"If you are not sitting down and enjoy your garden by June, you need to find another hobby"
This month I am writing from my urban garden. "June is here and I treasure the moments of enjoying a cup of tea by Clover and Timothy. I discovered this lovely tea through my yoga practice. Whether I am on the road or at home I have made a routine to practice some sort of meditation or quiet time to myself. A few years back when I took a yoga class with Alicia she brewed her tea after our class. I was very intrigued and found it soothing that we all share great cup of herbal tea before we all go on our way.
Recently when she told me that she is launching her new handcrafted herbal tea line. I asked her that she will be my blog guest this month. Here is the recent conversation we had one afternoon at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden Alicia shared with me.
A tisane is any beverage made from plants other than Camellia sinensis, the well known "tea" plant. Tisanes are made from many flowers, leaves, berries, barks and spices of this earth, the wonderful plants that we call herbs.
I first started working with herbs ten years ago. I had just discovered yoga and was seeking alternative ways to care for my body; studies in herbalism and Ayurveda followed naturally.
I then moved to Southeast Asia and settled in Singapore. The streets of my neighborhood were lined with herb shops selling all sorts of dried roots, exotic berries and barks. Inspired by the local scene I set up my first home apothecary and started to experiment.
When I returned to NYC I began wildcrafting, making my own remedies and exploring local herb farms. And so it began, my herb company Clover and Timothy was born.
I blend my teas with three main things in mind. First I consider nourishment. As the base for each tea I choose herbs that are known nutritive tonics. These are herbs that support our general wellbeing and are high in vitamins and minerals. Herbs such as stinging nettles and oats fall into this category. I also choose herbs that support overall health by being calming, mood lifting and digestive.
Flavor is no less of a consideration. When we eat or drink flavors we love we release feel good hormones that help us relax and connect. In my blends I always include aromatic herbs and spices and I pay careful attention to subtleties of each plant so that the herbs complement each other. This creates flavors that are full, unique and fun to drink.
Last but not least I blend for quality and work diligently to create the most vital brews available. Many commercial herbal tea are grown with high levels of pesticides and are grown in soil that has been stripped of nutrients. All of the herbs I work with are organic, many are fair-trade and many are local. When I created the line I choose to feature plants that will thrive in local gardens and farms in the Northeastern US. I am committed to working with local farms and local plants whenever possible and to spreading knowledge of these plants and their properties.
My hope is that by getting people excited about herbs, I will inspire people not just to drink and enjoy herbal tisanes but to create more herb gardens and reclaim the age-old art of herbal medicine.