Spring Tea – Lemon Grass
For more than 5,000 years, Lemongrass has served a variety of purposes. Originating in tropical Asia and the Indian subcontinent, it has spanned out into Africa, South America, Australia, Oceania, and Asia. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used lemongrass as a flavoring, particularly in medicines. In India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines it was blended with other herbs to create a “fever tea” to cure patients with fever, stomachaches, and irregular menstruation. The oils, meanwhile, were used as an insect repellent and perfume – especially important in the 17th century when it masked the effects of poor hygiene for the well-to-do. In India, lemongrass is now essential in the mind-body medicinal practice of Ayurveda, and, in Wiccan practices, is used to promote openness and attract faeries. Lemongrass was introduced Westerners at the World’s Fair of 1951 and has expanded its use ever since. Health practitioners believe lemongrass contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, and enhances digestion and boosts the immune system – one reason why it appears in detox teas. Lemongrass also makes a tasty tea on its own and blends well with green teas and other botanicals.
A Bit of History
The licorice plant arrived in North America with the British in the 1600s. Native Americans quickly adopted the licorice plant as did the enslaved African Americans. Roots and barks have always been used as toothbrushes, remedies, tea, and spice, and the licorice root was one of them. In the mid-1800s, at the start of today’s candy industry, the licorice root became a penny candy, and the extract was used to flavor sweets. Licorice eventually played a leading role in one of the nation’s top soda flavors: root beer.