I love the colour red. I am red through and through, so it won’t come as a surprise for you that I am ravishing and enjoying immensely this season. I am submerging myself in Autumn, but although this season is also called the Fall, I am feeling very much uplifted and alive. As I am writing this I am observing the life changes happening in my garden. There is a lot of activity there. A truly magnificent black squirrel moved into the neighbourhood this spring and now together with his grey friends and associates he is getting ready for the winter. In his hectic running around he is inundating my garden paths with forgotten and lost nuts and berries. He is gathering his nutrients for the months of darkness and coldness to come. When he will retire this evening, noisy hedgehogs will take his place (and I have a very nice surprise for them tonight – a bowl of mealworms, their favourite). All around me nature is getting ready for its annual rest. Everybody is filling their secret stashes with nutrients, vitamins and fats. I am lucky – I am in no rush at all. I have put my chair in a sunny spot feeling the warm rays caressing my back and I am sipping my lovely red tea – I am absolutely delighted that I managed to match its colour with that of my hair. But my tea is not only beautifully red, it’s also filled with vitamin C, and this is what our body needs so very much right now. I am very sorry to announce that the cold season is officially open. But please do not fear – just put the kettle on.
My red tea has only three ingredients – let’s keep it simple. They are delicious all by themselves, but combined together… well let me walk you through it.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is named a health tea. Sugar and acids contribute to the refreshing taste. The polysaccharides have mild immune-modulating activity; they form a protective film on inflamed mucosal tissues. Anthocyanins provide colour and some antioxidant effects. This herb is used traditionally to treat appetite loss, colds, and catarrh of the respiratory tract, circulatory ailments and as gentle expectorant, laxative and diuretic.
Rosehip (Rosa canina) are rich in vitamins C and B2 and contain substantial amounts of pectins, some organic acids – particularly malic and citric – and tannins. It also contains proanthocyanidines, which have a protective antioxidant effect. Because rosehip have such a high vitamin C content, preparations with a base of rosehip have a tonic effect and can help to boost the immune system. They are given as a general pick-me-up during illnesses and convalescence, and to help to increase resistance to infections such as colds and influenza.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is rich in phenolic compounds, whose properties include antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant actions. It also contains generous amounts of flavonoids, tannins and essential oils. Peppermint has many medicinal uses. It has antispasmodic, digestive properties, it is found to relieve the intestinal cramps suffered by people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is a good remedy for headache, colds and flu (taken as inhalation) and it is used in mouthwash to treat oral infections. Peppermint is also very refreshing and uplifting.
To make my lovely red tea you would need.
50g dry Hibiscus flower
50g dry Rosehips
50g dry Peppermint
(All these herbs you can buy in Neal’s Yard Remedies shop or online)
1. Keep them all in separate glass jars. (It is better to keep them that way, because you can then experiment with the amount you put in to make your perfect brew. Take my recipe as a guideline and then adjust it to your own taste).
2. To make a tea take a flat teaspoon of Hibiscus, flat teaspoon of Rosehips and 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint and put it all into a cup. Cover with boiled water and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes, then strain.
3. Enjoy hot or cold.
I wouldn’t recommend this tea when pregnant or breastfeeding.