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Herb Stories

Herbs, spices and flowers have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and people in different countries and cultures weave different stories around them. Read on for a few fascinating facts and traditions behind some of the ingredients in our teas.

Alfalfa

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Alfalfa comes from the Arabic ‘al-fac-facah’, which means ‘father of all foods’.

Blue Cornflower

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Cornflower was traditionally used to soothe puffy eyes.

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Chamomile

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Camomile or chamomile? Both spellings are correct. For those who speak Latin, it’s Chamaemelum nobile.

Cornflower

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Cornflower was traditionally used to soothe puffy eyes.

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Dandelion

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A dandelion makes an excellent barometer. In fine weather, the clock opens fully, When rain approaches, it shuts like an umbrella.

Echinacea

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Echinacea gets its name from the echinos, the Greek word for hedgehog – referring to the appearance of its prickly seed head.

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Ginger

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Fresh ginger is so rich in vitamin C that 5th century Chinese mariners ate it to ward off scurvy.

Heather

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Heather (along with thistle) is the national flower of Scotland.

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Hibiscus

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In Jamaica, hibiscus tea is a traditional Christmas drink, served with fruit cake or potato pudding.
Hibiscus tea is the national drink of Senegal, where it’s known as bissap.

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Liquorice

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Herbalists call liquorice an ‘adaptogen’, which means it’s a herb that helps us to physically and mentally adapt and survive in stressful situations.

Meadowsweet

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Beer was traditionally made from meadowsweet, as it calms the stomach. When the church found that hops made people sleep, beer production changed to hops – to keep the masses quiet!
Meadowsweet contains the same chemical compounds as aspirin. However, unlike aspirin, it protects the stomach, so protects against gastric bleeding.

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Mint

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Mint gets its name from Greek mythology. Minthe the water nymph was caught seducing Hades, the ruler of the underworld, and was turned into a mint plant by his jealous wife, Persephone.

Pink Cornflower

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Cornflower was traditionally used to soothe puffy eyes.

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Red Poppy Petal

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Opium poppies feature on the Royal College of Anaesthetists coat of arms. Poppy seeds can lie dormant in the soil for over 80 years before germinating, which is usually triggered by disturbance of the soil. During the First World War, the battlefields were often churned up into a sea of mud, and left strewn with fallen soldiers. The contrast between this horrendous sight and the following flush of poppies seemed to be ‘healing’ the broken land.

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Sage

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The Latin name for sage, Salvia, comes from the verb meaning ‘to save’.
Sage was so esteemed in Ancient Rome that to pluck it required a ceremony, including clean clothes and special tools.

Sencha Green Tea

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In Japan, sencha tea has its own special tea ceremony, called senchado – ‘the way of Sencha’.

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Spearmint

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Spearmint is the true mint of mojitos.
Before fridges were invented, spearmint was sometimes added to milk, to lengthen the shelf-life and keep it from curdling.

Sticky Willy

 

Fresh sticky willy tea makes a great hangover cure – it’s an excellent lymphatic! It tastes like the smell of freshly cut grass.
Cats and dogs love eating sticky willy – probably for its lymphatic qualities.

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Valerian

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The name ‘valerian’ comes from the Latin valere, meaning to be strong and healthy.

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