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Kenneth Roberts

Kenneth Roberts

Saturday, 28 March 2015 14:29

How To Grow Vitamin-Rich Tea Gardens

Customers often ask us what they can do with old tea leaves, whether loose leaves that have lost their great olfactory presence through prolonged storage (or storage in less than prime conditions), or remnants from other teas. If you're a gardener, you don't have to let those leaves go to waste! Last year I grew some tomatoes using a bunch of staled tea as compost. I was blown away by the incredible flavors! 

You see, teas—whether white, green, oolong or black—contain a highly bioavailable level of calcium, zinc, folic acid, phenolic acid, manganese, potassium and a nice complement of B-complex vitamins. Many of the herbals we work with contain a very wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals as well. These nutrients enrich the soil, and are beneficial in boosting photosynthesis, improving plant health, and aiding in flower and fruit development and flavor.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying my tomatoes tasted like the peach apricot tea I composted (although growing flowers and herbs near tea bushes has been done for thousands of years to infuse subtle flavor notes like Jasmine and Chrysanthemum). It was the vitamin and mineral-rich addition of tea leaves to the soil that created a great-tasting miracle of nature.

Composting your tea leaves is just one of the many uses for tea that go far beyond infusing. Whether or not it's Earth Day, it’s always a good time to think about ways to reduce (the money you spend buying fertilizer), reuse (old tea) and recycle (nutrients back into the soil). When you save your old or even steeped tea leaves and compost them, you add a layer of love and deliciousness to your yield in the garden, all while saving money. And just watch what tea can do for your flower blooms! It’s a great, natural way to increase the nutritional value of your soil. To that end, whenever you come in to visit, just ask if we have any Compost Tea.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 15:28

Dandelion: The Most Under-Appreciated Herb

Dandelion which grows wild in all 50 states is the most disliked weed, which is unfortunate. Dandelion has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Dandelion has hundreds of phyto-chemical constituents that together create a multitude of beneficial properties. Dandelion has been reputed to aid digestive issues, purify the blood, and help prevent hemorrhoids and gallstones. It is a gentle diuretic that supports kidney and bladder function and it contains amazingly high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Although dandelion grows wild almost anywhere, I would not recommend picking dandelion off the street to use because of the many pesticides and toxins in ordinary soil, groundwater, etc. While dandelion is a very healthful herb, always be sure you are buying from a reputable source!

Dandelion greens, the stems and leaves contain 535% of the daily recommended levels of Vitamin K which is crucial for building strong bones. The percentage is based on ingesting the fresh greens. When dried and infused as a tea, a teaspoon would give you roughly 40% in a single cup. Dandelion also contains similarly high levels of Vitamin A which supports healthy skin, cleanses and reduces inflammation in the mucous membranes, and supports eye health by protecting the retinas from the damage of UV rays. It also contains decent levels of Vitamin C, B-6, Thiamin, riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Manganate, Magnesium, Folates, Phosphorous and Copper. 

I use dandelion in several of our WellTeaing herbals. The diuretic, blood purifying and anti-inflammatory effects makes it a perfect inclusion in our Gentle Cleanse. The herbal combination in the Gentle Cleanse supports kidney and liver cleansing, while also cleansing the lymphatic system, and supporting your body’s natural cleansing and elimination of waste and toxins.

Dandelion is also in ArthriTea WellTeaing, which is an herbal blend to increase circulation and reduce inflammation as well as pain. Originally created to help with the symptoms of arthritis, I have also had people tell me they’ve had results with reducing inflammation effects of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and more. If you have inflammation this is the blend for you.

If you check out our WellTeaing line of wellness herbals, you will find dandelion is one of my favorites to combine with other herbs to bring out all of the beautiful benefits in our delicious blends. Dandelion has so many uses and benefits; it’s not merely an annoying weed in the yard. Next time you’re taking a stroll outdoors, perhaps take a moment to reflect on the blessings of this plant.

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