Sophomore and President of Tea Club Isaac Hughes spent thursday night with a warm cup of oats straw and marshmallow root tea learning about how he could incorporate herbs into his day to day life. Hughes was one of the organizers of Tina Hope’s herbalism event held on April 4.
“It was very calm, we got a lot of people to come out on a really rainy Thursday night. People really enjoyed it,” Hughes said.
The Tea Club hosted the workshop in order to show participants the benefits of tea. Hughes, and the rest of the club, first had the idea for a workshop with Hope after her presentation at Bioneers this fall where she presented on the different medicinal usages of plants. She touched on the assorted uses of different herbs, how to best prepare them, and most importantly to Hope, where to procure them.
“The sourcing, the quality of the herb [and] what part of the plant are you going to use of the herb [are important for usage],” Hope said.
Hope grows most of her herbs for both her family and her business, Tina’s Botanicals, in her own garden. She sells her product at the farmers market and online at www.tinasbotanicals.com. Her products include a wide variety of teas, salves, herbs and an admitted customer favorite: herbal energy bars. Hope has always been comfortable with using plants others might find “unusual.”
“My dad was always one to say, go out and pick a bunch of dandelion leaves for dinner tonight,” Hope said. “Herbs were not foreign, not bad, not poisonous, you can incorporate them and they’re often more nutritious than what you can buy.”
Hope discovered the possibilities of these herbs living in Namibia while in the Peace Corps. There, people used the plants and herbs that grew around them for food and for medicine out of necessity. She saw the positive effects that this could have on people.
“I saw the effects, and that this is for real. People rely on them because they have no other choice, and it works,” Hope said.
The workshop featured many of Hope’s favorite herbs and the best ways to use them for personal health and nutrition. She featured more traditional warm steeps, like one would with a regular cup of tea. She also discussed the use of “sun teas,” a style of steeping the tea for several days, often in the sun.
“You can make teas from them, you can cook with them. I put them into casseroles, omelets, and quiches,” Hope said. “They can be highly medicinal. For a long time now I’ve relied on them for my wellness.”
At the event, Hope provided samples of some of the teas you could make and students took advantage. They provided mugs, and every time someone finished their tea they would hop up and find another herbal tea to try.
“Medicinal teas don’t have to taste gross, I sampled so much tea during the presentation and it was so tasty,” Hughes said.