Not only is hibiscus beautiful but it aids our bodies in so many ways. Hibiscus can be used for treating loss of appetite, colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; for dissolving phlegm; as a gentle laxative; and as a diuretic to increase urine output. Hibiscus tea is cultivated from the tropical Hibiscus sabdariffa flower, it is native to tropical climates but was first cultivated in Africa. It produces a tea that is bright red in color and packed with fruity flavor that is rich, bold, and citrusy. Hibiscus has a long history of use in both cuisine/healing and has been used in Egypt and Sudan for hundreds of years, where it is called “Karkade.” In ancient Egypt, the tea was served cold and used primarily by Pharaohs to cool off in the desert heat. In Africa, hibiscus has been used for centuries to regulate the body temperature, lower blood pressure, support heart health, and alleviate upper respiratory troubles. I enjoy adding hibiscus to any tea I make but primarily I add it when I need to help out my immune system or I am feeling very anxious. One of my favorite blends is a mix of hibiscus, elder berries and flowers, echinacea, slippery elm, lavender, and rose. I will add green or black tea if I need some energy.
As I sit and contemplate this Full Moon, on Halloween, I find myself questioning what I need to let go of. Last Full Moon I decided to let go of control, which has been a battle but I am getting better. As I sit and drink my blended black tea I am faced with what I want to let go of this Full Moon. As I sat gazing out the window at the trees, my mug warming my hands, it came to me like a brick to the heart. I need to let go of knowing. Knowing what is going on, what people are doing, who they are talking to, etc. Me ‘needing’ to know has always been a defense mechanism against anything I feel may, or can, hurt me. Being vulnerable has always been a space of great fear for me. I am without my defenses, I can be hurt deeply. Not that I will be, mind you, but that I know it is always a possibility because of the life I have lived. Sitting with this thought of why I need to let it go puts me in a space, no, a feeling of freedom. To be truly free from those shackles I have created to ensure my safety. I love and fear the realizations I may come to whenever I participate in the ritual of tea. Even if just doing a quick steep to sit and write it is a ritual, the tea is its own form of magick on our psyche. I am ready to let go and be vulnerable, to step into that space in my heart to which I have never been before.
Yesterday, my 4 year old had a fever and was feeling awful so I decided to brew up a special blend for the both of us. I still have to look up what different herbs do for our bodies but some I have come to learn by heart. The star of this blend was Hibiscus which is known for being rich in Vitamin C, among other healing attributes that I will discuss in another post. Hibiscus, slippery elm, elderberry berries and flowers, echinacea root and herb, dandelion root, rose, lavender, and a bit of a healing blend I created months ago which has many other herbs in it. You can really create a tonic that will aid your body in healing. But it takes more time than just pouring a dose of a cough syrup, or fever reducer like acetaminophen. Even though this ritual takes time, I also believe it is the slowing ritual that aids in healing us; Taking time to carefully choose, steep, and cool just enough. Then the act itself of drinking the tea is an anxiety reducer. Nature has so much medicine for us. The biggest part of that medicine is to slow us down and to take our time.
Yesterday, as I drank my Earl Grey, I was mesmerized by the steam rolling off the surface of the hot liquid my mug was containing. It got me contemplating surfaces and how there is so much more below what we can see. As my mind wandered I was brought to the image of an iceberg. Stoic, pronounced, bold. But, even the biggest iceberg on the surface has an even larger part of itself submerged. People are a lot like icebergs in that way. We portray a particular version of ourselves, a small tip of an enormous iceberg. Getting to know someone is a lot like diving under the surface of the water and getting a glimpse of all that they truly are. On the surface we are small, but as we go deeper under that surface a huge being resides. Just like the iceberg. The things tea brings our minds to contemplate upon.
As I write this I am thinking about why I am more often than not drawn to coffee over tea. Even though I adore tea and would prefer to drink only tea. I think I have come to a conclusion to my conundrum. As in my previous post earlier I talked about how tea is a ritual, how it causes us to slow down and enjoy life in a different and more thought provoking way. A deeper way to connect. Coffee is zingy! The taste, aroma, and even ritual of coffee is all about movement and speed. Tea is mellow. I would love to get to a space where tea trumps my coffee ways. But how to go about this!? It really is all a change in habits. I wake up, drink and energize drink, workout, then coffee. What if I switch it up? Get up early, tea and contemplation, energize, workout, then coffee (if I am still wanting it at that point). As I type this I can see how that would be a great way to start my mornings! I am going to blend up some more recipes and see how working my morning like this will work out for me. Baby steps to great change.
Drinking tea is a ritual. Whether you are brewing from loose leaf or tea bag. It takes time, patience, and thought. I myself will find myself shying away from having tea because of this some days. But I make the time, even if my mind doesn’t want to slow down. It is a meditative time, a time to connect with yourself (and if you are able, others). I will often sit and ask myself why I opted out of this peaceful moment when I do skip it. The question always arises unanswered. I think that the quieting of the mind and body forces us to look within at ourselves, at how we are thinking/feeling/doing/etc. This introspection into life can be a ‘look’ that most people do not want to make. But when we sit and take the time we can improve on the things we are running away from. We can face them in peace.
I adore intuitively mixing my own blends of loose leaf teas. As I currently sit writing this I am enjoying a tea made of rose, lavender, echinacea, orange peel, and black tea. When I hold a hot mug of tea and breathe in the hot aroma it brings my soul peace. It puts me in a reflective space where I think about life and the world around us. Human nature and why we do the things we do. I am here to share this reflective time of my day with you.