Sunday, February 7, 2021

Rose teas and tisanes: A February treat

 


February is the perfect month for drinking rose-scented teas or tisanes. The rose brings to mind February’s major celebration of hearts and love, Valentine’s Day.  We know that the heart and rose are both considered to be symbols of love and romance, but they are so much more.   These connections between roses and hearts, and love run deeper than the images depicted on Valentine greeting cards (which, by the way, have been printed and posted only since the early to mid-nineteenth century).

 


The rose carries many associations with love in the symbolic realm.  For example, the red rose was associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. When the Roman empire later became Christianized the rose came to be associated with the Virgin Mary.  You can read about abundant symbolism associated with the rose here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_(symbolism)

 But associations between the rose and the heart are more than symbolic. Consuming rose-scented tea is purported to have some general health benefits.  For a quick overview of this topic, take a look at an article from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/rose-tea-good-for-you#1

 


More specifically, in regards to ties between the rose and the heart, consuming rose-scented tea is considered to be good for the heart itself both physically and energetically.  Asheville herbalist, Joanne Zerdy*, writes:

 Rose (Rosa spp.) is a powerful botanical ally. Both rose petals and rosehips have many medicinal benefits for us inside and out. With their astringency, rose petals gently tighten the tissue of our internal organs (including the heart) as well as our skin. Rose might also aid the cardiovascular system by supporting the regulation of blood pressure. The benefits of rose petals on our nervous systems is well known; with its antianxiety, anti-inflammatory, and mood-boosting qualities, rose helps us to calm down and connect with our emotional centers. Rosehips have high concentrations of vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants. As such, they strengthen our immune systems as well as our cardiovascular health by improving blood circulation and restoring the elasticity of our blood vessels. Energetically, rose can help us to lighten our hearts and to maintain our emotional boundaries. The thorns on rose bushes and vines are great reminders of the importance of protecting our emotional selves in a balanced way. A final note: given the commercial nature of growing roses, it's really important to ensure that any rose that you consume has not been treated with pesticides. 

So, given the symbolic, physical and energetic ties between the rose and the heart I know that I will always consider February the perfect time to drink rose scented teas or tisanes.  Pictured above is the rose scented black tea from Dobra Tea and the heart blend tea from Finlay’s Garden, both here in Asheville.  I have been drinking both of these teas and you can too as all teas from these Asheville purveyors can be ordered online!

  

*Joanne Zerdy, PhD is a former university professor in theatre arts who turned to herbalism and grief work following the death of her son Finlay. Joanne completed a 1000-hour Herbal Immersion course through the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and is particularly interested in researching herbs for grieving and emotional healing. She puts her knowledge into practice through her Finlay's Garden teas and herbal honeys and through the grief work that she does through Inviting Abundance.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Unique Tea-Themed Collage Greeting Cards

 Here is a small sampling of my new tea-themed collage cards!






I have made a large batch of original tea-themed collage greeting cards.  Here above are just a few.  Each card is unique.  They are soon to be available in the small gift area at The Gallery at Flat Rock in Flat Rock, North Carolina and at Dobra Tea on Lexington in Asheville, North Carolina!  I am so pleased to get my work out there!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Tea in the South Carolina Low Country

 My family and I spent the past week in the South Carolina Low Country.  Our time in that area is relaxing and familiar because we are natives of South Carolina and have vacationed regularly in the Charleston area for the past twenty years or so.

There are a number of sites in Charleston that would be of interest to any tea lover. The Charleston Tea Plantation, now called the Charleston Tea Garden, is a fun tourist site just outside of Charleston. And there are a number of places in the city where you can take an afternoon tea.  (You can read about those through the South Carolina entries over at Destination Tea.) But there is a lesser known attraction in the area where you can hike forest trails surrounded by an understory of large, naturalized tea (Camellia sinensis) bushes. This lovely place is at the Caw Caw Interpretive Center, a part of the Charleston County Parks System.

My husband has done a great deal of historical research into the cultivation of tea in South Carolina. You can read about it on his blog post over at Brown Dog Press. In that blog post he recounts how tea bushes came to be on this land that is now the Caw Caw Interpretive Center.  And according to the Caw Caw website there are now thousands of naturalized tea plants in the park.


We spent a winter morning hiking the trails at Caw Caw and could not have been happier with the experience.  I recommend driving into the park and parking at the Learning & Exhibition Building.  Use your complimentary trail map to make your way (i.e. hike) from this area to Kiosk 9.  Once at Kiosk 9, you will find yourself absolutely surrounded by large tea bushes.  And the kiosk itself includes interesting educational information about Camellia sinensis and other plants found in the park.  



If you are planning to hike through the forest in search of tea bushes, I recommend doing this during cool weather months as the mosquitoes can make hiking through the forest uncomfortable in the summertime.


In my opinion, the Caw Caw Interpretive Center is a hidden gem for tea lovers. So plan a visit and a hike in this public park during your next stay in the South Carolina Low Country.

(Please note that there is a small admission fee to the park.  I believe the fee was $2 per person when we visited in December of 2020. Also make sure you wear proper footwear for uneven terrain if you are planning to hike.)

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year from My Tea Diary!

 


© my tea diary
Maira Gall