This is a trick to make sure you drink your herbs that I’ve been practising for a number of years, and one that I love to share. I used to do it in the morning, but with the op-shop find of a coffee filter machine with a delay timer, I’ve been able to set this duo up as I put the kitchen to bed as part of my evening routine which means that I can start that day with a big glass of nourishing herbal infusion and follow up with my beloved cup of coffee.
This idea first popped up when I read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (a fabulous read on the science and psychology of habit formation) in his chapter on “Habit Stacking”. The idea is if you wish to implement a habit, piggyback it onto something that you already habitually do. At the time, I wanted to be more consistent with getting my 2L of water in for the day and drinking herbal tea.
Coffee is something that is brewed early in the morning in my household, so this was my practice, as I prepared coffee for my husband and myself, I would boil the extra water and make up a giant 1.5L French press of a herbal infusion. My only task was to pour myself a cup of it each time I went into the kitchen. Which was not hard to do, as I adore my herbal tea. And three years on, the habit has stuck.
Not only do I love waking up in the morning to a kitchen that smells of freshly brewed coffee (a very nice reward when I’ve been up tending to a babe throughout the night) but to begin the day with my herbs.
“Nourishing infusions” is a style of herbal tea that uses larger amounts of nutritive herbs (those rich in minerals) and is drunk in larger volumes. These are quite different to say aromatic herbs, which are best prepared in smaller amounts. Or you can do a combo! Use a base of a nutritive herb, and then add in smaller amounts of other herbs you feel called to. Because I’m a herbalist, I can do some fancy footwork of tweaking my blends as I need, but keeping it simple is also wonderful.
Herbs that work really well for this are:
- Raspberry leaf
- Milky oats
- Red clover
Some of my herbal infusion combinations of late:
- Nettle + Chamomile + Lemon Balm + Catnip – when my DS1 is teething or has an upset stomach
- Nettle + Fresh Cleavers + Fresh Calendula – as a refreshing early spring tonic
- Milky Oats + Scullcap + Lavender – when I’m feeling the need for some extra Zen
- Red Clover + Fresh Calendula + Lemon Balm + Fennel + Licorice – convalescing from Covid.
To my 1.5L French press, I’ll add one large handful of my nutritive herb and 1 heaped tablespoon of the supporting herbs. Or if I’m using fresh herbs, another small handful.
It’s 6:20 pm here, off to set my coffee pot and herbal press up for tomorrow!