Day: October 8, 2017

Berkeley and the Verbena tea

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When I lived in Berkeley my favorite café was the Chez Panisse Café where I fell in love with the verbena tea. At first when I randomly popped in that nice place it was cold so I decided to order some herbal tea. The tea arrived in a large, clear, glass teapot, filled with green leaves and hot water. It was lovely – light, lemony, minty. After I finished it, my curiosity got the best of me and I started fishing out the leaves from the pot, wondering what was in this tea anyway? M waitress noticed this odd behavior and quickly came to the table offering to provide us with fresh leaves.

“These leaves here are mint, but what are these long green ones?”- I asked. -“Lemon verbena,”- was the answer and she happily addressed my battery of questions about this herb.

Lemon verbena is a bushy shrub that grows quite well in Northern California but the best one can be found in France. It originally comes from South America, but has been cultivated in Europe since the 1600s. It has a strong lemon scent and it is used to add a lemon flavor to many dishes. Here’s the method for making simple mint tea with lemon verbena:

1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (not the stems, they’re bitter), rinsed, lightly packed (about 20 leaves)

1/2 cup of fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed, lightly packed (about 10-15 leaves)

2 cups of waterIce tea kaamillával

Liver and digestive support

The verbena plant is also a potent herbal remedy that is sometimes overlooked. The medicinal uses of this plant date back to ancient Roman times for the treatment of a variety of illnesses, and thousands of years later the herb is still implemented as a natural remedy and detoxifier that is perfect as an addition to certain colonic cleansing techniques. Verbena’s effects range from bodily purification to the treatment of psychological or neurological problems. Generally, the aerial parts of the plant are used to brew a tea, or a tisane. The herb is easily grown in the garden and can be picked to create homemade verbena tea, or it can be purchased as a stand-alone product. Herbal specialists suggest beginning treatment with verbena to promote a healthy liver by drinking large amounts of the tea once per year for a small period of time. It can also stimulate the body to better absorb the nutrients from food. If you experience digestive issues on a regular basis, drinking a cup of this tea every day can help you improve digestion and resolve minor problems such as diarrhea, bloating, nausea, cramps and flatulence. You can also enjoy a cup of this tea with or after a meal in order to encourage better digestion overall.

Other speculated benefits of this tea are yet to be confirmed by research however they include the stimulation of milk production in breastfeeding women and its topical benefits on the skin.

Verbena and Guy de Maupassant

The world famous French writer Guy de Maupassant who was the master of the short story, -depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms – among of his brilliant short novels my favorite is the Window, in which the verbena has a key (sexual) role but not in the form of beverage rather a parfume.

Return to the verbena tea it can be a great drink to enjoy any time or whenever desired. If you have found an interest in giving verbena tea a try, you may be able to find this brew for sale in the tea section of a local health food store (bio shop). When it comes to organic herbal teas, the best one the Buddha Teas as one of the highest quality merchants as far as I ‘ve known.

To prepare verbena tea, simply take one verbena tea bag and place it in a cup of boiled water. Allow the tea to steep covered for a period of 3 to 5 minutes. Afterwards, sugar, honey, or lemon can be added for flavor if desired!

Verbena liqueur

Ingredients: 1/2 cup lemon verbena leaf, tightly packed, 1 strip lemon zest, about 5 inches long, 4 cups vodka, 2 cups sugar or maple syrup. Lightly bruise the lemon verbena leaves.

1.     Place the lightly bruised lemon verbena leaves, lemon zest and the alcohol in a large jar with a tight fitting lid.

2.     Leave for at least 2 weeks in a cool, dark place before straining out the solids.

Other recipe or tip: Verbena-camomile cream brulée

chamomile cream brulée

 

 

 

 

 

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