Life as a modern mum is crazy busy.

There’s so many things we’re told we ‘must’ do as part of ‘having it all’. (Which by the way, isn’t true! The media and manufacturers just tell us this.) Anyway, it can feel so overwhelming doing all the things being a modern mum demands of us.

Before I became a Naturopath and learned how to support my body during busy, stressful time; my heart would race as anxiety had me in its grip. I was a hot, sweaty, grouchy, irritated and frustrated shell of my former self.
Motherhood wasn’t meant to be like this surely?

No is the short answer. Being a modern mum doesn’t mean we have to feel stressed out, overwhelmed, anxious, tired, achy, grouchy, irritated or frustrated.

There are ways to support our bodies and help reduce stress levels. They can be affordable and easy to do. I used to try another coffee or sweet treat to ‘perk me up’. I think we all know that I’d feel much much worse instead. Or maybe I’d feel better and more energetic for a bit, and then crash and burn a little while later.

Imagine if you could power up your cup of tea so it leaves you feeling calmer and clearer, like you’ve had a shower or been to the toilet on your own. Or done some yoga or meditation.

Enter Herbal Teas

Let me introduce you to your new BFFs. Herbal teas for busy modern mums. You can buy good quality, loose leaf herbal teas almost everywhere these days. Notice I said loose leaf? Please, don’t compare loose leaf herbal teas to the manky chamomile tea bags you’ve had at some point in your life! There’s no comparison. Like none.

What makes a herb a herb?

Plants provide us with many things, like

  • Oxygen
  • Beauty
  • Food
  • Cotton, fabric and dyes
  • Paper
  • Materials – cork, rubber, wood, straw, paper

We also get medicines from plants. Bark, leaves, flowers, seeds, berries, grains and roots are used for healing or nourishment. When plants are used like this, they’re HERBAL MEDICINE. Many of the herbs used in Western Herbal Medicine, which has its roots in European traditional medicine, are considered weeds both here in Australia and in Europe. Naturopaths are trained in Western Herbal Medicine.

Other traditional healing modalities use some of the same herbs, but also have unique herbs. EG Ayurveda (Indian), Traditional Chinese Medicine, Australia’s Indigenous people use our native plants as herbal medicine, just like many other indigenous cultures do. Western Herbal Medicine is starting to incorporate these herbs or modify the way we use our herbs to include the way these cultures use the same herbs.

Herbal actions

Herbs have different effects or activities on the body when drunk, eaten or applied to the skin in a cream, salve, poultice, compress, lotion or balm. These effects are called ‘actions’. The actions come from the observations of traditional herbalists and their use of the herbs. Clinical research trials (‘science’) provides information about the actions and effects that herbs and the chemicals or compounds in them have on our body.

Examples are:

• Nervine – soothes and tones the nervous system, helps you avoid ‘fight or flight’ mode.
• Bitter – bitter tasting and stimulates the upper digestive tract to increase stomach acid, enzymes and other secretions. Also helps increase relaxation.
• Anxiolytic – reduces anxiety.
• Adaptogen – helps your body adapt to levels of stress, or become more resilient.

Herbs generally have more than one action.

Herbal energetics

Herbs have energies that need to be considered when deciding on what to use for the condition presenting to you. Some herbs bring heat to the body – think of ginger; while some are dry. Others are cooling, like peppermint, or moistening. You don’t want to add heat when someone has a fever, a cooling herb is a better choice.

To complicate it further, herbs usually have an affinity, or stronger effect on tissues/organs or systems of the body.

Speaking to a naturopath or herbalist is invaluable for helping to pinpoint the right herb for you.

One last warning or caution. Herbal medicine and herbal teas are natural. However, it’s important to note they do have powerful effects on the body.

Please check with a herbalist (naturopath) or other chosen health professional before consuming herbs medicinally. Especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, take medications (prescribed or over the counter) or have a diagnosed disease/disorder.

It’s important to know that some plants and herbal medicines can be poisonous or cause irritation to the skin or mucous membranes of the body (mouth, intestines, respiratory system). So please, never taste a plant without having it correctly identified and check with someone who understands plants before using them as a herbal medicine.

OK, enough background, here’s some herbal tea recipes.

Herbal teas for Mums who want calm, clarity and happiness.

Chamomile

Plain old, simple chamomile for a soothing, calming, and warming cup of herby goodness. Great for afternoons or evenings to help soothe the overwhelm and over-stimulation of a busy day. Perfect for helping to get ready for sleep. Ideal for kids, even babies from 6 months can start getting used to the flavour of the tea. Make sure it isn’t hot when giving tea to little ones. When starting out with teas, make the infusion slightly weaker so it doesn’t overwhelm the kiddies.

Please don’t compare your negative chamomile tea bag experience with the delicious flavour of a good quality blend of chamomile flowers! They are poles apart. Loose chamomile tea is divine.

1 teaspoon chamomile flowers/cup of boiling water

Chamomile, lemon balm + fennel

The perfect tonic for soothing and calming the nervous or digestive systems. Use for headaches, bloating, upset tummy (especially if it is associated with anxiety or nerves), wind, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, stress, restlessness or irritation.

  • 1 teaspoon chamomile
  • 1 teaspoon lemon balm
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel
  • Add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of dried/fresh ginger too – or instead of – fennel for digestive troubles.

Rosehip, hibiscus, nettle & licorice or lemon

These herbs have traditionally been used for their nutrients like iron and vitamin C. Rosehips and hibiscus are also a tonic for the adrenal glands and nervous system. Perfect for modern mums who are always so busy. (Have I talked about how being super busy, on the go all the time is a stressful thing for our bodies?!)  Nettle also has anti-histamine activity and vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine.

This blend is fruity, but astringent and sour. You can choose to add some licorice to this if you don’t like your tea sour, or add lemon if you love it sour! You’ll get even more vitamin C then. Sour tastes are so beneficial for our body, supporting healthy digestion, so keep it sour if you can.

  •  1 teaspoon nettle leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosehip
  • 1/2 teaspoon hibiscus
  • 1/4 teaspoon licorice or ginger or cinnamon or some fresh lemon juice.

Licorice The peacemaker

Calming and soothing, excellent during times of stress because it works to reduce the amount of cortisol your little adrenal glands need to produce. Ultimately, the less cortisol your body makes, the less depleting it is for your body. There’s less negative effects from excess cortisol then. Licorice is also soothing to sore, tickly throats, coughs, the intestines and for tummy pains. It’s excellent in constipation. Licorice provides sweetness to tea blends, and in herbal medicine we use it when someone needs some sweetness (AKA FUN!) in their life. Is this not the herb for mums?!

You can use licorice with most any other herb, as long as you like the sweet warm taste of it. I like it with peppermint (cooling), chamomile (calming), cinnamon (warming), or with ginger and fennel for tummy woes like wind, spasm or constipation.

  • Use 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of licorice root with equal amounts of the other herb.
  • (Except ginger, just use 1/4 teaspoon of ginger).

Caution for people with high blood pressure or on medications, licorice may interact with these, so please don’t use without checking with a herbalist first please.

Happy herbal tea drinking. 😊

May it bring you a sense of calm and peace in an otherwise hectic or chaotic day. Did I mention that sharing a pot of tea with your kids is a great way to connect and bring calm to the day? The tea recipes I’ve given are safe for kids to consume. (But no more than one licorice tea per day for kids.)

If you have trouble finding teas in your local health food shop, please have a look at my online shop. I have a range of teas on there that are available for postage in environmentally friendly, degradable bags.

I’d love to know what your favourite herbal tea blend is.

Acute consults

If you’d like some advice on what herbs might be appropriate for a specific illness for you or your children, I have short acute consultations available in person or over the phone (please choose this option if you or your child is contagious!). Acute consults are available for support with short-term illness,  like cold and flu, viruses (EG hand, foot and mouth; glandular fever, cold sores), hay fever, warts, recovery from gastro, tonsillitis or thrush. This isn’t a full consultation and only focuses on the presenting symptoms. There is no charge for the consult 😊 (remedies are additional).

Please understand that the following mean an acute consultation isn’t suitable:

• you’ve had the condition for more than one month;
• you’re taking more than two medications;
• you have severe allergies, asthma or eczema.

You can book acute consults any time that I’m in clinic. Have a look online at my booking page akesohealthcare.com.au/book-in/ or give me a call on 0418845944.