Our Tea Journal

 

Here you will find a compilation of all the stories we have to share about our experiences with herbs, teas, the Japanese Tea Ceremony and so much more. 

Please feel free to peruse them all and don't forget to like and leave a comment. 😊

One wouldn’t typically consider a berry to be an herb but the elderberry plant with its high levels of anti-oxidants and vitamins is just what one needs to support the immune system from illness.




Elderberry, as it is popularly known, refers to several varieties of the Sambucus tree, which has clusters of white flowers and black or blue-black berries. The most common type being Sambucus nigra, also known as European elderberry or black elderberry.




With more than 30 types of elder plants and trees around the world the elderberry plant’s history dates back as far as 400 BC, and Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” called the elder tree his “medicine chest.”

In folk and herbal medicine today, it is therefore no wonder that the elderberry is considered one of the world’s most healing plants.




For cultivation, the elderberry plant needs lots of nitrogen and sunlight. Once it flowers in late spring then you can expect the deep red purplish berries to bear.


Although my only experience with this particular herb has only been in the dried, syrup or gummy (don’t judge) form. I trust in its efficacy to support my body’s natural ability to heal itself.




FUN FACT: In Japan, the elderberry juice is approved as a natural colour additive.



IMPORTANT TO NOTE

Raw unripe elderberries and other parts of the elder tree, such as the leaves and stem, contain toxic substances (e.g., sambunigrin) that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; cooking eliminates this toxin. Large quantities of the toxin may cause serious illness.





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An herb well reputed for it’s benefits to the immune system, Echinacea Purpurea is a must have in any Herb-Lovers garden and apothecary.





Commonly known as purple coneflower this beautiful herbal flowering plant not only brings vibrant colour to the herbal garden but also helps in reducing inflammation and lowering blood sugar levels when ingested.




Native to North America, this is not a plant that I have had much experience with caring for within a herbal garden setting. Nevertheless, the dried herb in either capsule or tea form is my go to at the onset of any signs of a cold or flu.


Feeling a sore throat coming on? Time for some echinacea tea!


It provides exactly what the immune system needs to aid the body in fighting any and all foreign invaders. Often teaming up with goldenseal root to create a power house of immune protection just when you need it.


For the highest levels of potency it is best to use both the flowering tops and the roots as they aid in fighting off viral bronchial infections.


FUN FACTS about ECHINACEA


  1. The Japanese Beetle is the only pest this plant has difficulty with

  2. The thin stem is actually covered with course hairs.

  3. These herbaceous flowering plants are a member of the daisy or sunflower family

  4. The possess a fibrous root system

  5. The genus name of purple coneflower comes form the Greek word echino, meaning hedgehog, and refers to its spiny brown central cone.


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'a place for spiritual and physical cleansing before entering the Japanese Tea Room'


There is a significant power that the flow of water has for purification.

As humans we are made up of more than two-thirds water so, naturally, we are all affected by the presence of water. In fact, the presence of water within Eastern culture has held immense spiritual significance since the dawn of time. This is no more evident than when it comes to the Japanese Tea Garden and the Japanese Tea Ceremony itself.


Tsukubai (蹲) (Tiny stooping purifying basin)




A Tsukubai is a low wash basin found in most classical Japanese tea gardens, temples, and shrines.


In the Tea garden, the tsukubai is near the entrance to the tearoom and not in direct view from the tearoom. It is somewhat hidden by carefully placed shrubs and trees. A lantern is oftentimes placed nearby.



They are usually made of stone with water which flows from a bamboo pipe. A stone with a depression serves as a wash basin, and a bamboo ladle is sometimes provided for the guests use. Sometimes the water that is poured into the basin from the bamboo pipe stops and starts the flow of water depending on the weight of the water flowing into it.


One has to stoop down to use the basin, a custom that was adopted from people washing their hands in streams or purifying themselves at holy washing troughs at shrines before worshipping the gods.



Before entering the Chashitsu (the tea room) all guests are required to wash their hands and rinse their mouths. This ritual purification is done themselves by pouring some water over their hands with a Hishaku (bamboo ladle) and finally rinsing out their mouths with some from the palm of their hand. This is a similar process to what can be seen at most Buddhist Temples around Japan.



It is believed that the act of using the water from these wash basins purify the minds and spirits all those who are entering a sacred space.


My Very Own Tsukubai



In lieu of my own personal Japanese Tea Garden, I recently procured a mini tsukubai as an addition to my indoor garden space.

Do you have any water features in your home garden? What does it represent to you?


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