Hibiscus Iced Tea for Summer Heat




Valerie Lull, MH

Hibiscus tea is good for so many things. It helps your cardiovascular system, it is high in anti-oxidant levels, and it is good for minor aches and pains. Hibiscus tea can help high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation, and it can speed up metabolism. Some folks use it for weight loss. It has wonderful  nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants.

The hibiscus plant Hibiscus sabdariffa, is thought to originate in Africa. It produces beautiful flowers that produce a tea that is red in color and sour in taste. It has been compared to cranberry because of its tartness. It can be prepared hot or cold.

I’ve included a recipe for hibiscus iced tea. It is so sour that it needs some sort of sweetener to make it palatable for me and probably for a lot of you folks who read this blog. The hot hibiscus tea is good in the fall and winter and the iced hibiscus tea is good in the summer. All sorts of teas and flavors can be blended with it to make it taste any way you want. Some suggestions are ginger, mint, citrus (lemon or lime) green tea, and many kinds of fruit. One of my favorites is hibiscus raspberry.

Hibiscus Iced Tea

1/2 cup hibiscus flowers, or 4 teabags of hibiscus tea

4 cups cold water

Sweetener of choice, (suggestions; stevia, honey)

lemon or lime wedges

Put ingredients in a pitcher and cover. Refrigerate 8-12 hours. Strain and serve. Lemon wedges can be used for a  garnish.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com






Beat the Heat with Peppermint Iced Tea



Valerie Lull, MH

We are now into summer time and that means hot days are ahead. One of my favorite herbs that I  use during the hot weather is Peppermint.  Peppermint is good for a lot of things; menstrual problems,  irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems and pain relief. But sometimes you are just looking for something that will give pleasure. Peppermint iced tea on a hot day is one of those things. Sometimes we need a beverage that is for sheer enjoyment and forget about the medicinal stuff.

There are an endless variety of variations you can make. A couple of my favorites are peppermint hibiscus, and peppermint apple. You can also use lemon, black tea, green tea, rooibos tea, fruit flavors and favorite spices. You can also  make peppermint ice cubes to add to your favorite iced teas.

Below is a recipe for brewing peppermint iced tea from fresh peppermint leaves, followed by a recipe using peppermint tea bags.Also how to make peppermint ice cubes.


Boil 2 quarts of water

Add 1 cup of fresh peppermint leaves and steep until desired strength is reached.

Add desired amount of sweetener of choice.

Put in a heat proof container and add 2 quarts of cool water.  Ice cubes or crushed ice may be used. Serve and enjoy.


Take 6 peppermint tea bags and add to 4 cups of boiling water.  If a mixture of black tea and peppermint tea is desired use 3 bags of black tea and 3 bags of peppermint tea. Steep until desired strength is reached. Add sweetener of choice and also 4 cups  of cool water. Serve and enjoy.


Brew some peppermint tea. Pour into a ice cube tray and freeze. For variation a small piece of peppermint may be placed in each cube. Add to iced tea of your choice and enjoy.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com

Valerie Lull, Master Herbalist








What is Nutrition?



Valerie Lull

There are many people who don’t know about good nutrition. A typical meal is a burger, fries and a soft drink. The burger might provide some protein, but the rest is empty calories that add to your waistline and don’t do much for your body. In today’s blog I will talk about what good nutrition is. Nutrition is the study of  foods and beverages and the components that make them up and how they effect the human body.

Nutrition starts with food. Not just any food, good food. It includes foods that help you grow and maintain a healthy body. Nutrition is important because it supplies the body with nutrients like vitamins and minerals that are important for sustaining life. Nutrition is a science that studies how foods are broken down to create cells and tissues in the body. Nutrition shows how various conditions and diseases can be prevented by a healthy diet. It also identifies things like malnutrition from a poor diet, and food allergies.

Nutritional supplements are substances in pill, capsule or liquid form that are meant to supplement the diet. While most of the diet should be made up of healthy foods, supplementation is sometimes desirable or even necessary. Supplements are meant to supply nutritional deficiencies. For example, someone who lives in a damp, rainy environment may be lacking Vitamin D because of inadequate sun exposure. For that person a vitamin D supplement may be necessary.

A big problem is soil erosion, pesticides and GMO products. Folks might want to get organic foods or go to farmer’s markets. Some folks feel that the food is not of adequate to supply all the nutrients they need. Supplements may be desirable to make up lack. One way to deal with this is to grow your own food. DO NOT start a supplement without first discussing it with your health care provider. Supplements may be great but some of them do not mix with prescription drugs.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com






5 Spices for Anti-aging



Valerie Lull

While we all know that someday we will die, there are things that can be done to slow down the aging process and have a better quality of life right up to the end. Nature has provided a great many things that can help us achieve these goals. Who wants to be sitting in a wheelchair in a nursing home, and who wants to be a burden to their families? By adding these simple spices to your diet you can help maintain your independence and have a quality life.

Oregano – has the highest antioxidant level of all herbs. Antioxidants are important for fighting free radicals which speed up the aging process. Oregano is also anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a definite part of the ageing process and slowing it down is a good preventative measure. Oregano is also antibiotic and antiviral, which means it helps keep these nasty microbes under control.

Ginger – A little sliced ginger with honey in hot water makes a delicious tea. This anti aging secret comes form India and helps reduce inflammation and reduces collagen breakdown. Sipping a cup of ginger tea on a cold fall or winter morning also has a calming effect. This is one of my personal favorites.

Turmeric – Another anti aging secret from India is Turmeric. The people in India have a much lower rate of Alzheimer’s disease than other countries. This is thought to be because of the extensive use of turmeric in their diet. Turmeric contains high levels of antioxidants and inflammatory substances. Turmeric contains curcumin which many people have found can relieve arthritis pain.

Chili – can help with circulation problems and coughs and colds. It is great for clearing your sinuses. Chili contains capsaicin, which is an antiinflammatory that relieves pain. It can be obtained in ointments and patch form and is popular for relieving minor aches and pains in the body.

Cinnamon – This is a spice that was popular among the ancients for its health benefits. In recent times it has been studied for it’s use in controlling blood sugar levels. A half teaspoon per day can improve insulin sensitivity which can help control weight and prevent heart disease.

It is so easy to just add a little spice to your diet. It makes your food taste good and it is good nutrition when used in moderation. If you desire to use it as a medicinal be sure to consult your health care provider because some spices may not mix well with your medications. Expert advice is always important.


To access my web site and learn about teas go to www.valerielull.com

Valerie Lull
Ten Healthy Teas

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Tea

This week I am writing about brewing tea. Brewing tea is a highly personal thing. Some like their tea hot, some like it iced, some like it stronger than others. Some prefer it with milk, and others with both milk and sugar. This week I’m going to give you some tips to help you brew  your perfect cup of tea.


  • Storage – Loose tea tends to pick up the odors of the kitchen so it is best to keep it in a tin or tea canister. Bagged tea us usually in individual wrappers so it is already protected.
  • Loose or bagged – This is a matter of preference. Some folks don’t like fussing with an infuser and having to measure the tea out and find bags more convenient.
  • Tea bags – They come in bleached and unbleached bags. Folks that are health conscious will often prefer the unbleached bags.
  • Quality of tea – The larger the particles of the tea the better. Some of the really inexpensive teas are merely the dust from the tearoom floor. Broken leaf or whole leaf are generally better. Also the more expensive teas are usually a better quality. A lot of it depends on which country or estate the tea comes from, the climate, soil conditions, amount of sun or water the plant is exposed to, and the amount of shade or sun the plant gets. There is also the question of pesticides and organic might be preferable to the regular teas.
  • How much tea to use – Bagged tea is already measured and one usually uses one one bag per cup, though with some teas you can get a second cup from one bag. For loose tea the rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of loose tea for each person plus one teaspoon for the pot. This can vary with how strong you want your tea. If you want a stronger tea add more loose tea. It is supposed to be better than steeping it longer.
  • Water – Tea likes oxygen so fresh cold water is best. Purified water is generally preferable to tap water, if you have it available. The better the quality of your water, the better your cup of tea.
  • Temperature – The various different kinds of teas require different temperatures. Water for black tea should be about 208 degrees while green and white teas are better at 175 degrees. You may want to make your tea water a little hotter or colder depending on your preference. Personally for some green and white teas I prefer 165 degrees. A programmable electric tea kettle is very handy for this. You simply put in the temperature you want and the kettle brews it to that temperature.
  • Steeping time – There are charts available online that list the different teas and the temperature and steeping times required. Again this can be a matter of preference. A general rule of thumb is 2-3 minutes for black tea and herbal teas, 4-5 minutes for green and white teas.
  • Pouring the tea – It is a good idea to put some of the boiling water in the pot and swirl it around to warm the pot first then put in  the tea and the water.
  • Cream and sugar – This is also a matter of preference. Some prefer their tea straight, others prefer sugar and others prefer both cream and sugar. Generally green tea is taken without anything in it, though I have been known to use a little sweetener in mine. Herbal teas are usually taken without anything added to them.
  • Additional thoughts –  There are lots of things that can be added to tea to flavor it up; honey, agave, cinnamon, lemon. Experiment and find your preference. There are also many tea blends available and I get great pleasure trying out different kinds and finding the ones I enjoy the most.

I hope you find these ideas and suggestions helpful. For more information about tea go to my website at www.valerielull.com  

Valerie Lull
Ten Healthy Teas

Green Tea and Oral Health

green tea 2 cups and pot


Valerie Lull

When I was researching the benefits of green tea I was surprised to find it was good for oral health. I knew about heart, and brain health, but oral health was a new idea to me.

Green tea contains flavonoids, and catechins. These have antioxidant properties. One study suggests that green tea promotes oral health because it reduces inflammation, bone resorption and limits the growth of some kinds of bacteria. It seems that green tea fights the bad plaque forming bacteria, and encourages the good oral bacteria. This means less plaque and fewer cavities.

Green tea helps oral health several ways. It cleanses bacteria around the gum line, it promotes better breath, and one study at the University of Texas showed that it slowed the progression of oral cancer.

Another study was done by Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki of Kyusu University in Fukuoka, Japan. They studied men who had periodontal disease. They examined 3 indicators; pocket depth, clinical attachment loss of gum tissue and bleeding. They discovered that for every one cup of green tea that the men consumed per day there was a decrease in the indicators that were examined. The researchers think it was because of the catechin content in the tea.

Green tea has properties that are good for fighting inflammation that is a part of gum disease. Be sure to check with your health care provider before using green tea for medicinal purposes.

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Green Tea and Your Brain

Green Tea - 2 cups



Valerie Lull

Green tea is a beverage from ancient times that has had an impact on human health and healing. Folklore is full of anecdotes and remedies. In modern times the use of green tea for brain health has become more researched. Alzheimer’s Disease seems to be happening these days in record numbers. Is there anything that will help this disease?

Some fascinating research has been done on green tea and Alzheimer’s. A researcher from McMaster University in Canada, named Melacini, thinks that the best way to avoid Alzheimer’s is to prevent it in the first place. He feels green tea used as much as   15 -25 years before the onset of Alzheimer’s is one way to prevent it.  (1)

The key substance in green tea that seems to be working, are the catechins. We’ve talked about catechins in the last two blogs. Another study from 2002 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry indicates that green tea can do more than prevent dementia, but helps brain function, memory and decreases damage done by metal toxicity. (2)

I feel that while drinking green tea is definitely an asset to one’s brain, other good health practices should be used along with green tea. There seems to be a synergy between multiple approaches as opposed to doing just one thing. These things include nutritious diet, exercise, and social and spiritual aspects of life.

Remember, if you want to use green tea for medicinal purposes be sure to discuss it with your health care provider.

Check out my website at www.valerielull.com


(1) Medical News Today, October 13, 2017

(2) Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2002, Sept.20:277(38):34933-40