Two Teas for Tense Times

We all have stress. I have very few friends who aren’t working two jobs, or working while raising kids, or scraping by month to month, or even [not-so-]simply trying to figure out where their lives are taking them. And that’s all before we get to the nightly news’ quotidian catastrophe, or the pundits’ panic, or the gouges at the gas pump.

Here are two relaxing, calming teas that I’ve found useful to help wind down after a tough day. (Numbers are “parts” — a teaspoon, a handful, whatever your measure is.)


the work can wait

3 lemon balm
2 damiana
2 passionflower
1 lavender

This is for when you find yourself at home in body, but not in mind: you’re still at the office in your head, thinking over the TPS report for the hundredth time or dreading tomorrow’s staff meeting in all its gory, boring detail. Or maybe you look around and see all the hundred projects you’ve been meaning to get to at home–that wall needs a patch, that light bulb needs replacing, and oh, how those dust bunnies breed . . . you find yourself frantically cleaning or crafting, when really your body needs rest.

Damiana is a great nervine for settling comfortably into the body and soothing frayed nerves, which is where it gets its reputation as an aphrodisiac. The passionflower helps to quell those circular thoughts, while the lemon balm brings in some sunny cheer. Lavender rounds out the flavor and the function with its gently uplifting, but not overstimulating, aroma.

Drinking this tea, you feel that it’s ok to take an evening off. The world will be there tomorrow, and with some decent sleep and a calmer core, you’ll be better able to take it on.

Wood Betony by Melanie Shaw, on flickr

Wood betony, Stachys betonica, is a nice addition to either of these formulae.
(Photo credit: Melanie Shaw.)


3 catnip
2 damiana
1 lemon balm
1 linden
1 rose petals

The day’s been long, the stress has stuck, and your heart and stomach are struggling to see which can grumble louder . . . this one is for when you wish you could curl up in a ball, put your tail-tip over your nose, and thrum your way into warm contentment.

Catnip is excellent for when stress has your guts in a twist. Lemon balm’s warmth and damiana’s embodying nudge follow catnip’s lead to help loosen those knots. Rose relays love with its color and scent, while linden helps some of that hum reach the heart.

If you close your eyes you can almost hear it: mmrrrr . . .


You can see these formulae are similar — they share ingredients and purposes. Feel free to mix and match as suits your taste and need!

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