When Erin phoned The Herb Shoppe in her Brooklyn neighborhood to see if they had nettle leaf—in stock, Jacqui Daniels, the manager, said, “Yes, of course,” but she also had something else. Jacqui blended a brightly colored allergy tea that’s not only the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but also a powerhouse against seasonal allergies.
Above: The ingredients for the tea include nettle, red clover, fennel, spearmint, peppermint, eyebright, yerba santa, calendula, lemongrass, lavender and stevia.
Each herb was added for its particular healing properties:
- Calendula, red clover, and fennel keep mucous membranes hydrated to help ward off infection.
- Nettle is a natural antihistamine.
- Spearmint and peppermint help open up airways.
- Lavender has antiseptic properties in case infection creeps in (calendula is great for this too).
- Eyebright is helpful for a whole slew of sinus issues and especially good for hay fever.
- Yerba santa acts as an expectorant, reducing mucous and phlegm.
- Lemongrass and a pinch of stevia are there to help make the tea tasty.
When you’re brewing herbal tea for medicinal use, make sure that you prepare a strong decoction. For a single 8-ounce serving, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of herbs. If you’d like to make a larger amount to drink throughout the day, you can brew your tea in a large mason jar. In this case, The Herb Shoppe recommends 4-5 tablespoons of herbs for a quart of water. If you’re making a single serving, pour almost boiling water over your herbs and let steep for about ten minutes. Erin brewed her tea in a glass teapot made by Kinto. A similar Unitea Glass Tea Pot by Kinto is $34 from The Gift Network.
Keeping a lid on your pot as the herbs steep will make a more potent remedy. If you use a quart jar, you can prepare your tea in the evening and let your herbs steep overnight. Strain your tea in the morning and enjoy it all day long.
For the best results, drink about 32 ounces of tea daily. Starting ahead of allergy season is the best route to take as the herbs work best as a preventative. But if you’ve already had your first sniffles, its not too late to begin.
For another DIY natural remedy, see DIY: Bug Repellent Balm.