Teachers, literacy coaches, and specialists are often looking for that unique gift for teachers and friends — one with a literary touch to it. I created a “designer tea” for a celebration for a friend, and decided it would be a terrific gift for the teachers with whom I work.
I chose the blend I wanted for the tea, then looked up each ingredient on the Internet for background on how the herb affects the system, as well as any literary connections I could find. I happen to have access to a natural food store with rows and rows of ingredients for tea, but if you don’t have resources readily available, I suggest purchasing loose-leaf tea blends from the grocery store and repackaging it with your own literary description!
Here is my recipe in honor of my friend Martha. Feel free to rename this tea after your own literary teaching friends and colleagues.
A Literary Blend of Rooibus, Herbs, & Spices
Designed in honor of my friend Martha, Martha’s Tea is South African rooibus and a blend of herbs that represent her refreshing role in bringing literacy to a wider audience.
RooibusÂ ( pronounced roy-boss) grows in South Africa. Its flavor is sweet, even without sugar being added, and most find slightly nutty. These leaves are extremely healthy with a high level of antioxidants. It’s also natural: no additives, preservatives, or caffeine. Rooibus aids your body’s natural schedule-relaxing you at night, and stimulating you in the day.
Rooibus tea is the favorite drink of Precious Ramotse, the Yswana detective in Alexander McCall Smith’s novels about the Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Precious Ramoste promotes the therapeutic benefits of this tea.
Chamomile is an excellent soothing remedy for tummy aches and promotes a general calming feeling. Peter Rabbit’s mother often gave him chamomile tea.
Spearmint grows well in most climates. It comforts and strengthens the nerves. Chaucer praises “Spere Mynte” which brings “pleasure and repose.”
Red Rose Petals lend balance to the blend. Adding a few dried rose petals is a Victorian tradition for creating “Tea for the Queen of Hearts.”
Orange peels give off a high-energy scent that is said to “communicate the joy of angels to human beings.” This scent is good for dealing with obsessive thinking, and turning us back to what is important.
Lemon Verbena (also known as the herb Louisa) has a clean, sharp, lemon scent. Its intense citrus flavors come without the bitterness of lemons. This refreshing herb strengthens the nervous system and can even reduce fevers. Scarlett O’Hara of Gone with the Wind adored the captivating and luscious herb, believing it has the power to instantly “relax the mind and nurture the soul.”
If you’d like to explore more connections between literature, herbs for tea, and well-being, an excellent on-line source for loose leaf tea and all the accessories you’ll need for brewing the perfect cup is Special Teas:
I hope “Martha’s Tea” inspires you to create your own “just-right” literary tea mix for holiday gifts or a study group meeting on a cold winter afternoon.