October is always my favorite month. I love the smells of rotting fruit, roasting green chiles and dusty dry leaves. The air often feels crisp, cold, fresh, and invigorating in the mornings. One never knows what will happen in October. How early that first frost or snow might hit where we live. When to time the last picking of various fruits and vegetables still ripening.
I hate to see my plants go to waste. I must have done 20 tinctures and 10 salves to insure I got the most out of the garden this year. I look around the yard saying to myself “what is left and what can I create from that?”. It is a fun challenge, some days it feels frantic, and the kitchen is a mess.
So one afternoon, when I wanted to savor what could possibly be my last chance to enjoy an ice cold tea made from my fresh plants, I threw this together.
Catnip and catmint leaves
Spearmint and peppermint leaves
red raspberry leaves
Raspberry is shrubby plant in the rose family that can grow as high as 6 feet tall. You can find it in wastelands, growing wild in the mountains, fields/meadows, as an unwanted thicket in urban areas and in gardens. The perennial root produces shooting stems/canes that live for 1-2 years. Some canes will have a blueish bloom on them and all are covered with fine “hairs” that may irritate the skin. Stems are covered in large alternate, pinnate leaves which are further divided into 3-7 leaflets which are serrated. These oblong/ovate leaflets have a pale/white downy underside. Clusters of white cupped shaped flowers with 5 petals appear in second year. The red edible fruit takes the form of a domed aggregate and is ripe in early or late summer. You will notice that a raspberry has left a bit of its insides on the plant when it has been picked. It appears hollow when you look inside. There are very distinct botanical differences between raspberries and black berries. Rubus prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade and poor/clay soil. It thrives best when well watered.
Historically this herb has been used to treat-nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, gum disease, , heavy periods, flu, labor pains, cramps, osteoporosis, sore throat, irritated eyes, arthritis, muscle cramps, low milk supply, hemorrhage, organ prolapse, and infertility, As an astringent it makes an excellent toner for the heart and uterus. It is thought to be high in iron. When used externally as a wash/poultice it may be helpful for sores, fungal infection, acne, inflamed tissues, varicose veins, and burns. It is very effective as a gargle for sore throat and laryngitis.
Although blackberry and red raspberry leaves can be used interchangeably in most cases, I prefer to use blackberry externally and raspberry internally.
Energetics:cold, dry, bitter.
Contraindications: avoid consuming decaying leaves as they may be higer in cyanide.
All of the herbs in my tea have a mild and pleasant taste. It can be safely enjoyed by everyone in the family. The high mineral content supports the bones and nervous system. It is calming and a great aid to digestion.
I think it a rare treat to enjoy a tea made from fresh plants that I have placed into the earth and later harvested. I feel a bit of myself is in those herbs and that there is an exchange of life force between us. I get much more that just a chemical constituent or physiological effect. It is a deep healing at the level of the spirit.
What is your favorite tea? How do you think it benefits you?