What if rules of engagement required dissenting parties to prepare a cup of tea and sit down with each other before they fight? What if I put extra intention into having conversations over tasty beverages with people I didn't naturally click with? Would my life feel more peaceful, would I experience less battles in my daily life?
I imagine world leaders full of animosity and differing opinions being required to sit in a garden, loose-leaf blends ofherbs, flowers and roots before them. Tea pots a’ready for fresh hot water then steeping, sitting and talking, sips mixing with background birdsong. I wonder how my relationship with my niños (or neighbors) would be if I set aside time for tea and asked them to have a cup and tell me a story. How would our world look if we all renewed the Social Tea Time habit?
Herbal teas especially are amazing because they help us be resilient! Plants provide our bodies with an array of trace minerals, micro-nutrients and healing phyto-chemicals. I like to think of how homeopathic medicine works by providing micro-doses of medicines to encourage our bodies’ inherent ability to restore itself. It feels to me like all the little tidbits of amazing that are infused into the water through this cup o’ herbal hotness increase my capacity to heal, through their specific benefits, as well as the nutrition provided in such an easily digestible way.
Nothing’s Stopping you but You!
The super-great thing about tea drinking, is how accessible and cheap it is. A lot of great teas are easily purchased bulk through a favourite natural food store, local shop, farmer’s market vendor or online store. Pick a few nourishing classics like nettle, red raspberry leaf, rose hips, mint and chamomile or exotics like rooibos, turmeric and ginger, buy an ounce or two then mix a bit o’ this and that every day, get your brew on and see how you like it! Try steeping each ingredient individually as well to see what it tastes like. Brewing temperature and steeping time affects the flavor too.
No fancy loose-leaf tea pot? No problem! Boil water in a pot and brew in there or pout into a quart canning jar and use a fine-mesh strainer or handkerchief to strain. If you don't have a pot, a jar or a strainer, you can likely borrow/buy one easily enough if you look around and all these items are often onlya buck or two at a second had stores. OR pick up an old percolator and brew a huge pot of herbal tea every morning!
Did you know that a free cup of tea is often only a stones throw away? If you can find a cup, you can also probably find a gas station or food establishment that will fill it with hot water for you. Its also extremely likely you will find a neglected patch of earth with blackberries, dandelion, chickweed, plantain, nettle, wild roses or some kind of “herbal tea” source material. I highly suggest you get to know a few of your local weeds, shrubs and trees to see which are good for brewing! Books on the ethnobotany of your region are a great resource. For my area, I really like Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar/MacKinnon and All that the Rain Promises and More by David Arora. The bonus with a lot of herbs, is if you decide its not a tasty tea in your book, it might be a great ingredient to use your next salve or tincture.
A fun way to make tea more accessible to your community is to organize a SeedBomb party with seeds for plants that will grow well in your area. Seed bombs are like dirt-formed snowballs containing seeds made to be thrown into empty lots, roadsides and forlorn areas with disturbed soil that could use some life. Chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, arugula (for the flowers and a little zing, plus salad option), wild roses, mint and nettle are species that thrive in a lot of climates in North America and can naturalize pretty easily in many of the areas I have experienced out here on the pacific coast.
How do we make really tea drinking the norm instead of war? Can a cup of hotness transform our lives and create conditions for peace in our communities instead of division and animosity? Yes! Since I clearly enjoy how tea infuses goodness into our water, lets use it to infuse goodness into our lives as well. The Goodness Teatime campaign is now official.
Here is the plan, for me at least, perhaps you will join:
- Pick recurrent time, like Tuesday after work, or 2nd Saturday evenings
- Find a person you see around but don't really know, like a coworker, neighbor, fellow-commuter
- Ask them to have a cup of tea (at a park, a tea-house, your house or theirs if it seems cool)
- Topic of Conversation: some kinda goodness* recently seen
*Note: with a thankful attitude, there is always goodness to be found- even if its just the knowledge that tea grows for free if you know what to look for, that we have reasonably clean air to breathe and water to drink and that the sun is shining through our atmosphere!
Have fun Making Tea not War with us of the sippin’ sort and please, share your Goodness Teatime experience with us!
About the Author
Shaelee Evans decided she would be a botanist when she was 5 because her love of flowers was so great, and has kept to climbing trees, nibbling on florets and studying natural sciences since. Herbal teas became a part of her routine at her midwife’s suggestion during her first pregnancy, but she had to make them taste good if she was drinking them every day! Thus the seed of Goodness Tea was planted in her heart back in 2006 and finally germinated in 2014 when she set out at the Port Angeles Farmer’s market to share her passion with the world.