November Tea Blend - Frost Moon
The evenings come quickly now as we near the Winter Solstice. Looking at my weather app, I see we’re averaging just nine hours of daylight and the sun is below the horizon at 4:30pm. Often our nights here on the Salish Sea are cold and clear with sparkling stars, the frost creeping crystalline over everything.
The full moon of November is traditionally called the Frost Moon since this month usually brings the first frosts of the season, turning all the crops and plants brown and black.
This time of year is always hectic in the Western world, with so much prep going into the upcoming Holidays. I find myself stressed out and worried with long ‘to-do/to-make’ lists. Creating a calming tea for the evenings has been on my mind, but I also have been dreaming about crafting a blend with nutmeg lately.
The scent of freshly ground nutmeg is amazing. It is heady, with a dry spicy note unlike anything else. When I found myself grinding it by hand recently for a recipe, I knew I wanted to make a tea blend with it.
Nutmeg, according to Lad in Yoga of Herbs, “is one of the best spices for increasing absorption, particularly in the small intestine. It helps reduce high Vata (the Ayurvedic humor related to movement and wind in the body) in the colon and in the nervous system. It is one of the best medicines for calming the mind. For this it can be taken 500mg in warm milk before sleep, to promote sound sleep.”
In my musings on what other herbs would pair well with nutmeg, I realized the vanilla like flavor of chaga mushroom (which I’ve written about before here), and the unique five-fold flavor of schizandra berries were my answers.
Schizandra (also spelled schisandra) is a traditional Chinese herb said to contain all five tastes. To me it has a very dry, sweet and sour note to it. Tierra says of it in The Herbs of Life. “As a tonic astringent, schisandra strengthens the tissues, eliminates secretions and helps retain the energy. It is also calming and aids forgetfulness and insomnia. It contains mild adaptogens which regulate various body functions and increase the ability to handle stress.”
This is a simple blend perfect for long cold evenings and gatherings with friends.
Chaga mushroom: 1.5oz (get cut and sifted, not the powder)
Schizandra Berries: .50oz to .75oz depending on how strong you’d like it.
Nutmeg: .20oz to .30oz depending on how strong you’d like it.
Be sure you get whole Nutmeg and grind it by hand (a mortar and pestle work best) to get a thicker and fresher consistency. Nutmeg powder in my opinion has lost much of its flavor and potency. For this small blend you’ll only need one Nutmeg seed.
I also sprinkled in a few Red Clover blossoms that I shredded up by hand just to give the blend a little more festive look.
Mix it well and breath deep the wonderful scent of Nutmeg!
Use a tablespoon of tea per serving and steep it for 10min in boiled water to allow the herbs time to really open up. Pour and serve!
You can also add a splash of your favorite milk to bring out the creaminess of the Chaga. I used plain unsweetened soy milk here but I think hemp would be lovely too.
Take time during this busy season for self-care and enjoy!