Archives for posts with tag: Peppermint
Painting from Koehler's Medicinal Plants (1887)

Salvia officinalis

This is a sentimental entry as well as somewhat of a departure from the typical ‘Fleurbain concept’.

In the last few days, I have thought about the folks who have got through to me.  These people have been my teachers.

I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for the people in my life who have not seen knowledge and skill as exclusive, a commodity, a rare resource.  Instead, they have had the energy and time to teach me.  They were able to teach me things I did not even imagine prior to knowing these things.  I feel rich in my experience.

I have a positive outlook, most of the time. Other times, I can be stubborn and have my doubts.  I think this is a good thing; it means I have a brain and I have an opinion about my reality.  In the end, however, I feel lucky when I look back and see that people have stuck it out with me and have helped me adopt new understandings or take on new skills. They helped me out of my mud, the sticky clay fixing me to ‘what I know’, and they did this even when I may have been initially filled with doubt that there was anything new in a particular direction.

These people have confidence and skill.  This helps in keeping my attention.  They care about people and they are not afraid to share.  They are not threatened by others having these skills and information.  They want me to know, because they care that I succeed.  They also don’t act like they own me just because they taught me something. They are happy to pass it on for the sake of passing it on.  I like that.  I hope that I can do the same.

Here is a tea that will help you stay alert and ready for new information while you are with your teachers.

Mix together:

1 part green tea (Camellia sinensis promotes a calm mental focus)

1 part peppermint (Mentha x piperita is excellent for nervousness, anxiety, mental fog and lethargy)

1/2 part rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis is a well known memory aid and circulatory stimulant)

1/2 part sage (Salvia officinalis. I occasionally add sage and drink the tea cold when I want to stay cool and alert while under pressure.)

Put one teaspoon of this mixture in a teapot or mason jar.  Add two cups of freshly boiled water.  Steep for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal


An olde fashioned favourite tea that is used for sudden chills, chills from a feverish state or fevers is equal amounts of mint, elder flower and yarrow. If you happen to have a copy of Matthew Wood’s Earthwise Herbal, you will read that “mint tea was used during the terrific grippe epidemics of 1838 and 1836.”*

I would really love to know when this combination was discovered.  I would like to give you some kind of a quaint story about a particular person who looked quite hobbity, lived in a hollowed out tree and happened to come up with this recipe. Alas, I don’t have such a story.  All I know is that it is an olde recipe traditionally used for colds, flus, the early stages of a cold, fevers and chills.

Let’s look at why each of these ingredients might be helpful.  Try to keep in mind that this is not the only way these plants are used, it is not even the most popular way they are used.  I am simply outlining why this formula might be of use.  If you prefer not to use herbs for healing or if you have trouble finding these herbs, you can always try food as your first medicine.  I made a list of common foods useful for colds and flus a couple weeks ago.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is considered to be at first warming, then cooling.  It is also stimulating and drying.

Mentha piperita 0.1 R


Try a cup for yourself and pay attention to how you feel. It has a long history of use.  Even Dioscorides** put a spray of mint in his cloak to raise his depressed spirits. Peppermint is useful as a diffusive circulatory stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, nervine, anti-emetic (in normal doses) and a weak anodyne. It is antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. Peppermint helps to relax peripheral blood vessels, calms muscle spasms and dries dampness.

Elder flower (Sambucus nigra, S. canadensis) According to the King’s Dispensary, elder flowers are diaphoretic and gently stimulating when used as a warm infusion.

Sambucus nigra - vlierbloesem

Elder flowers

In a cold infusion, elder flowers are diuretic, alterative, and cooling.  Both hot and cold infusions will help the body to release toxins.  In 1653, Culpeper claimed that elder flowers are beneficial for edema (the word he uses is dropsy) and will aid in cleansing the blood, clearing the skin and will aid the liver and spleen functions.***  Elder flowers are also antiviral, anticatarrhal and antispasmodic.

Common Yarrow, Milfoil


Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is in the Aster family.  And as such, it is considered to be chemically complex.  This chemical complexity makes yarrow a normalizer, particularly in the circulatory system or when dealing with blood.  In the context of colds and flus, fevers and chills, yarrow helps as a diuretic and a diaphoretic, encouraging the removal of waste from the body and movement of the blood to the surface of the body.  It will gently relax the body while aiding liver function.  When you drink yarrow tea hot, it will increase the body temperature and make you sweat, thus acting as a diaphoretic.  It is also anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, bitter digestive tonic, antiseptic, antifungal, hypotensive, carminative and peripheral vasodilator.

How to prepare this classic combination? Boil a cup or two of water.  Add 1 teaspoon of the combination of equal parts peppermint, elder flower and yarrow.  Let this steep for 15 minutes in a covered vessel, strain the tea and then drink. And, perhaps put on a sweater or cover up with a blanket, take a nap or read a book.  Relax!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

*Wood, Matthew. (2008) Earthwise Herbal; A Complete Guide  to Old World Medicinal Plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 345.

**Bartram, Thomas. (1995) Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York: Marlowe and Company, 331.

*** Culpeper, Nicolas. (1995) Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited.

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