Curing simple ailments at home can be as easy as putting on a pot of tea.
There are many ways to combine what you'll find in your own cupboard or spice rack that can far exceed other common treatments in effectiveness, simplicity and affordability.
Besides drinking, this tea (and others like it) can also be used as a tonic on a hot or cold compress for aches and pains or be added to a hot bath for a soothing skincare treatment and decongestant steam.
This instructable will cover the uses for different herbs and spices, the best way to brew them and a palatable, cure-all "reme-tea" recipe which is guaranteed to give you a boost - no matter what ails you.
I have all of these herbs and spices in my kitchen, but not everyone will know where to get the more obscure ones - let alone have use for a whole package of the stuff - use what you have on hand, what you already consume and enjoy the taste of. Many of the herbs used in small quantities in this instructable are abundant and familiar for many households - and can be made into a tea† all on their own such as; cinnamon, peppermint, thyme, or ginger (don't put ground cinnamon, ginger, etc into a tea ball alone - use fresh or whole dried spices when making a tisane from a single herb).
† Technically a tisane when no actual tea leaves (Camellia Sinensis) are included.
Step 1: Choosing Herbs
You can make an herbal reme-tea or tisane from many common herbs, spices and other ingredients that are easy to come by. Below is a list of the 36 ingredients used in this instructable and some of their more notable medicinal properties.
ANISE helps to treat colds, coughs, bronchitis, sore throat, indigestion, bloating, congestion, colic, anemia and pneumonia - is an expectorant, anti-nauseant, carminative, pain reliever and can contribute to the regulation of insulin.
BASIL is useful in maintaining liver health and eyesight, is high in vitamin A, magnesium, iron and beta carotene, reduces kidney stones, cholesterol, inflammation, fever and free radicals, is a fungicidal, antioxidant, COX-2 inhibitor which can aid in the treatment of colds, asthma, cough, acid reflux, indigestion and headaches.
BAY LEAF is a decongestant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, astringent and diuretic capable of aiding digestion and boosting the appetite as well as improving insulin function.
BLACK TEA is a stimulant which helps to maintain mental alertness, an anti-inflammatory and diuretic which also aids in balancing cholesterol levels and contains the most naturally beneficial form of fluoride for oral health.
CACAO NIBS are extremely high in magnesium and many other essential minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids. Cacao nibs can treat PMS, improve circulation and boost both mood and energy significantly.
CARDAMOM is an antibacterial carminative used in the treatment of respiratory illness, stomach ailments, indigestion, cramps, bloating and ulcers which can bolster kidney function and enhance the appetite.
CHAMOMILE is an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic uterine stimulant and a mild sedative which assists in stress relief and muscle relaxation, contains apigenin - a flavonoid capable of initiating renal regeneration in rats and potentially capable of triggering adult neurogenesis in humans and works to reduce nausea, bloating and singular instances of insomnia.
CHILI boosts the immune system, reduces chills and aids in pain relief due to the effects of capsaicin.
CINNAMON is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic packed with polyphenols which helps to settle the stomach, treat nausea or indigestion and improve circulation.
CLOVES are anti-fungal and anti-septic, reduce intestinal gas, treat nausea, act as an expectorant and due to a high concentration of eugenol are a highly effective analgesic optimized for oral pain.
COCONUT MILK is a healthier vegan alternative to cow's milk that is packed with many important vitamins and contains lauric acid - a healthy fatty acid that becomes antibacterial and antiviral once digested.
CUMIN is an expectorant which can stimulate salivation and appetite, detoxify the kidney and bladder and help to treat nausea, insomnia and sore throat.
DILL can cure indigestion or flatulence, aid in treating bronchitis, UTI, cough or cramps and is high in calcium.
FENNEL relieves gas, helps to treat stomach ailments or indigestion, reduces fever and encourages healthy menstruation.
GINGER is an anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, expectorant and antioxidant which aids in the production of saliva and digestive enzymes, reduces heartburn and nausea, clears sinuses, boosts the immune system, cleanses the lymphatic system, flushes toxins, stimulates the appetite and soothes a sore throat.
GREEN TEA is high in polyphenols and flavonoids, reduces blood pressure, hypertension and free radicals, improves insulin sensitivity and the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol, is proven to have anti-cancer properties and contains fluoride for oral health and theanine which is a natural relaxant and mild sedative that is capable of boosting cognition.
HONEY is anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti-oxidant, full of minerals, capable of soothing the throat, reducing GERD or acid reflux and allergies, is an antitussive that has been proven to lessen coughing in children and helps to sweeten bitter herbal teas.
LAVENDER can assist in the treatment of anxiety, flatulence, tension and indigestion and is also a sleep aid.
LEMON is astringent, antioxidant, diuretic, full of vitamin C and potassium, capable of maintaining an alkaline state and can stabilize the catechins in tea.
NEEM is used in treating hypertension, malaria, salmonella, food poisoning, thrush and yeast infections, is antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-mycotic, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, high in quercetin, and is also great for oral health and at flushing toxins.
NETTLE lowers blood pressure, reduces cramps, PMS, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia and coughs, improves circulation, is high in calcium-magnesium, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, decongestant, expectorant, astringent and an anti-histamine.
NUTMEG helps treat insomnia, nausea, inflammation and bloating, can be used to dissolve or prevent kidney stones, is an effective liver and kidney detoxifier, is anti-bacterial, anti-septic and contains enough eugenol to aid in pain relief.
OREGANO is an anti-rheumatic and anti-fungal used to treat sore throat, coughs, UTI, slow digestion, menstrual pain, malaria, insomnia, anxiety, asthma, congestion and flatulence.
PAPRIKA has antibacterial properties, maintains healthy blood pressure, is high in vitamin C, A and E, and aids digestion through the stimulation of salivary glands and the production of digestive enzymes.
PARSLEY contains apigenin - a flavonoid capable of initiating renal regeneration in rats and potentially capable of triggering adult neurogenesis in humans, is used to treat UTIs, kidney stones, colic, dropsy, bloating, flatulence and amenorrhea and also stimulates blood vessel rejuvenation.
PEPPERMINT is effective at treating nausea and cramps by numbing the nerve endings in the stomach, reduces stress, soothes coughs or sore throats, is anti-spasmodic and boosts the immune system.
PLANTAIN is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, respiratory ailments and indigestion and is astringent, decongestant, anti-toxic and anti-microbial.
POPPY (Papaver Rhoeas) is a narcotic, soporific, mild sedative, analgesic, anti-diarrheal and antitussive that is highly effective at relieving pain and inducing sleep.
ROOIBOS is anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-allergic, caffeine-free, low in tannins, lowers blood pressure, lessens d.n.a. damage due to aging, triggers liver regeneration in rats, is high in quercetin, free from oxalic acid, treats stomach cramps and colic and contains aspalathin - an anti-mutagenic.
ROSEMARY is antioxidant, antiseptic and analgesic, stimulates blood flow, helps to treat headaches, indigestion and fever, and prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine.
SAGE is an anti-inflammatory and an anti-fungal, can be used to treat sore throat, insomnia, indigestion, anxiety, hot flashes and fever, is a COX-2 inhibitor, and prevents both the loss of acetylcholine and the depletion of glutathione.
THYME is an antioxidant, antimicrobial, decongestant, aids digestion, relieves bloating, rich in vitamin K, helps to treat both respiratory and nervous disorders.
TURMERIC blocks beta-amyloid plaque, is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, a COX-2 inhibitor, liver flush, encourages growth of hippocampal b.cells, calms nerves and suppresses cough.
WHITE OAK is an astringent, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and diuretic.
YARROW lowers blood pressure, heals the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, treats fever, diarrhea, dysentery, UTIs, PMS, cramps, and heavy bleeding, and improves circulation.
YERBA MATE is an antioxidant and nervous system stimulant which increases bile and gastric acid production as well as being less acidic than coffee and having lower tannins than tea.
Step 2: Mixing & Bagging
Once you have chosen which teas, herbs or spices you will be using and in what quantities, mix them together in a small bowl. Either fill a tea ball or tea bag with two heaping teaspoonfuls of your tea mix.
For the Cure-all Reme-tea I use:
a pinch or 1/16 tsp each;
anise, cloves (ground or 3 whole cloves crushed and added), dill, chili (flakes or powder), paprika & white oak bark
1/8 tsp each;
fennel, nettle & parsley
1/4 tsp each;
basil, bay leaves (1-2 leaves crushed), cumin, neem, nutmeg, plantain, sage & yarrow
1/2 tsp each;
cinnamon (or 1-2 sticks broken into small pieces), ground ginger, lavender, peppermint, thyme & turmeric
1 tsp each;
cacao nibs, crushed cardamom pods (4-8), crushed poppy pods (1-3) & rosemary
1 teabag or 1-2 tsp each;
black tea, green tea, rooibos tea, chamomile tea & yerba mate
This mix should yield 5-6 tea bags and brew 10-12 cups of a uniquely healthy herbal chai.
Brew each tea bag in a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part coconut milk and after removing from heat, add a slice of lemon and 1-2 tsp of honey, then let it work it's magic.
Step 3: Brewing
Many of the chemical compounds and medicinal properties locked within certain herbs are fat-soluble and as such will not be effective if simply steeped in water. To get the best from your tea you must add some fat to the water and boil the infusion in that.
For two cups of tea pour 1 cup water and 1/2 cup coconut milk into a stainless steel pot, bring to a boil before adding a tea ball and then lower heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
(Optional: strain the tea to remove any herb particles small enough to escape the tea ball.)