I have found the perfect summer drink for us. It is what I grab instead of that second afternoon coffee (and sometimes the first!). It is also a great replacement for that tempting early-evening-hot-day beer or glass of wine, when I'm wanting to avoid that sort of thing...The girls love it, and it is high in vitamin C.
A friend was bringing her own blend of tea to our post-yoga potlucks at the park all spring, and I asked for her recipe. I was also able to order bulk herbs through a buying coop (Frontier), sharing an order with her to make it more affordable. The recipe is easily adapted to health needs of your own family, and here is what is in ours:Lemongrass (a good cleanser for the liver, kidneys, digestive system; good for digestion, and can reduce high blood pressure)
Hibiscus flowers (high in vitamin C; is supposed to reduce high blood pressure - this is what gives the tea a nice rosy color)
Rose hips (high in vitamin C; helpful in rejuvination and regeneration of skin cells - good for healing)
Chamomile (good for fighting depression and stress; mild muscle relaxant, good for menstrual cramps; use to overcome insomnia)
Red Raspberry leaf (vitamin C and E; easily assimilated calcium and iron. Also good uterine toner and can improve lactation in some women!)
Nettles (from Susun Weed's website: Vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulphur are particularly abundant in nettles.)
(I am not a doctor or a health practioner; this information comes from numerous sources, and I encourage you to do your own research on what would work for you!)
As I said, I have these herbs in bulk; someday I would love to harvest them from my own garden, but for now I am grateful for local resources as well as companies like Mountain Rose Herbs for the availability of high-quality product. Once a week, I mix 1/2 cup of each herb in a bowl and mix through with my hands. A word of caution: don't forget that nettles are irritating to your skin until they have soaked for a minute in water!!! I made the mistake of mixing with bare hands once. Now I use a plastic bag as a glove. Then I pour it into a quart jar for storage. In the morning I dump about an eighth of a cup into the bottom of a quart jar and fill to the top with hot water; steep, covered, for 5-10 minutes. I have a large pitcher that I put some honey into and then strain the tea into the pitcher, letting the honey dissolve before filling the pitcher the rest of the way with room-temp water. The pitcher goes into the fridge for us to drink all day long...
I realize that many of you don't need such intricate instructions on how to make iced tea, but I never even considered making iced tea before I came across this mixture, and it has been a revelation for me this summer! I have also used oatstraw and lavender when I had it, and sweetened it with agave, which is useful as you can sweeten it glass by glass - agave dissolves perfectly well in cool liquid as well as hot. I think it is also tasty without any sweetener...try some! Enjoy!