I’ve just greatly expanded our Herbal Tea section at the Shoppe to include a number of my favorites – here’s what I’ve added and why I like each of them, or how I use them:

Smooth Move Chocolate Senna Tea (Laxative)

Oh lord, this tea has saved my life on numerous occasions – until I figured out it was gluten that was constipating me! Senna – the active herb in this tea – is quite a bit stronger than magnesium for stimulating the bowels. But it can be addictive (the bowel gets reliant on it), so it is only a short-term or emergency remedy. Having said that, my grandparents used senna once per week for about 40 years, so although their usage was consistent, it was not continual, and once per week seemed to be just fine. Please note the contraindications for this tea, as it is a strong medicinal, so don’t use if you suffer from: Intestinal obstruction, acute intestinal inflammation, appendicitis, abdominal pain of unknown origin, severe dehydration states with water and electrolyte depletion.

Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea

This tea contains slippery elm and marshmallow root; two herbs that are soothing and healing for the gut lining. Likewise, they also soothe the mucous membranes of the throat. I’ve been giving this tea to my kids since they were babies (I would just put it in a bottle for them), whenever they had a cough or sore throat.


African Red Tea Organic Rooibos with Vanilla Beans (Caffeine-Free)

This is my standard, staple breakfast tea. Those of you who have read the Botswana, No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, can now enjoy the same tea as Mma Ramotswe! Many people don’t know that rooibos tea (from Africa) contains 50 times more antioxidants than green tea and no tannins. It is also caffeine-free.

Rooibos tea remained virtually unheard of for centuries, known only to the Khoisans, a tribe of South African Bushmen. It was used frequently by these people as an herbal remedy for a wide range of ailments. Rooibos tea has been shown to soothe the body’s reaction to allergy and rashes and also contains anti-spasmodic agents which can relieve stomach pains.

If you brew it really strong, you can even add milk, like you would to a black tea and it tastes similar. Brew it light (and then you can also re-use the tea bag once or twice more) and it tastes more like a herbal tea, but still with a heavier, earthy note. The real vanilla beans (not extract) in this one make it extra yummy. I love it light and my husband loves it strong with milk (but then, he is British!).

Numi Organic Decaf Black Vanilla Tea (Caffeine-Free)

Whole, organic, aromatic vanilla beans are crushed minutes before blending into an organic decaffeinated black tea for a magnificently smooth, rich satisfying cup. The CO2 decaf process is chemical-free and retains more flavor and health properties in the tea leaves. For those of you who have had to give up caffeinated black tea, this is your dream come true and the organic vanilla beans just elevate it to divine enjoyment.

Numi Organic Magnolia Puerh Tea

Numi is a special tea company in that it doesn’t use flavoring oils in its teas, but instead flavors its teas with whole dried fruits, herbs, spices and flowers. This blend is for the tea connoisseur and is a blend of organic green tea and organic black puerh (a Chinese tea), scented with magnolia, so it does contain caffeine. It has a deep earthy flavor and sweet floral scent.

Yogi Teas Rooibos Sweet Peach Tea (Caffeine-Free)

This tea is 87% certified organic and it is sweetened with stevia. So for those of you who want a fruity, sweet tea with no caffeine, this one is great hot or iced. When I make it iced, I make an entire pitcher and add sliced up fruit like apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, mango, papaya, etc. After it has steeped for an hour or so, it is soooo delicious and refreshing!

Yogi Teas Green Tea Goji Berry

Please note that green tea does contain a form of caffeine in it. This product is almost entirely certified organic, there are just two ingredients which are natural, but not organic: goji berry and natural lotus flower flavor. Tibet’s bright red Goji Berry energizes the body; protecting the liver and boosting the immune and circulation systems. With the added antioxidant benefits of green tea and Japanese matcha green tea, you will feel fresh and recharged with every sip.

Consider getting yourself a stylish teapot with matching cup(s) – something that reflects your unique style and makes you feel a certain way when you look at it. It could make you feel happy, or peaceful, or rested, or give you a chuckle. I have different teapots that I use to create or reflect different moods – my froggy teapot (bought at HomeSense for $11!) never fails to elicit delighted remarks. Teapots can be bought very reasonably at discount stores or Chinese markets – just make sure they are ceramic or porcelain. Look for teapots and cups made of inert substances that don’t transmit any chemicals or heavy metals into your tea (although cast iron would be okay, especially if you’re anemic!).