Drinks

Herbal Infusions for Vibrant Health - Nettle & Oatstraw Infusion

I once read a wise herbalist recommend drinking herbal infusions instead of water and this advice has stuck with me ever since. Once I felt the potency of these infusions for myself, I understood how they could lead to more vibrancy, more energy & better immunity. Herbal infusions are also delicious, refreshing, calming, hydrating, beautifying - the list goes on, and there’s an abundance of herbs and combinations you can enjoy. We hope this post inspires you to try making your own infusion and enjoy all the beautiful herbs that are growing this Springtime!

herbal infusions

What exactly is a herbal infusion?
A herbal infusion or herbal brew is when a herb (or combination or herbs) are steeped in hot water for a long time (between 4-12 hours). Unlike a herbal tea bag, this is a strong brew, meaning that much more of the plant’s medicinal qualities, vitamins and minerals are extracted by the water. Steeping the herbs in a closed jar stops the water-soluble vitamins from escaping in the steam. It’s common to brew the herbs overnight, & then strain away the plant matter the next morning. You can then drink this infusion throughout the day, or refrigerate it and drink it within 2 days.

What herbs can you use?
There are so many delicious and nourishing herbs that you can work with. Our advice is to do some research on some different herbs in your area or that are available for you to buy dried and see which ones you feel most called to. Some of our favourites are nettles, lemon balm, chickweed, red clover, dandelion, oat straw, hibiscus, comfrey leaf, rose petals & raspberry leaf.

Recipe for Nettle & Oatstraw Infusion

This is one of my favourite infusions as it’s so delicious and mineralising. Nettles are full of vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium. It was the first herb that I infused and remains my go-to ally! Oatstraw helps regulate the nervous system and has an incredible sweetness to it. I find it such a calming and soothing herb to work with.

*note - this recipe uses dried herbs. If using fresh (which I really enjoy and recommend), then you want to use a lot more plant matter. If using fresh I will fill the jar 2/3 full with fresh herbs, depending on how much I can forage.

2 parts Nettle Leaf
1 part Oatstraw

  1. In a large mason jar (that holds around 1 litre) add 4 tablespoons of nettle leaf and 2 tablespoon of oat straw. (you can also use a French Press and adjust the amounts depending on how large your container is).

  2. Bring water to boil and then fill the jar up to the brim.

  3. Cover and steep overnight (or between 4 - 12 hours).

  4. Strain the infusion, composting the plant matter. Enjoy 2-3 cups a day. The infusion will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.


If you have any questions regarding herbal infusions please comment below <3
Is this your first time trying herbal infusions? If not, what are your favourite herbs to work with?

Nourishing Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate has become a daily ritual of ours recently. It really is like a little cup of magic medicine. Instantly mood lifting and calming - it's my favourite way to start the day. In my eyes, the best kind of rituals involve chocolate! Last year, we wrote this blog post about chocolate after visiting an organic cacao farm in Colombia. And our love for chocolate is only getting stronger ...

With the ancient traditions of cacao coming back into knowledge, people are beginning to see chocolate as more than just a delicious treat. For thousands of years, the ancestors of Central America used Cacao as a powerful healer - a gateway to connection and a way of releasing negative emotions. For them, chocolate was a huge part of sacred ceremonies, being a nutritious medicine for both the mind and body.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

In many ways, it makes sense that we're drawn to chocolate in emotional times. Many of the active ingredients in pure cacao release feel good emotions. Traditionally, it's referred to as a 'heart opener'. It increases blood flow to the whole body, which heightens our feelings and nourishes our whole system. Of course, it's also delicious, so it drinking it brings extra enjoyment! 

Vegan Hot Chocolate

To boost our hot chocolate with some extra nutrition, we've also added an incredible medicinal mushroom blend by Hybrid Herbs and our own roasted dandelion root coffee. These ingredients are optional though! Medicinal Mushrooms are an incredible way to boost the immune system and generally boost vitality and clarity. Surprisingly, this blend has a really delicious flavor too and I've genuinely noticed a difference in mood since taking it. The caffeine in the cacao supercharges the force of the mushrooms, so it's perfect to combine them together!

Now, for the hot chocolate... the perfect partner for these colder mornings. 

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
2 cups of oat milk (or other nut milk)
a pinch of salt
1/2  teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
optional ingredients
1 teaspoon of medicinal mushroom mix
1 teaspoon of dandelion root coffee (see here for our recipe)

Method
1) Place all the dry ingredients in a sauce pan. 
2) Add your milk and begin to heat on a medium temperature. Thoroughly stir whilst heating so there are no lumps.
3) Heat for around 5 minutes, until hot. We prefer not to let ours boil, so as not to cook off all the nutrients.
4) If you're using roasted dandelion root, strain your hot chocolate before serving. 
5) Serve and enjoy <3

If you enjoyed this post, please share below <3
Have you ever tried Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi or Chaga?
 

Homemade Dandelion Root Tea / Coffee

It's a pretty incredible thing that we have such easy access to so many foods from around the Earth. We can pick up tropical fruits in our local shops, cook with a huge variation of spices and generally find inspiration from cuisines all around the world. It's a huge privilege, but we often fail to see the abundance of life growing on our home land...maybe even in our own back garden. 

As we begin to learn more about medicinal herbs & foraging, we're discovering so much about what's growing in the UK and how we can appreciate these incredible wild plants. And with Mama Earth in her current state, we could all do with eating a little more locally & seasonally, as well as healing ourselves in more natural ways...

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Coffee

Dandelions are so abundant in the UK that most gardeners are trying to work out how to get rid of them rather than harvesting their goodness. They're a persistent plant, but their sunny yellow flowers can brighten up the dullest of November days. They're also treasured in the world of herbalism, with the root, flower and leaf all having different benefits and uses. 

The root is particularly beneficial in helping cleanse and purify the liver - something a lot of people need assisting with this time of year. As Christmas approaches & people begin to overindulge and drink more alcohol, the liver can become congested, causing one to feel sluggish and tired. Incorporating natural liver cleansers into our daily routine can be a game changer for this! Dandelion also contains a lot of calcium, iron, potassium & vitamins A, B & C, as well stimulating the digestive system and helping skin problems. It's basically an everyday superfood - and it's free to forage too! 

If you're trying to cut down on caffeine intake or just want to try a different, satisfying hot drink, then dandelion root is an amazing alternative to coffee. And it's a fun project foraging, drying & preparing your roots! Roasting the roots brings out a really incredible & unique flavour - somewhat caramel, somewhat earthy. And it's even better made into an uplifting spiced drink or mocha during these colder months of the year. 

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Coffee

Picking your Dandelion
As with any foraging or wildcrafting, be mindful about where you are harvesting & how much you are taking. Take only what you need and leave enough for the local wildlife. 

You'll have to dig a little to pick your dandelion, so best not to dig on private land or in your neighbours prized front garden! If you're lucky enough to have a garden, it's very likely that you'll have some dandelions growing in it, so that's the best place to start. If you can avoid picking near busy roadsides or driveways then it's much better too, as plants here will be effected by pollution. 

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Coffee

Preparing the Dandelions
1) The Leaves - To make the dandelion coffee, you'll only need to use the root of the plant. But the green leaves are full of nutrition and goodness, so we reccommend saving these to try! They do have a slightly bitter flavour, but we throw ours in a juice/smoothie. In the Mediterranean they are sauteed with lemon and olive oil. 

2) Wash the Roots - Once you've gathered your roots, you'll need to thoroughly wash them. We leave ours in a bowl of warm water for a while, and then scrub them with a cloth to remove all the dirt.

3) Chop! - One washed, you can chop your roots into very small pieces and place them on a lined baking tray. 

Before Roasting:

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Coffee
Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Coffee

4) Dry & Roast - If you live somewhere hot, you can then dry them in the sun for a few hours before roasting in the oven. Because we live in the UK and it's currently freezing cold, we dry & roast ours in the oven on a low heat for roughly 4 hours (checking them every so often). Once ready, the roots will be dark in colour and completely dry. They should have a fragrant smell too. 

5) Cool & Grind - Allow your roots to cool after you remove them from the oven. Place them in a clean spice or coffee grinder and whiz them into a fine powder. You're now ready to use your Dandelion coffee! Store in an airtight jar (where they should last for a long time)

6)To Prepare your drink - To use your powder, there are a few options ... 
* Place a heaped tablespoon of powder into water and bring to the boil for a few minutes. Drain and serve ... tastes best with added nut milk and a pinch of coconut sugar. 
* Use the powder in a mocha pot, as you would to make espresso
* Use a french press to infuse the roots in water for around 10 minutes. 


Next week we'll be posting our favourite recipe for Dandelion root,  making a medicinal hot chocolate with delicious spices! 

After Roasting : 

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Coffee
Dandelion Root Tea coffee

If you enjoyed this blogpost, please share below <3
Have you ever tried Dandelion leaves or coffee?

A Simple Cacao Smoothie with Spices

Following on from our post all about chocolate last week, here’s one of our favourite ways to use cacao powder: a rich, delicious chocolate smoothie with spices.

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This is a really simple recipe if you’re new to cacao powder and have a slight sweet tooth. Remember that chocolate milk you’re left with after eating a bowl of Coco pops? This is kind of like that, but much tastier, nourishing and good for both body and the soul. This is such a good drink for satisfying any sugar cravings and is also really filling and creamy from the avocado.  The cinnamon/nutmeg also helps to balance blood sugar levels and aid digestion, as well as being so tasty!

We love using coconut milk in our smoothies, but this can easily be made with just water (or another kind of milk) and it will be just as delicious.

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A Simple Coconut Cacao Smoothie with Spices (Serves 2)

  • 2 Tablespoons of cacao powder

  • 250ml of water

  • 250ml of coconut milk (or more water/ other nut milk)

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 1 large, ripe banana (frozen can be used)

  • ½ ripe avocado

  • 2 dates (or a teaspoon of honey)

  • Top with: a grating of nutmeg

1)Combine ingredients in a blender and blitz for 1 minute.

2) Pour into glasses, top with grated nutmeg and enjoy!