THE WAY OF TEA
The Way of Tea is a traditional Japanese art, a ritual that symbolizes the practice of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility in every day life. It is an art that was developed by Zen Buddhist monks to become the humblest of meditative practices. This did not mean a lack of quality or pleasure in the experience of preparing and drinking fine green tea, it meant developing a deeper appreciation for simplicity, imperfection and diversity. The Way of Tea creates an environment and culture of egalitarianism, where all things are valued as they are and all who are gathered to share tea are equal.
TEA & TISANE
We commonly know of green tea, it is also known as matcha, white tea and black tea, oolong tea, and more, yet these are all from the one plant: Camellia sinensis. Camellia sinensis has a myriad of medicinal qualities, however we do not need not limit our palate to this wonderful plant alone. We have many medicinal herbs around us that each have very unique healing qualities and constituents to aid us in very specific ways.
Herbal Tea may otherwise be known as Tisane: a medicinal infusion. So as not to get lost in specific terminology I will simply use the term Herbal Tea. The following are three common herbs that we value highly and recommend you keep in stock in your own home apothecary. It is also likely that you will find these herbs growing wild in your backyard, or in your neighbours garden. All three are members of the Lamiaceae botanical family and have strongly scented leaves, therefore high amounts of volatile oils. Volatile oils are the most abundant active constituent in all three herbs, which often means that it has a strong therapeutic effect on the digestive system and the nervous system. There are of course many more medicinal herbs available, so feel free to talk to us and we can guide to towards the ones that are best for you.
LEMON BALM | Melissa officinalis is a pleasant lemony aromatic herb that makes a fresh and uplifting herbal tea. It is commonly used for indigestion to reduce abdominal discomfort that is associated with nervousness. It is particularly calming to the nervous system, easing restlessness and anxiety.
ROSEMARY | Rosmarinus officinalis is a strong camphorous aromatic herb that makes a pungent herbal tea. It is commonly used to support liver detoxification, enhance circulation and strengthen the nervous system. It particularly increases circulation to the brain and therefore enhances alertness and memory.
PEPPERMINT | Mentha piperita is a cooling aromatic herb that makes a refreshing herbal tea. It is commonly used to support digestion, easing reflux, nausea and bloating. The menthol volatile oil makes it particularly cooling and calming, easing inflammatory conditions both internally and externally.
We tend to do things in a rush, without thought, without our awareness.
Action requires our awareness in order to enhance the therapeutic effect and satisfaction of the act. And each moment becomes sacred.
Mundane chores become a meditation and a source of contentment. We cease looking at the clock because each moment is full; we are not worrying about the future or regretting the past. We learn to honour ourselves, our energy and our time. We come to appreciate our privileges.
You can’t just read it in a book, it must be a practice for it to become a kind of knowing. The ritual of tea blending, brewing and drinking helps us to understand that every action we take can be an act of meditation.
Suddenly our usual daily tasks become interesting and purposeful, we become more focused and feel that we are functioning with some kind of flow. The work we do is done more artfully, more carefully, and we begin to feel more connected to our work, our surroundings and our situations.
The Way of Tea is simply symbolic for the way that we live our lives in each moment. Are we experiencing the richness and the beauty, or are we just getting through until the weekend or the next holiday? These conventionally sanctioned times where we are allowed to feel good are not life sustaining, and are actually meaningless if you cannot find peace and joy in the things of every day life.
Allow yourself some time.
One hour will do.
Sit with pen and paper in hand.
Without thinking too much about it finish this sentence:
To be my-best-self I need to work on improving my…[insert health concern]
Put a pot water on the stovetop or boil the kettle.
Go to your apothecary of dried herbs or to your herb garden.
Keep in your mind the health concern that you wish to improve.
Choose three herbs [use both your intellect and intuition].
Add equal parts to a bowl and blend with your hands.
If one herb appeals to your senses more then double it and blend again.
Add 1-3 teaspoons of your blend to a 1-3 cup teapot.
Pour over the boiled water and let it brew for 5-10 minutes.
In that time, once again, without thinking too much about it finish this sentence:
I feel most a peace when I am…[insert an action]
Pour your herbal tea brew into your favourite vessel and sit in your favourite chair. Hold your vessel in your hands, feel the warmth, soften your gaze and inhale the aroma. Bring your mind to your health concern and let it fade away as you come to focus on the action that makes you feel at peace.
Let this feeling linger in your body and mind.
Sip on your herbal tea blend.
Notice the new sensations in your body.
Embrace the unique tastes.
AND ENJOY THE MOMENT.