I was drinking a pot of Namasthé tea, and my kid was happily pouring a blended brew of their looseleaf mint, licorice and moss tea back and forth from a little teapot, playing with ice-cubes, tea strainers, and sipping and slurping away. It inspired me to reach out to Isabelle Ranger, TeaCrafter, herbalist and mama, Pemberton tea-grower (and the one-time founder of the Herbal Emporium apothecary in Mt Currie back in 2000), and ask her to author a guest post on the wellness benefits of tea for kids. Happily, she agreed. Over to Isabelle:
Every child loves to imitate, play in the kitchen and serve their teddies, kitties or best yet the closest adult willing to forego knowing what may lurk in the teapot or vessel based on probabilities. If the adult is truly young at heart or adventurous they will actually sip the said brew (especially if the source of liquids was fetched by the adult to begin with … if it is their child’s brew they may or may not take a sip or even pretend to sip with makeshift tea etiquette.)
Bottom line is kids see us engage in stimulating, soothing and sharing actions, over cups of tea, as our ancestors have communed for millenia, so naturally they also want to partake in their own ritual.
Kids are also very attuned to the natural realm and may cheerfully serve you an awesome dandelion, daisy, mint or tea (perhaps seated with a garden gnome, fairy princess, white rabbit or an ugly toad.)
Hopefully it will not be a freshmown grass tisane, dirt tea or more questionable concoctions!
The love of healthful tea/tisanes can begin early for a life long nourishing habit of infusing herbs into water as our most ancestral birthright.
Tisanes can soothe an upset stomach or sore throat: ginger, lemon, honey, dill, mint.
They can help relax, ground and soothe a child : catnip, chamomile, rose, linden blossoms, lavender, oatstraw.
Herbals are also a safe and gentle altenative used in lower dosage for colds, flus and fevers : elderflower, lemon balm, fennel seed, hibiscus, thyme, meadowsweet, cinnamon, ginger, marshmallow and licorice.
Additionally herbals have vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and constituents to ease many an ailment while it is joyfully sipped in tiny teapots to make it fun for kids: Rooibos, rosehips, nettles, honeybush, chai, even true tea from Camellia sinensis. (To reduce theine (caffeine) content sip the first infusion then subsequent ones will have much less theine and still taste great for kids.)
Steer clear from popular flavoured, sweetened or candy teas with “natural flavour” as they are made with lab-made chemicals that mimic nature with fashionable candy shop aromas that are addictive to sensitive children’s bodies and brains.
Keep it true, pure and healthy with herbals from your own garden, farmer’s market, herbal apothecary or premium TeaCrafter from known origins made from organic botanicals. Sweeten, if need be with local honey or maple syrup.
If you want to learn more about tisanes for kids consult your trusted community herbalist, naturopath and there are many herbal resource books at your library to get started on a lifelong path of discovery, health and fun foraging, growing or sharing many cups with the whole family.