I create a lot of tea blends. Some of the blends turn out just okay, and admittedly, some aren’t even good enough to be shared. And some, like the Love Your Liver Tea blend (which contains lots of tasty herbs for liver health), turn out to be classic favorites that I both drink and share often. And I am so excited to share the recipe with you below!
But why go to all the trouble to make your own tea blend? As it is, most people in the United States make herbal tea using tea bags, which is seemingly a lot easier.
I agree there’s a time and place for the swift convenience of using tea bags to make herbal teas, but there are several big advantages when you make your own tea blend.
#1 The Quality of Herbs
There are a few herbal tea companies that use high quality ingredients in their products, but sadly many do not.
In fact, it’s well known that some of the worst quality herbs go into tea bags. (Are you curious where your herbs come from? My eyes have been opened to the challenges and problems within the global herbal trade industry through Ann Armbrecht’s new book, The Business of Botanicals, which I highly recommend.)
When you make your own tea blends using herbs that you can visibly see (and that you know were well-sourced and are high quality), you can feel more confident that you are drinking exceptional teas with healing qualities.
#2 Ability to Customize Your Own Tea Blend
When you drink tea formulas in tea bags, you aren’t able to customize what you’re drinking to really fit you. What’s in the tea bag is what you get.
When you make your own tea blend, you get the opportunity to create a blend that fits your unique preferences and desires: you can make a tea blend with herbs for liver health, a blend with herbs that nourish the heart, or a blend that supports immune function — the possibilities are truly endless. These infinite options allow you to create tea blends with impeccable flavor and medicinal qualities.
#3 Connection with the herbs
When you use tea bags the medicine is hidden away in a little packet. Your connection to the herbs themselves is that much more separated.
Whether you grow, harvest, or buy the herbs that you use to make your own tea blends, you are able to connect with those plants more strongly when you can see and taste them individually.
For me, the enjoyment and medicine in a cup of tea is not just about dunking a tea bag in water. Instead, it’s about the entire process of connecting to those plants, participating in reciprocity, and recognizing my interdependence with the many beings that help bring this cup of tea into fruition.
3 Tips to Make Your Own Tea Blend With Bulk Herbs
Admittedly, when you make your own tea blend the process is not as fast or as convenient as buying tea bags. But with a few simple systems, you can make this process smooth and easy.
#1 Make It a Habit
The first solution is simply to create the habit of making your own tea blends. The more teas you make, the easier it will get.
Through the process of making your own tea blends you’ll naturally create the best systems and gather the best tools. For example, the herbs and tools that I use most often have a special spot in the kitchen where they are easily within reach.
#2 Start Small
When I first start making a new tea formula, I make enough for one cup of tea. I then taste that tea and decide whether the tea blend is good as is or if it needs some more tweaking.
Once I have a formula just the way I like it, I then make it into a bulk blend. This means that instead of measuring out each individual ingredient every time I make a cup of tea, I have an already formulated blend that I can easily scoop out for tea.
Turning a one-cup tea formula into a bulk blend is easy if you know how to measure in parts!
#3 Learn to Measure in Parts
Measuring in parts is a common way to record recipes for tea blends, but unless you know how to do it, it can be very confusing.
So let’s demystify the process of using parts when measuring in volume.
When measuring in parts, you choose one volume measurement to be your “part.” You could use a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a handful, a cup, etc.
For our example, let’s say a teaspoon is our “part.” And the recipe looks like this:
- 2 teaspoons XYZ herb
- 1 teaspoon XYZ herb
- 1 teaspoon XYZ herb
- 1/2 teaspoon XYZ herb
Since a teaspoon is our “part,” then the recipe can be written like this:
- 2 parts XYZ herb
- 1 part XYZ herb
- 1 part XYZ herb
- 1/2 part XYZ herb
Now we can translate that recipe to a bulk blend by choosing a larger part. All of the ratios between the herb measurements will stay the same while the overall volume of the blend increases. Let’s use a cup measurement.
- 2 cups XYZ herb
- 1 cup XYZ herb
- 1 cup XYZ herb
- 1/2 cup XYZ herb
Now that you’ve gotten a grasp on measuring in parts, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients for one of my favorite tea blends: Love Your Liver Tea.
Roasted Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)
When I was a young herbal student I took a class on herbs for liver health. After the teacher was done presenting I couldn’t help but ask why he didn’t include dandelion root. His response was that while dandelion root was one of the best herbs for liver health, it was so common so he wanted to focus on more “exotic” herbs.
In my mind, dandelion is amazing because it’s both powerful and common! Why reach for something more “exotic,” when we have this powerful herb at our feet?!
Herbalists love dandelion because it promotes healthy liver function and overall digestion. The roots are high in inulin, an important prebiotic that helps to support healthy gut bacteria. Roasting the root gives it a delicious, almost caramelized flavor in tea blends (it also slightly decreases the amount of inulin in the drink).
Roasted Chicory Root (Cichorium intybus)
Chicory root is a cousin to dandelion root. They are in the same family, and they have similar tastes and growing habits. Herbalists also work with them in very similar ways. Chicory, like dandelion, is slightly bitter and can help promote healthy digestion as well as bile creation and release. As a result, chicory can help our bodies efficiently digest fats, which are broken down by bile. All of these qualities make chicory one of my favorite herbs for liver health.
Cacao nibs (Theobroma cacao)
Cacao, often the main ingredient in chocolate, is an antioxidant-rich herb that is well known for protecting the heart. Numerous clinical trials have been performed using isolated constituents of cacao, as well as the whole bean. They have shown that dark chocolate preparations can reduce hypertension, increase beneficial cholesterol (HDL), and increase insulin sensitivity.1,2,3
Orange Peel (Citrus x sinensis)
Many people relish the sweet fruits of oranges and then simply discard the peel — oops!
Orange peel is actually a wonderful medicinal herb that is frequently used to improve slow, stagnant, and damp digestion. Signs of slow digestion combined with a white coating on the tongue can be a good indication for orange peel. The bitter tastes of the whole peel (not just the zest) help to stimulate digestion and promote bile production and release. Plus! Orange peel tastes great in a tea blend.
Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric root is loved for so many of its gifts! It’s cardioprotective (like cacao), high in antioxidants, and is one of the most popular herbs for liver health.
Reach for turmeric when there are signs of stagnant digestion, such as bloating, gas, or a heavy feeling in the gut after eating. Turmeric can be frequently added to meals as a way to address chronically stagnant digestion or simply to maintain digestive health.
Turmeric is a cholagogue, which is an herb that promotes bile secretion from the gallbladder and liver. It can be used when there are signs of low bile secretion, such as a difficulty digesting fats. Using turmeric regularly may prevent gallstones, although it is recommended by the German Commission E to avoid using turmeric if gallstones are present.
A 2019 systematic review of randomized controlled trials showed strong evidence that turmeric and curcumin (one of the main constituents in turmeric) have a positive effect for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by significantly reducing ALT and AST blood concentrations (liver enzymes that can be measured to assess liver health).4
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
Black pepper has so much to offer a tea blend! But one thing I find really amazing about black pepper is its ability to increase the bioavailability of our herbs and foods. In other words, adding a bit of black pepper to herbal formulas or to our dinner plate means that we are going to more fully extract and digest the nutrients and other constituents in the food or medicine.
An article in the International Journal of Recent Advances in Pharmaceutical Research reports that black pepper acts as a circulatory stimulant by increasing the size of blood vessels, which helps to better transport nutrients around the body. It modulates the physical properties of cell membranes, which helps to transport nutrients through barriers. It also produces a thermogenic (warming) effect in the gastrointestinal tract, which increases blood supply to the area.5
Piperine, a constituent of black pepper, has been shown to dramatically increase the bioavailability of curcumin.6
Make Your Own Tea Blend With Herbs for Liver Health
My Love Your Liver Tea blend is one of my favorites in the late winter and spring, which is a traditional time to focus on herbs for liver health. It’s lovely first thing in the morning and also makes a wonderful after-meal tea to help promote healthy digestion.
What you’ll need…
- 2 teaspoons (7 grams) dried roasted dandelion root cut/sifted
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) dried roasted chicory root cut/sifted
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) cacao nibs
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) orange peel dried & cut/sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon (<1 gram) dried turmeric root cut/sifted
- Small pinch freshly ground black pepper (coarse)
- 16 ounces of water
- Milk or milk substitute (optional)
- Honey or desired sweetener (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15–20 minutes.
- Add milk and honey as desired.
Yield: 1 serving
Remember, if you want to make a bigger batch of this tea blend, just use larger measurements or parts: for example, you could substitute teaspoons with cups. If you need a refresher on how to do this, scroll back up to tip #3 for making your own tea blend with bulk herbs.
When you make your own tea blend in bulk, this will save you the hassle of measuring out the individual herbs each time you want to make this tasty Love Your Liver Tea.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What herbs do you reach for to support your liver?
Do you regularly drink an after-meal tea to support digestion?
Please share in the comments below.
- Shrime, Mark G, Scott R Bauer, Anna C McDonald, Nubaha H Chowdhury, Cordelia E M Coltart, and Eric L Ding. “Flavonoid-rich Cocoa Consumption Affects Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Meta-analysis of Short-term Studies.” The Journal of nutrition 141, no. 11 (2011): doi:10.3945/jn.111.145482. ↩
- Sarriá, Beatriz, Sara Martínez-López, José Luis Sierra-Cinos, Luis García-Diz, Raquel Mateos, and Laura Bravo. “Regular Consumption of a Cocoa Product Improves the Cardiometabolic Profile in Healthy and Moderately Hypercholesterolaemic Adults.” The British journal of nutrition 111, no. 1 (2014): doi:10.1017/S000711451300202X. ↩
- Grassi, Davide, Cristina Lippi, Stefano Necozione, Giovambattista Desideri, and Claudio Ferri. “Short-term Administration of Dark Chocolate Is Followed by a Significant Increase in Insulin Sensitivity and a Decrease in Blood Pressure in Healthy Persons.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81, no. 3 (2005): 611-4. ↩
- Mansour-Ghanaei, Fariborz, et al. “Efficacy of Curcumin/Turmeric on Liver Enzymes in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Integrative Medicine Research, vol. 8, no. 1, Mar. 2019, pp. 57–61. PubMed, doi:10.1016/j.imr.2018.07.004. ↩
- Umesh, Patil, Amrit Singh, and Anup Chakraborty. “Role of Piperine as a Bioavailability Enhancer.” International Journal of Recent Advances in Pharm. Research 1, no. 4 (October 2011): 16–23. ↩
- Smilkov, Katarina, et al. “Piperine: Old Spice and New Nutraceutical?” Current Pharmaceutical Design, vol. 25, no. 15, 2019, pp. 1729–39. PubMed, doi:10.2174/1381612825666190701150803. ↩