petals in two separate 16-ounce mason jars to brew overnight. In the morning strain the teas. Warm the milk and beet powder over medium heat and whisk. Add in linden and rose teas, and keep whisking. Once warm, take off the stove and add rose water and sweetener (if desired). Pour into glasses and garnish with dried rose petals and goji berries. Drink while warm.
Mint Over Matter
Mint is an anti-inflammatory that also helps with digestion, while honey is an excellent source of antioxidants.
- Fresh chocolate mint (handful whole with stems)
- Orange blossom water (a dash to taste)
- Turmeric honey (to taste)
- Fresh mint (garnish)
Boil water. Brew a handful of chocolate mint, at least 1 hour, in a 16-ounce mason jar. Strain the tea. Add a dash of orange blossom water and stir in turmeric-infused honey or sweetener of choice. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Mother’s Little Helper
A de-stressing and balancing panacea ideal for busy moms and anyone who is pregnant or postpartum, with hormone-balancing red clover, uterus-tonifying raspberry leaf, soothing oatstraw, and blood-building nettles.
- 1 tbsp nettles
- 1 tbsp oatstraw
- 1 tbsp red clover
- 1 tbsp raspberry leaf
- Honey (to taste)
- Seasonal flowers, such as tarragon (garnish)
The night before: Boil water. Brew equal parts nettles, oatstraw, red clover, and raspberry leaf in a 32-ounce mason jar. The next morning, strain the tea. Add honey to taste (if desired) and garnish with a seasonal flower (Thomas uses tarragon).
Lemon Lavender Sky
Replete with vitamin C and (thanks to the spirulina) protein, this honeyed immune booster reduces anxiety and inflammation and soothes nausea.
- 1 tsp lavender
- 1 tbsp lemon verbena
- 1/2 tsp spirulina
- Honey (if desired, to taste)
- 1/4 lemon, sliced (garnish)
Boil water. Brew lavender and lemon verbena for at least 1 hour or overnight in a 32-ounce mason jar. Strain the tea. Add spirulina and stir. Add honey to taste (if desired). Garnish with lemon.
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