Category Archives: Herbal medicine

Hojicha – super yummy green tea

We all know that green tea is packed with antioxidants, making it great for our health. Sometimes though being good for you doesn’t equal nice tasting. In the case of green tea, unless you are super careful with the way you brew it, then it becomes very bitter. I am one of those people that brews a cuppa, walks away and totally forgets it. By the time I come back it’s ruined. 

Fear not, there is an alternative to the standard green teas sold in supermarkets: hojicha. Hojicha is my very favourite green tea. It is made from the leaves or twigs of the normal green tea varieties, but after picking is roasted in a clay pot to give it a nutty, smooth taste. It also lowers the caffeine, meaning it can be drunk all day long. I love to make a pot and drink the whole thing, cup after cup. 

Image

Hojicha tea (image from wikimedia commons)

Hojicha is quite robust, and can stand up to 3 infusions from the same leaves, making it perfect for pots. The best brewing time is 2-3 minutes, but you can forget about it and return 10 minutes later and it will still be drinkable. 

Image

The brown coloured leaves are characteristic of hojicha (image from wikimedia commons)

The antioxidant effects of this tea are lowered, as the catechins are partially reduced by the roasting process. It still contains approximately 60% though, leaving it on par with black tea overall. The EGCg and EGC levels are only slightly less compared to sencha though, so it will still give you fantastic health benefits. If you want to boost the absorption of the catechins, pop a slice of lemon in too. 

I buy mine from T2. You will not find it at supermarkets, but it is worth searching local tea stores for.

Happy drinking. 

2 Comments

Filed under Herbal medicine, Mummy health and wellbeing, Weight loss

Two ways with tea

I LOVE tea. It is an obsession with me. Not to the point where I have a fancy multi temperature kettle and know anything technical about it, mind you. Just a love for the versatile beverage, and a belief that a cuppa and a chat could bring peace to the world.

I recently visited a fellow naturopath, and have my tea love taken in an all new direction – icy poles! Yep, you read that right, icy poles. In a bid to entertain our toddlers, my mate got them some home-made icy poles. Naturally I enquired as to the ingredients, and was told they were made from tea and fruit. Genius!

So here are some ideas for my first way with tea: Tea icy poles!

Fruit infusion tea with berries

Make a strong cup of a fruit based tea. I love blue lagoon from The Tea Centre, so I make mine with that. Toss in some frozen blueberries and freeze.

Cooling peppermint and cucumber

Brew a pot of peppermint tea, allow to cool, and water down to taste. Grate some cucumber and mix through. Perfect for a hot day.

Chamomile and orange

Great for anxious kids. Brew a strong pot of chamomile, and add segmented oranges. Freeze.

If you have a young baby who is teething, you could make this without the orange. It would make a perfect teething icy pole. If bub is too young to hold this, soak a corner of a face washer in the tea and freeze. Bub will be able to manage this much easier and get cool relief from the iced corner.

Ginger and raspberry

Excellent for upset tummies and pregnant ladies. Grate fresh ginger and infuse for a good long time. Add some frozen raspberries and freeze.

My second way with tea is to make a refreshing ice tea. Those bottled versions at the shop horrify me, as they are full of sugar and additives. Make your own instead!

Brew a strong pot of your favourite tea. I always use herbals, and again the blue lagoon fruit mix is my favourite. Once cooled, add sliced lime or lemon, and some quartered strawberries. Put in the fridge to chill. Drink liberally for refreshment. The strawberries give the tea the most delicious fragrance and taste. Enjoy

1 Comment

Filed under Herbal medicine, Recipes, Snacks for Children, Sugar free, Toddler snacks, Uncategorized

Treating fever as a friend

My baby girl has her first real fever. I say real as it’s the first from an infection (throat), not just a vaccination-induced fever. After letting the fever run it’s course for 18hrs, it got to the stage where I had a visibly distressed child and a rising temp. So off to the doctors we go, where I am promptly handed a script for antibiotics and baby nurofen and receive no other practical advice. I think we sometimes forget that our doctors advice is not gospel; after some prodding and questioning it becomes clear that antibiotics are not vital yet. I get some guidelines about how sick is too sick (constant temp over 39, floppy, lethargic, no food intake, or still sick after 3 more days) and leave with a resolve to give my daughters immune system a chance to do it’s thing.

The truth is fever is not an evil enemy that must be stamped out promptly. It’s actually an important component of our immune system, especially for young children who have not yet developed specific immunity. Traditional healing methods, including naturopathy, actually try to enhance the fever! What a novel idea in our western culture, with it’s focus on pharmaceuticals for all pains. Obviously young babies should not be allowed to develop dangerously high temps, but reaching for the baby panadol at the first inkling of fever is also unhelpful.

So what to do? I am using a variety of herbs, homeopathic remedies, common sense and cuddles to help my baby get through.

  • I found the ‘pain and fever relief’ liquid from Brauer has been good for bringing the temp down slightly, keeping it below 39.
  • Ginger tea helps keep bub sweating; an important aspect to body temperature control.
  • Chamomile tea is helping soothe her before naps (and me!).
  • Some echinacea tincture is supporting her immune system, allowing it to actively fight the infection and providing an important immune development lesson at the same time. I found the best way to administer this was adding her daily dose to a water bottle and let her sip from it throughout the day.
  • Keeping clothing suitable and an occasional cool cloth on her head is helping her comfort levels.
  • Keeping my sweet baby in arms is giving her a sense of safety and love. We all know how nice it is when someone takes care of us when we are sick, it is therapy in itself!

The antibiotics are in the fridge, ready to use if we do need them. But for now my natural remedies are doing nicely.

(I have used the baby nurofen twice. Both times she needed sleep, but couldn’t relax due to temps approaching 39 degrees. I felt it was more important for her little body to get some rest at those times. I’m not anti-medicine, I think it has a really important place. I just feel that it should be the last resort, not the first option).

2 Comments

Filed under Fever, Herbal medicine, Natural Remedies