Sunday, August 13, 2017

Here's The Tea ...

This post may get a little TMI for some of you ... so that's your heads up!

TLDR: Get you some bee balm and brew you some Oswego Tea!

I have always had the WORST menstrual cramps. I'm talking, need to be in the bendiest positions for most of the day with a heating pad and hot toddy menstrual cramps. Lucky me, it's genetic and most of the women on my dad's side of the family have this same problem. Now, I'm not as bad as my Grandmother was. I'm still able to function at work, although it's definitely a challenge and my kids can always tell that I'm sluggish and in pain throughout the first day or 2. But recently, I haven't had these debilitating abdominal pains and I swear by what I'm doing!

If you know me, you know that a about a year ago I got really into gardening. I usually had some sort of succulent or plant that I knew I couldn't kill, but then I upgrade! I have a PLETHORA of plants (well, plethora by tiny apartment standards anyway) in my little "roof garden" as I like to call it.

EDIT: Since moving back to the Dallas area and living with my parents until the school year starts, I have more than a roof garden! It's pretty confined to a plant stand, but it's still an improvement! And, I don't have to crawl out of a window and scale the roof to get to my green babies.

One of my new garden additions this year was bee balm. I was trying to think of some little plants that I could buy for myself, but also use at school for the kids to practice watering and saw this on one of the shelves at Walmart. It said that it would attract bees, which, as you know is ideal for gardening. So I grabbed it.

It wasn't until a couple month later when I was reading the label in depth while at Lowe's Home Improvement that I paid attention to the Oswego tea part of the tag. I have been trying to find tea plants to grow for the better part of a year so I could brew my own mixture at home! And here I had a tea plant without knowing it!

I gathered some of the leaves (after making sure I wouldn't die from random plant consumption) and some other herbs from the garden. I bruised my bee balm and spearmint, mixed it with some lavender and a little bit of lime basil flowers, and steeped my herbs in some hot water for about 5 minutes. Now, full disclosure, the first time I made it, the fragrance from the bee balm was so full that I only put a few leaves in thinking it would be way too overpowering. It was off-putting at first, but I became accustomed to the strong fragrance and taste.

About a week later, I started my period. The only difference this time was I didn't have the painful cramps that I normally do. I figured I was just getting older and they were finally starting to subside, so I brushed it off. That is, until I started reading the benefits of  bee balm, or Oswego, tea. And y'all, there are SO many! Here are some that I have found:

  • reduces fever
  • reduces inflammation
  • reduces muscle spasm
  • muscle pain relief
  • relieves flatulence
  • diuretic
  • digestive aid
  • calming effects (intensified with chamomile or other relaxing herbs)
  • menstrual pain relief
Those are just the ones that stood out the most to me. My back still bothers me from my herniated discs, but I can sit in a chair longer without feeling like I'm going to be ripped into pieces. Cramping, however, has reduced DRASTICALLY! My plant hasn't started blooming yet, so I've just been using the leaves, but I have strongly considered getting a more mature plant so I can use the petal (just the petals!) for making tea.

The one caution I have seen is DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT! Otherwise, this has been a life saver for me! I love it! Click below to download my recipe for Oswego tea. It's super simple and you can add your own herbs and flavor it how you want!

Bee Balm Leaves (or petals if blossoming)
Juice of half a lime (optional)
Infuser or Tea Bags

*use herbs to your liking

Left clockwise: Bee balm leaves, lime, infuser, lime basil blossoms

Dried lavender

Bruise your herbs and place them into your infuser or tea bags. I LOVE my Healthy Steps Tea Infuser that I grabbed in the grocery store. {You can grab on here on Amazon}

 It has this nifty little plunger on the top that lets me really smush those leaves and herbs releasing all the awesome flavor.

Depending on the mood I'm in, some lime juice to top off my cuppa is perfect!

The only thing left to do after that is enjoy!

Downloadable recipe soon to come!

Happy brewing!

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