Answer: I find nettle (Urtica dioica), prepared as an infusion, to be an especially nourishing and strengthening herb when someone feels listless, weak and drained. It is rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals, including the B vitamins. Oatstraw (Avena sativa) infusions may also be helpful, especially when a person's lack of vitality is accompanied by feelings of discouragement or hopelessness. When my family's health seems to be depleted I especially like to make nourishing stews. One of my favorite winter stews is made with soup bones, black-eyed peas, carrots, sweet potatoes and barley (or rice) simmered over very low heat for a few hours. In the last five minutes of cooking I add herbs such as garlic, rosemary and thyme which support and stimulate the immune system.
Question: What do you use on a daily basis (normally, not when sick or something)? What teas do you drink, etc?
Answer: After my recent post about oatstraw it won't come as a surprise that I drink about three quarts of oatstraw infusion a week. Every couple of weeks I take a break from oatstraw and drink about two quarts of nettle infusion instead. I use large quantities of garlic in my food, partly because it builds the immune system and partly because I love the flavor. (Yes, my middle name is garlic breath. Why do you ask?) I use chickweed or dandelion vinegar on my salads regularly. I eat chickweed, dandelion, lambsquarters and purslane greens, whatever is in season at the time. I have a variety of herbal teas I drink from time to time, mostly for the pure joy of them. I'm especially fond of anything with hibiscus, roses or mint. One of the lovely things about herbs is they can support my body's health and delight my soul at the same time. Hibiscus, for example, is rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C. It also has a delicious, tart, fruity flavor and when made into a tea it makes an astonishingly beautiful, rich red brew. I believe one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of herbs is to consume nourishing, food-type herbs as a regular part of one's diet and I try to live this philosophy to the best of my ability.