I am so proud to say that I’ve written a recipe ebook! It is available for purchase now in my Etsy shop, HERE.
The Spring Tea Booklet contains 20 tea recipes based on the season, nature, nature-based festivities, folklore, art, cozy aesthetics, and more! It also includes tips on tea-making and sourcing herbs and ingredients.
Lovingly created, written, photographed, and designed by folk herbalist Anna Reisz (me!!), this tea recipe booklet is a cozy and magical way to ground into the season. These recipes are approachable and perfect for anyone, from beginners to experienced tea blenders. Draw on the inspiration in these pages to create teas for self care, parties and special occasions, gifts, and more.
Spring Full Moons (3 recipes) Persephone Ace of Wands Robin Cottagecore Anne Shirley Element: Air Spring Equinox Light Academia Spring Forest Intention: Creativity Spring Zodiac Signs (3 recipes) Beltane Brigid Beatrix Potter Spring Dreams
I am grateful to anyone who considers taking a peek at this creation that I am proud of and considers purchasing a copy. This cozy herb thing is something I do because I love it, and I am so happy when others think it is pretty cool, too. Your support helps me continue to be able to do this—learning, creating, and sharing.
I am proud to say that the winter edition of Botanical Anthology, a plant-centered, seasonal digital publication with over 45 articles from 30 contributors, is available for purchase!
I am so excited for this beautiful publication to be out in the world, and so proud to be a part of it along with so many creative contributors. This issue is gorgeous and bursting at the seams with lovely, cozy, healing, creative, and meaningful ways to tap into the spirit of the winter season. I personally can’t wait to dive into all the inspiring lore, wisdom, recipes, rituals, crafts, and more.
In the winter edition, you’ll find articles, recipes, and ideas to help you:
*Sip on immune tea, miso broth, wassail + gingerbread golden milk
*Learn how to make ghee, gluten free sourdough and activated nuts
*Whip up hand sanitizer, a warming foot bath and body butter
*Forage wintergreen, raspberry stems and chaga
*Develop rituals + routines for the season ahead while listening to a winter playlist
*Weave wreaths, make trinket dishes + draw narcissus
*Celebrate Winter Solstice, Midwinter + Valentine’s Day with simple observances
And so much more!
I contributed five pieces to this edition, including an article about immune-boosting herbs with a tea recipe, a piece about the folklore surrounding juniper, a deep-dive into a few winter deities and their plant associations, and a review of one of my favorite books about tea. I so enjoyed writing these articles, and I hope you get a chance to read them!
The Botanical Anthology is a seasonal digital magazine for plant and nature lovers with articles to help you incorporate herbs into your home apothecary, kitchen, foraging, crafts, and wintertime celebrations. It was founded by the Plant Wonder Collective, a group of like-minded plant lovers from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life who each have unique perspectives and approaches to share. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit through the winter season with the words and ideas from our hearts to yours!
Until 12/15, grab your copy for $20 and receive the bonus evergreen booklet. Download instantly and dive right into the 150+ pages of plant magic!
It’s the time of year when digestion is key! Heavy, rich foods abound due to the holidays and the approach of winter, and many of us need some extra relief.
Often, digestion teas rely heavily on ginger, but I find it too spicy and irritating sometimes. I often need more of a cooling approach to indigestion instead. That’s where this tasty vanilla digestion tea comes in!
Vanilla is an aromatic stimulant and carminative botanical, with anti-inflammatory, digestive-soothing, calming, and fever easing benefits. These properties make it a great ingredient in a digestion tea!
In the interest of a more cooling approach to digestion, I’ve combined the vanilla with meadowsweet, mint, and fennel seed. If you add honey or your sweetener of choice, it’s a light and tasty dessert all on its own with a taste reminiscent of candy canes!
A bit of a breakdown of the other herbal ingredients I’ve combined with the vanilla here—
Mint can be both warming and cooling, depending on your constitution, but I find it affects me in a soothing and cooling manner. It is a mildly stimulating herb, so it aids in moving things along in the digestion process.
Meadowsweet is a top tier digestion reliever. Its cooling, drying, astringent, inflammation modulating, and even pain modulating properties make it an indispensable ally. However, if you’re sensitive to aspirin, you should avoid meadowsweet because it contains naturally-occurring salicylic acid. (If this is you, substitute chamomile or elderflower.)
Fennel is one of my very favorite herbs for digestion. It’s a pungent aromatic herb with antispasmodic and carminative properties, making it ideal for a digestion tea. Interestingly, I found a hand-written note in my great grandmother’s herbalism books suggesting to use fennel for calming. Though it isn’t technically considered a nervine or adaptogen, there is an inextricable link between gut health and mental health, so it does check out!
Here is the simple and sweet recipe for cooling vanilla digestion tea:
1 part vanilla (use chopped vanilla beans or powdered vanilla bean—my choice for economical purposes)
2 parts meadowsweet
2 parts mint
1 part fennel seed
Brew for about 5 minutes; longer can cause a bitter taste from the meadowsweet.
Do you suffer from digestive issues this time of year? Let me know if you try this tea! You might find that soothed digestion leads to a calmer state of mind this time of year!
I can’t believe October is already more than halfway through! Life has certainly been busy over here in the Herbology Faerie’s apothecary. My children have been home for their two week fall break, my husband took a trip for work, there have been visitors and visits, sickness, and it’s just been a bit of chaos around here. But I have still been connecting with the plant world, so I am here to share a bit about that!
This month has been elderberry month at the Plant Wonder Collective! I have so enjoyed working with lovely elderberry this October. I have not yet had the time to write up a monograph post for elderberry this month, but I will try to do that before October is done. Meanwhile, here is a link to the Plant Wonder Collective’selderberry monograph post!
I have concocted a couple of fun elderberry potions this month which I have shared on Instagram. I’ll share them here, too, to make them easier to find. First up: an elderberry hot toddy!
Next, I shared the beginnings of my elderberry infused gin this week. It is still infusing, but I will be straining it soon and sharing a cocktail or two made with this lovely liquor. Here is the initial post about its creation!
Happy September! It’s a new month (one of the best ones!) and time for a new plant profile. Since I’ve officially joined in on the Plant Wonder Collective on Instagram, I’m going to begin featuring the PWC herb of the month in my plant profile blog posts to coincide. So, for September, let’s take a look at lemon balm!
I think of lemon balm as being one of the most “chill” herbs I’ve had the pleasure to befriend and work with. The spirit of this plant is so happy, cheerful, and uplifting. And its scent and taste are, too! It should come as no surprise, then, that lemon balm is considered a relaxing nervine herb. But it is so much more than that, too!
Originally native to southern and Central Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, lemon balm is now much more widespread in its naturalization. One thing I find fascinating about lemon balm is its varied recorded historical uses—from the Greeks and Romans, to the Middle Ages, and beyond. It was a favorite strewing herb and had many medicinal, culinary, and even perfuming applications. In folklore, lemon balm is associated with protection and joy (echoing its medicinal qualities) and is associated with the goddess Diana.
Lemon balm has a primarily sour taste (though many find it sweet as well) and is energetically cooling and drying. It has a wide range of properties—relaxing nervine, antiviral and antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, digestant, and probably more. Lemon balm is well known as a gentle, safe aid for stress, anxiety, indigestion, nausea, and insomnia. It is also helpful for colds, fever, flu, and other infections, as well as topically for rashes, small wounds, and bug bites. It is great for the heart, cognitive function, and pain, and can help with depression and seasonal affective disorder as well.
One thing I’ve observed about lemon balm is that it smells and tastes much more potent and lemony when fresh. Dried lemon balm is equally useful and you’ll find it in many herbal teas, but nothing compares to fresh lemon balm. If you don’t have access to garden space, this is one herb you’ll definitely want to consider growing in a sunny windowsill!
I’ll be sharing more lemon balm recipes both here and over on Instagram throughout September, but I’ll leave you with one of the simplest and most soothing tea recipes I’ve encountered. It’s a classic you’re sure to have seen before on other recipe blogs or books, or even in a supermarket tea. There is a reason for that! It tastes wonderful cold or hot, it’s safe for kids and adults, and it is a gently relaxing tea to help with stress, anxiety, depression, digestion, colds, and insomnia.
1 part lemon balm
1 part chamomile
½ part lavender
That’s it! You can use fresh or dried herbs interchangeably in this recipe; I use what I have on hand. I like to cold brew big jars of this overnight and sip it any time of the day. I also share it with my kids, because they love it!
Are you a lemon balm lover? What is your favorite way to work with lemon balm?
• Rosalee de la Foret, Herb Mentor monograph
• Rebecca Beyer, Wild Witchcraft
• Sarah Farr, Healing Herbal Teas
• Tina Sams, Herbal Medicine for Emotional Healing
Not long ago, I shared a post that was a brief overview of nervine herbsand how they work to relax, tone, soothe, calm, and even gently stimulate the nervous system, digestive function, and circulation. Nervines are such gentle, steady friends!
I thought today I would touch on another, often overlapping category of herbs and botanicals: adaptogens.
Where nervines primarily help calm, adaptogens are known for helping to stabilize and protect. They are extremely grounding; help to protect from fatigue, overwhelm, and burnout; aid against anxiety, depression, and chronic stress; support and protect brain function; build resilience and uplift; and aid the immune system. Basically, adaptogens are powerhouse holistic mental and physical health supporters! Though every person’s constitution and health situation is different and they must use caution before trying any new substances, many adaptogens are generally as safe as most nervines are in normal doses.
If you prefer a less clinical perspective, think of it this way. While nervines can offer you a steady, calming pulse of reassurance and mental and physical support, adaptogens can hold you up, offer you inner strength, sharpen your mind, and keep you going. Adaptogens have your back.
So, who are these adaptogenic allies? Here is a list of a few of my favorites!
Most of these adaptogens can be found where you purchase herbs online if you can’t find them in person—Mountain Rose Herbs is often where I go to look for herbs on this list.
And now it’s recipe time! I thought I’d share two adaptogen recipes: a tea and a tincture. The tea is a great one to sip in the morning—you might even want to replace coffee with it sometimes for a more stable energy boost. In both the tea and the tincture, I’ve added some nervines too for taste and added benefits.
Simple Strength Adaptogen Tea:
1 part green tea
1 part tulsi
½ part mint
½ part cardamom
¼ part fennel
1 part ashwagandha
1 part astragalus
1 part nettle
½ part mint
. . . . . . .
Place herbs in a clean glass jar. Fill about ½ inch above the herbs with vodka, using a wooden spoon to make sure the herbs are fully covered. Place waxed paper and canning lid or bpa-free plastic lid on jar and store in a cool, dry place. Shake the jar each day, and if the herbs rise above the vodka or appear to have absorbed too much, add a bit more to cover them. (You can also move your mixture to a larger jar mid-process if needed.) Allow to macerate for 4-6 weeks. Strain into dropper bottles; take one dropperful either in a glass of water, in another beverage, or under the tongue.
If your health situation supports it, then daily doses of a couple of adaptogens that are suited to your needs can be an amazing holistic health approach. Many people sip on an adaptogen-based beverage every day instead of coffee to build up a strong foundation and mental and physical reserves. (I actually enjoy drinking coffee that has adaptogens right in it!)
Are you new to adaptogenic herbs? If not, which are your favorites? If so, which do you think you’d like to try?
Cold brewing is a pretty popular method for making coffee. It’s easy, it takes the bitter edge out of the coffee, and your brew is ready and waiting when you get up in the morning. But cold brewing isn’t necessarily everyone’s go-to method when it comes to herbal tea. While cold brewing isn’t ideal for every situation, it can definitely be an incredible tool for making herbalism simple, accessible, and an easily integrated part of your daily routine! (And for the record, it is my go-to more than half of the time!)
When is cold brewing herbal tea ideal?
There are plenty of scenarios in which cold brewing your herbal tea overnight in the fridge is a great option.
If you’re using fresh herbs like lemon balm, mints, and rosemary, cold brewing brings out all the freshest, greenest flavors and energies and pairs well with fresh fruit.
When working with bitter herbs like chamomile and nettles, cold brewing works wonderfully to cut the bitter edge. This also goes for black and green teas—and it renders them slightly less tannic and caffeinated, if that’s what you’re going for. And if you’re a sweetener or sugar type, you might even find that your cold brewed teas don’t need any added sweetness like hot teas do!
Some herbs are more mucilaginous and simply do better in cold water, or are at least very well-suited to cold water. Marshmallow root, licorice root, and hibiscus fall into this category.
For convenience, I love to cold brew big jars of my daily sips overnight. I use this method especially for daily nourishing and supportive tonic teas I want to sip through the day. They’re just there, ready and waiting when I need them—no excuses or barriers to getting my “health potion!” And if I’m going to be on the go, I can just grab my jar and take it with me, for even more convenience.
Obviously cold brewing your tea is especially useful in hot weather, or anytime if you’re simply a cold beverage person. You don’t have to wait for the hot tea to cool down if you brew it cold!
When is cold brewing not the best method for herbal tea?
Sometimes, there are certain factors that make cold brewing teas less than ideal. Here are a few occasions to think twice about cold brewing.
If you’re using your tea to treat a cold or cough, hot tea may be best. Hot tea extracts quickly to address your symptoms, it can make a stronger tea more quickly, and the heat may soothe your nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, and lungs more effectively.
There are certain botanicals that just don’t brew well, or as well, in cold water. Roots, woody herbs, and seeds tend to need hot water in the form of a regular hot brew, or even a decoction, to extract all the flavor and constituents effectively. Some examples of these herbs include chai-type spices (cloves, dried ginger, allspice), dandelion and burdock roots, astragalus, reishi, dried hawthorn berries, dried rose hips, and many others.
Even a few tender herbs sometimes do better when brewed hot, too, if you’re looking to extract vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients more fully to make a true “nourishing infusion.” Nettles are a good example of this—though I personally dislike the taste of them as a hot tea enough that I’ll take my chances with the lesser amounts of nutrients in a cold brew! Raspberry leaf and red clover are other herbs that must be brewed hot if your goal is to extract the most nutrients possible.
Cold weather is also, of course, a possible factor. Sometimes you prefer a cozy, warm drink to encourage circulation and warm you up!
What do you need to cold brew herbal tea?
Cold brewing herbal tea does not require much in the way of equipment, tools, or skills. The most important part is a container—large glass jars work best—and herbs! You can even begin getting your feet wet by cold brewing about 3 store bought tea bags at a time per quart jar. (Jasmine green tea bags are my favorite to do this way.)
You will also need a way to strain your tea, whether you opt for a mesh kitchen strainer, a metal tea strainer, or environmentally-friendly paper tea bags (my usual choice for convenience). You can also bypass all these separate items by using a French press (reserved only for tea and not used for coffee) or a cold brewing jar.
My method for cold brewing herbal tea is very simple and takes little effort or thought. I either place three store-bought tea bags into a quart jar, fill with water, and place in the fridge overnight, or I fill a large eco-friendly paper tea bag with dried herbs and use the same sized jar, also brewing in the fridge overnight.
Here are some ideas if you’d like specific recipes for loose leaf, dried herbs to cold brew. In these recipes I’m using a quart jar and the parts are probably heaping tablespoons.
1 part chamomile, 1 part lemon balm, ½ part lavender
1 part mint, 1 part nettles, ½ part rosemary, ½ part lavender
1 part calendula, 1 part chamomile, 1 part elderflower, ½ part ginger
1 part tulsi, 1 part hibiscus, 1 part mint
Have you ever tried cold brewing your herbal tea? Which herbs are your favorite to cold brew?
July is flying by! I blinked and now we are halfway through this month already; I kind of can’t even get my bearings. My twins’ fifth birthday began the month, there are other family goings-on, and it’s already back-to-school shopping time as my kids go back to school at the end of this month! (We have a different school calendar than most where we live.) Needless to say, my brain is a bit scrambled. But I’m here to talk about a favorite herb of mine for this crazy time of year—it’s not a nervine, but it pairs well with them and has an incredibly soothing effect during this hottest part of the year. It’s hibiscus!
There are actually many varieties of hibiscus, but the species most commonly referred to and used for consumption is Hibiscus sabdariffa. This hibiscus is also called roselle or sorrel. It is likely native to North or West Africa but now grows in many places throughout the world, and has been long used in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Hibiscus is considered a sour herb with cooling and moistening properties. It is especially helpful for heart health, blood pressure regulation, inflammation modulating, summer cooling, and nutrition as it’s dense with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Hibiscus tastes delicious—hibiscus tea is strongly reminiscent of cranberry juice! My kids love making hibiscus and berry sun tea during the summer months and then chilling it in the fridge for a sweet, cooling summer beverage. When you’re making your own blends with hibiscus, think about combining it with chamomile or mint, cinnamon, honey, and your favorite fruits.
Hibiscus doesn’t do well as an alcohol tincture, so tea or food tend to be the most common ways it’s consumed. (It used to be commonly made into jam, and in some regions is eaten pickled!) Though that summer connection with hibiscus is strong, I also love using it as an ingredient in wintertime non-alcoholic mulled “wine” tea as it has that sharp, deep berry flavor that mimics wine and tastes great with warming spices.
But since we are still very much in the heat of summer in the U.S. where I am, I’m going to share a super simple and refreshing hibiscus drink I love to make. It’s a very flexible recipe; use whichever ingredients you like or have on-hand!
Do you enjoy hibiscus? What are your favorite types of hibiscus drinks, or even foods if you’ve tried them?
• Rosalee de la Foret, Herb Mentor monograph
• Apothecary At Home’s hibiscus herb-of-the-month club box
In the northern hemisphere, summer has just begun! In my neck of the woods, it is almost unbearably hot this time of year; that summer sunshine can be intense. So, for June’s herb profile, I thought I would talk about a favorite cooling herb of mine: mint.
I was actually also inspired by the Plant Wonder Collectiveon Instagram to talk about mint, too, because it’s their herb of the month. If you aren’t already following along with their monthly herb features, I highly recommend that you do! They share collective recipes, DIYs, information, and botanical love featuring a different herb each month and showcasing many varied contributors. I’ve just recently begun following along and I am so enjoying it!
Anyway, back to mint! It’s actually interesting because many people are referring specifically to peppermint when they mention mint, but there are actually many varieties of mint. Sweet mint, spearmint, wild mint, water mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, brandy mint, chocolate mint, orange mint, horse mint, foxtail mint, mojito mint, and many others grow in a variety of areas around the world. (Interestingly, the specific species of peppermint wasn’t officially recorded in the Western pharmacopoeia until the mid-1700s!)
Mint should not be written off as simply a flavoring. It can be a potent ally in so many ways! Mint varieties can vary from warming to cooling, but peppermint is cooling, and drying. The properties of mint include digestive, mood boosting, uplifting and calming, memory and focus enhancing, gently energizing, pain easing, cold relieving, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, antibacterial, anti-fungal properties, and more. In folk belief, mint is associated with healing, prosperity, vitality, communication, dreams, awakening, protection, purification and cleansing, love, and positivity.
A note on growing your own mint, if you are considering adding it to an herb garden: it is best in containers! Mint is easy to grow and absolutely flourishes…a little too well. It will take over any space where you plant it and overtake its neighboring herbs. So, it’s best to plant mint in its own separate containers rather than in a shared herb bed. That said, mint is incredibly beginner-friendly and a great starter herb for those just testing the gardening waters!
Though some might associate the flavor of mint with winter holidays, I love it for its cooling effects in the summer! There is nothing better than a cold infusion of fresh mint and its cousin lemon balm, kept in a jar in the fridge to be sipped throughout the day. Also, a sun tea of mint, hibiscus, and lime is super refreshing and cooling on a hot day.
Here is one more recipe, for Summer Mint Moon Tea. I like to moon-brew (overnight infusion) this combo of herbs and enjoy it before bed as a cooling, calming, soothing sip. Its combination of cooling, calming, memory-aiding, dream-inducing, and heart-soothing herbs makes for sweet summertime dreams.
Summer Mint Moon Tea:
2 parts mint (peppermint or spearmint)
1 part lavender
1 part rosemary
1 part mugwort
1/2 – 1 part rose petals
Are you a mint-lover? How many varieties of mint have you tried? Do you have any unique ways you like to work with mint?
I can’t believe it’s almost June! May has really flown by. Before mental health month is over, I thought I would jump on the blog and talk a bit about one of my favorite types of mental health support: nervine herbs!
Many nervine herbs are gentle and safe for frequent use and can be a part of your daily mental health support regimen. Nervines are known for their benefits to the nervous system, hence the name. They support, tone, nourish, and soothe, offering us calming, anti-anxiety, digestion soothing, pain relieving, and grounding benefits, among many others.
Here are a few of my favorite nervine herbs:
Rosemary (relaxing / stimulating)
Most of the preceding list of herbs are normally categorized as relaxing nervines. Relaxing nervines do just what they sound like: they help to relax your nervous system. Stimulating nervines don’t stimulate in the caffeine sense; instead, they are uplifting and stimulate digestion. And some nervines do both at the same time! Also, each different nervine has its own particular chemical constituents that aid in different ways on top of the nervine qualities. For example, hawthorn is amazing for heart health, passionflower and skullcap are helpful in aiding sleep, and chamomile is known especially for helping with pain, cramps, indigestion, and fever.
As with anything, consult your doctor as needed and don’t take huge doses of any herb over short periods of time. But do think about branching out and trying different nervines to see what works well to support your particular needs.
And since summer is fast approaching here in the northern hemisphere, I am going to leave you with a simple, cooling and soothing infusion recipe featuring nervine herbs. This is a favorite of mine! You can make this with fresh or dried herbs (I grow all of these in my mini herb garden); drink it hot or cold (my summer preference is definitely cold); and sun brew, cold brew overnight in the fridge, or infuse with hot water (I usually prefer to cold brew or sun brew). Regardless of how you make it, the soothing properties of these nervine herbs are a refreshing way to take in a bit of calm.
Soothing Summer Tea:
•Lemon balm – 2-3 parts
•Peppermint – 1 part
•Spearmint – 1 part
•Rosemary – 1 part
•Catnip – .5 part
•Chamomile – .5-1 part
If making with fresh herbs in a large jar, go heavier on the lemon balm and mints and lighter on the other herbs. Also, if drinking this cold, it’s great with a slice or two of lime tossed in. It’s crisp, refreshing, calming, cooling, and supportive — mind and body relief!
Obviously mental health is a complex issue and each person’s medical and therapeutic needs are extremely different. Herbs won’t solve or prevent problems or fulfill all your needs, but they can be a wonderful ally as part of a daily holistic approach.
Which nervine herbs are your favorite mental health allies?