One of my favourite outlets for productive ‘procrastination’ and idea generation is my olfactory sense.
Mi love tings weh smell good.
My appetite for experiences that stimulate my senses of smell and taste has fertilised a blooming love for floral teas. At the moment, these are my 7 favourites and the aspects I love most about them.
1. Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea)
She’s known as ‘blue tea’ in the streets. The women of the Asian continent (India and China especially) first introduced her to me. The intriguing blue shade of this tea becomes a gorgeous purple when you add lemon juice. The lore of her medicinal and cosmetic benefits are plenty, so I find her especially interesting to experiment with. Lucky for me, I live in the Caribbean where yuh goodly find butterfly pea growing on yuh auntie fence. Butterfly Pea flower tea is caffeine-free and is technically regarded as a tisane, rather than a 'true tea.’ Sipping blue tea feels like legit Goddess business.
Plus, with a scientific name like Clitoria, yuh jus'cyaa guh wrong.
2. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile is a darling cousin of the daisy. She’s a classic relaxation and sleep aid, which also happens to support digestion (Source: Healthline). Chamomile tea is naturally sweet, has a memorable flavour, and a comforting fragrance. The key to a great cup of chamomile tea is finding the perfect steeping time for your taste. Mine is 4 minutes max. Any longer and its too bitter. I always have a stash in my kitchen. Chamomile is beautiful, reliable, and lovely ally to have around.
3. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion is one of those all-rounders...think the Shericka Jackson of flowers. The roots, flowers, and leaves each carry a unique brand of magic. It can support the body in combating inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and supporting the immune system (Source: WebMD and wise women of the ages). If you don't know better you’d think the plant is a useless weed. Given this long a** list of potential benefits, and the fact that it grows abundantly wild if you live near a dandelion patch, yuh bingo. The undeniably powerful yet unsuspecting energy of dandelion is my favourite aspect of this tea.
4. Elderflower (Sambucus nigra)
I discovered my love of elderflower in the form of 'holunder schorle,' a fizzy soft drink that I first encountered in Europe. Elderflower has a subtle, sweet, yet distinct taste and aroma that's like a sip of new spring air. "The ancient Celts believed a spirit lived in the elder who must not be angered, and it was often planted around homes for protection (especially against lightning). If you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know that a wand made of elder had the most powerful magic!" (Source: The Herbal Academy). Elderflower beverages inspire levity and lustre, which is why it’s one of my personal favourites.
5. Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
She goes by many names; Flor de Jamaica (Americas), Bissap (Senegal), Sobolo (Ghana), Zobo (Nigeria), Sorrel (Jamaica), and Roselle. Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers are native to Africa and grow in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world (Source: WedMD). The flowers come in a variety of colours, but the red ones are most frequently used in tea, which is tart to taste, best served with a toops of honey, and delicious hot or cold. The hibiscus flower is synonymous with the islands and is a popular folk remedy in tropical regions of the world. Island Gyal...we love a hibiscus. It's the inalienable way hibiscus connects us to Africa for me.
6. Jasmine (Jasminum)
The classic method of crafting a perfect jasmine tea is layering green tea leaves with jasmine blossoms, removing and replacing the flowers until their fragrance infuses the tea (Source: WebMD). What I love about jasmine is the tender care, presence and patience she demands in order for a grower to create a good blend. It's a majestic sensory experience. Jasmine is my go-to flower when I need a reminder that I'm a well of abundance, beauty, and pure magic.
7. Rose (Rosa)
The rose — a classic beauty and our granny's ‘go to’ flower — has been a quintessential symbol of love and femininity through the ages. She is an essential element of Traditional Chinese Medicine, where she’s regarded as a potential remedy for digestive problems, fatigue, mood swings, and menstrual cramps (Source: WebMD). This iconic flower makes a tea whose grace and decadence are difficult to rival.
Adventure Tip: explore which of these flowers you can get your hands on, and go get your 'G' on...'G'...being for Goddess, naturally. Brothers, don't be shy.