Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

This refreshing lavender lemon balm iced tea is not only delicious, but it helps melt away stress. It’s so simple to make and can be enjoyed hot or iced for the upcoming summer months. Tea brewed from your own garden herbs is highly satisfying, and wonderfully nourishing.

I first discovered lemon balm a little over a year ago. The snow had finally melted away from the garden area of our little rental home, and these bushy green plants began to pop up all over the place. After a little research I learned that lemon balm (part of the mint family) is a perennial herb known for its calming and stress relieving properties. One gentle touch of the leaves and an intoxicating aroma of lemon fills the air. The scent alone lifts my spirits!

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea 1

Lemon balm has also been known to calm headaches, upset stomach, menstrual cramps, and insomnia to name a few. My husband and I have been on a recent journey to treat our adrenal fatigue and lemon balm is a wonderful herb to help calm the body and promote healing.

It is well know that lavender is also a natural stress reliever. The lovely scent from its leaves, and the variety of purple flowers it produces makes it one of the most beautiful herbs to grow in a garden. I have two different varieties in my garden, but the one I used for this recipe is English Lavender (lavandula angustifolia).

You could also dry the leaves and preserve them for making tea during the winter months. This is very easy to do with a dehydrator, or by hanging to air dry as well.

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea 2

It’s good to take a few moments each day and rest. This tea, adorned with a fresh lavender flower, would be the perfect companion for seeking a stress-free summer.

Other summer drinks you may enjoy:

Stress Relieving Lavender Lemon Balm Iced Tea
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
 
This refreshing lavender lemon balm iced tea is is jam-packed with stress relieving properties. Enjoy it all summer long!
Ingredients
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh lavender leaves
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of raw honey per quart
  • Lemon slices and/or a lavender flower (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add the lemon balm and lavender leaves to the water. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain out the leaves and pour the tea into a glass container of your choice.
  4. Stir in the honey. Enjoy this tea warm, or chill for iced tea.

 

Dairy Free Pina Colada (nonalcoholic)

This dairy free Pina Colada is made with only 3 ingredients, and is so refreshing! It's also nonalcoholic, though you could certainly add some rum to it, if you wanted. -- The Nourishing Gourmet
This dairy free smoothie is a creamy blend of pineapple, coconut, and banana. That’s right. Only 3 ingredients! It is so refreshing and delightful we’ve made it several times this last week. The other great thing about it is that it’s completely sweetened with fruit. My eight-year-old wants to make a batch to make some popsicles with it, which I think is a lovely idea.

I used canned pineapple in fruit juice as that was what was available to us, but fresh pineapple would obviously be delicious as well. Canned pineapple tends to be very sweet, so if for some reason your fresh pineapple wasn’t very sweet, you could add a little extra banana for more sweetness. Trader Jo’s also sells frozen pineapple that we have used to make wonderful smoothies.

Another way that I love pineapple is this Ambrosia Salad. Yum! This is the coconut cream #afflink, I use (it’s free of any “gums”).

Pina Colada

serves 2

For an extra creamy milkshake consistency, freeze the banana and use frozen pineapple! If it gets too thick, just add more liquid. Because I use coconut cream, I dilute it a bit with water to make the amount needed for this recipe. For an extra special touch, top with coconut milk whipped cream.

Ingredients:

1 whole banana, peeled
¾ – 1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of pineapple chunks (and juice, if using canned)
If not using any frozen ingredients, add a handful of ice

Directions:

Blend together in a high powered blender. If it gets too thick, simply add a bit more liquid. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired. Serves 2

Dairy Free Pina Colada (nonalcoholic)
 
Serves: 2
 
For an extra creamy milkshake consistency, freeze the banana and use frozen pineapple! If it gets too thick, just add more liquid. Because I use coconut cream, I dilute it a bit with water to make the amount needed for this recipe. For an extra special touch, top with coconut milk whipped cream.
Ingredients
  • 1 whole banana, peeled
  • ¾ - 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of pineapple chunks (and juice, if using canned)
  • If not using any frozen ingredients, add a handful of ice
Instructions
  1. Blend together in a high powered blender. If it gets too thick, simply add a bit more liquid. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired.

 

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider. A lovely soothing drink for a cold winter day or night!
Sweet and creamy with a lot of fresh ginger jazz, this unique apple cider is perfect for a cold day as it warms you to your toes. Or, if you are fighting off a cold, this ginger spiked apple cider is perfect for soothing away the aches and sniffles.

Yesterday, my dad, my four-year-old and I went out to a local restaurant Harlow (The same restaurant that inspired this Dirty Chai recipe). I have been fighting off a cold the last few days and so wasn’t feeling all that hungry. But I noticed they had a new item on their menu for a Coconut Ginger Apple Cider and I knew it would the perfect soother.

Freshly juiced apples and ginger were steamed with rich coconut milk, and brought out to me. Heavenly. I made it last as long as possible, nursing it through the busy streets and shops and taking my last sip after we got home.

This morning I wanted it again. It would be really easy to make with store bought juice, but since I had apples and a juicer, and no juice, I went ahead and juiced my own apples with fresh ginger, and then gently heated it with coconut milk. I had it in place of my morning coffee, and it was such a happy way to start the day! I’ll give notes on how to make it without a juicer below as well.

For those who eat a lot of Thai soups, the combination of ginger and coconut milk is no surprise. One of my favorite soups is this Simple Thai Broth from my cookbook, Ladled. In fact, for the first sip or two of this drink, my mind immediately wondered where the salt and garlic were because I am so accustomed to savory renditions of coconut and ginger. But quickly, my taste buds adjusted to this sweet version, and I was in love!

Notes on Ingredients and kitchen tools:

(Affiliate links)

  • This is my favorite coconut cream . It doesn’t contain any guar gum, and is rich and thick.
  • For those curious, this is the juicer we own, and we’ve really enjoyed it.

Coconut Ginger Apple Cider
 
 
You can either juice the ginger fresh, or you can steep it in the apple cider for about 10-15 minutes. Both ways work well. If you are steeping, consider adding a stick of cinnamon and/or 5-6 whole cloves for a spiced version!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of apple cider or juice (use the best tasting brand you can find, or make your own. I made my own out of Pink Lady Apples), plus ½ cup more if steeping.
  • ½ inch of ginger (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ -1/2 cup coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
Instructions
  1. If juicing: Juice the apples and ginger together, and taste test for ginger strength (the coconut milk will mute the ginger flavor a bit, so I recommend going slightly stronger than perfect). Add to a small saucepan and heat with the coconut milk over medium heat. If desired, you can pulse (carefully!) in a blender to make it foamier and light.
  2. For steeping: Add the apple juice and 2 or 3 thin slices of ginger to a small pot. Because you will lose some liquid during the steeping process, I recommend adding an extra ½ cup of apple juice/cider. Bring to a low simmer, and simmer very gently for around 10-15 minutes, taking spoonfuls out here and there to taste test until you have achieved the desired strength of ginger. Add the coconut milk/cream, and reheat. I If desired, you can pulse (carefully!) in a blender to make it foamier and light.

 

Vanilla Lemonade (A whole fruit vitamin C rich beverage)

Lemonade with vanilla and whole vitamin C powder. A hydrating way to get your daily vitamin C powder in that is delicious too!This lemonade is a wonderful combination of tasty sweet and tang, plus it offers a hearty dose of vitamin C from whole food sources! It’s lovely for drinking when fighting off a cold or illness (or for hydrating if sick).

This lemonade is unique for a couple of reasons – first, it uses peeled whole lemons for more potential health benefits (and you end up using fewer lemons, which is frugal too!). Secondly, the vanilla is amazing with lemons! Who knew? Thirdly, I add a whole fruit source of vitamin C to make this drink a wonderful, whole food source of vitamin C!

Today is the first day of December, and we are getting in the Christmas spirit over here. Our tree is up, and I have running lists of holiday plans for us (including fun posts coming up for this blog!). But I am also trying to keep us well during this holiday season so that we can enjoy them. This little drink is just part of my “stay well” eating/drinking plan.

There is some controversy over how much vitamin C we should optimally consume every day, and whether we should use any vitamin C supplements or not. Personally, I have used a more typical vitamin C pill, but I feel most comfortable with it getting it from real food, or concentrated real food powder. For those of us who follow Dr. Price’s dietary recommendations, getting a whole food source of vitamin C in every day is part of his protocol. This lovely refreshing drink is one great way to do so.

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This was inspired by the “Singing Canary” Trim Healthy Mama drink, but is a simplified version (I choose not to use turmeric or protein powder), My version also uses a whole food source of vitamin C, rather than a synthetic version. My version also contains fewer milligrams of vitamin C in total.

Vitamin C and pregnant women and nursing mothers

One thing to double check with your health care provider about is how much vitamin from any sort of supplement you should consume when pregnant or nursing. I have gotten different answers on this question. The most conservative response is probably given by Medline Plus (a service from the National Library of Medicine)

They say, “Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vitamin C is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken in the recommended amount of 120 mg per day. Taking too much vitamin C during pregnancy can cause problems for the newborn baby.”

Two dieticians answer that question here, a summery being that eating vitamin C rich food and taking a multi-vitamin will give you plenty of vitamin C (and taking large doses could be harmful for your baby), and the second opinion being that you shouldn’t take over 2,000 MG of added vitamin C per day.

You can also get helpful charts for general info on recommended amounts of vitamin C (from diet or supplements) from WebMD, where they also point out that, “A substantial number of Americans may have low intake levels of vitamin C due to the inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables.”

The point is this – vitamin C is an important vitamin, but you can over do it, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. Many midwives recommend the higher amount (2000 milligrams per day), so there is a wide range of advice in how much to take when pregnant is optimal.

For the rest of us, it makes sense to me to get our vitamin C from food as much as possible – which is why I love this recipe!

Vitamin C from lemons in recipe: According to WhFoods.com, ¼ cup of lemon or lime juice contains 23.61 MG of vitamin C (and a small amount of folate as well!). But the pith and the peel has even higher concentrations of certain elements that could be especially healthful. Intriguing research has shown that those who consume citrus peels have a lower risk of skin cancers (read here and here), and research shows that some of the elements could be helpful in preventing breast and colon cancers. So, save those citrus peels from this recipe to use in other ways!

Whole Food Vitamin C

If you’d like to up the vitamin C content even more, you can do what I do by adding some of this Vitamin C powder made from acerola cherries. From Traditional Market, “Freeze drying and spray drying changes the acerola’s pH and reduces its vitamin levels. This vitamin C is processed with a proprietary gentle low heat method. As a result, the natural cherry color flavor and smell remains unchanged. Lab tests confirm that no vitamin C is lost during the process. Each bottle contains at least 25,000 mg of only naturally occurring vitamin C per bottle. This is truly natural vitamin C—there is no ascorbic acid added or synthetic vitamins added at all. It’s just powdered organic cherry.”

I love this stuff! It also works well in smoothies. A ¼ teaspoon has 250 mg of vitamin C, so to get 2000 mgs, I use 2 teaspoons. It has such a mild flavor, that you could easily use less as well.

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/VitaminC

Ingredient links:

Gluten free vanilla extract
stevia
raw honey
Whole Fruit Vitamin C Powder

Vanilla Lemonade (A whole fruit vitamin C rich beverage)
 
 
You could also add 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1-3 teaspoons MCT oil, and a small amount of protein powder, if desired.
Ingredients
  • 2 lemons, peeled (white pith left on)
  • 1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whole Food Vitamin C extract of choice (I use this one), I use ¼-2 teaspoons worth, depending on how much vitamin C I am wanting.
  • Stevia or honey to taste
  • Dash of unrefined salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Slice the peeled lemons into 4 pieces, and remove any seeds. Place in a blender with 3 cups of water and blend well, until smooth.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve or a nut bag into a large rim jar or bowl.
  3. Pour back into jar, and add the vanilla extract, optional salt, if using, and stevia or honey to taste (start low and build up). Blend briefly, and then pour over a 2 quart jar full of ice. Add water to reach the rim of the jar. Enjoy!