Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Getting the best from your herbal teas

Herbs have been used to enhance health and wellness since ancient times. These days we are seeing a return to the wholistic approach to health. There is wisdom in appreciating that we are body-soul-spirit beings. One aspect of our being cannot be affected without the other aspects likewise being affected.

How herbs work
Pharmaceutical manufacturers isolate certain chemicals from plants that are believed to be the most active ingedients, and these are processed and concentrated. The chemicals or vitamins are isolated and synthesised, and when the same concentrated drugs are given to people, side effects are common.

With herbal teas and products, the whole plant is used. The enzymes and nutrients work synergystically and meet the need or deficiency occuring in the body. In this way, the herbs adjust to whatever lack or need is occuring in the body, with a restorative and nurturing effect, and with far fewer side effects or risks than with concentrated pharmaceuticals.

Herbs encourage the body's natural healing process by promoting the elimination of toxins and revitalising the systems and organs of the body. They are gentle enough to use alongside orthodox medicines and can often help to gradually reduce reliance on other medicines. For example, anti-rheumatic herbs may decrease the need for anti-inflammatory drugs used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. (However, in the event of any ill health, please do not self-medicate but always consult your chosen health care practitioner. Potential herb-drug interactions must be ruled out).

The effect of herbs is more gentle, gradual and cumulative, so while you won't experience a "magic" instant cure, you will see gradual steady improvement over the weeks as the herbs, rich in nutrients and therapeutic properties, build up what is lacking, heal what is damaged and balance out what is imbalanced.

Herbal teas are made usually with the flowers or leaves of the plant, which have been dried and sometimes cut or crumbled.

Storing your tea
It is best to store and prepare your herbal teas in non-metallic containers. This prevents the herbs from picking up any impurities in the metal and prevents the breakdown of the vitamins and essential oils - which can occur as a result of contact with metal. Blissful Herbs uses the freshest organic and wild-crafted herbs we can find, including some that are grown ourselves in the rain and sunshine of Warburton. Your Blissful Herbs are packaged in eco-friendly, post consumer recycled 100% compostable packaging, and heat-sealed for your protection. Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Your herbs will preserve their potency for at least 12 months, in fact, they will keep for even longer. You can tell if herbs are too old, because they lose their vibrancy of colour and their vitality, like a pot plant that hasn't been watered.

Preparing your tea
Use about a teaspoonful - about 2g - of loose herbs per cup of tea. Place the herbs in your chosen jug or pot (an empty jam jar works fine). Heat can also reduce the quality of the vitamins, so when you make your infusion, pour water that has just off the boil over your herbs. Let the herbs steep for at least 5 minutes, to bring out the delicate flavours and therapeutic nutrients. (You can leave your tea steeping all day, that's fine.) Even better if you have a little lid on top of your cup, to minimise the loss of the volatile oils. Chinese tea cups are perfect that way! Such an infusion prevents the delicate healing properties from being reduced and preserves their potency for maximum therapeutic effect. Likewise, avoid using a metal mesh strainer to strain your tea, or a metal spoon to add honey or to stir your tea. Use plastic or better still, wooden implements, like the ones we have here:


What can you add to the tea? There's no need to add table sugar to herbal teas. If a sweetener is needed, use pure, raw honey. I like active Manuka honey, which is also a natural antibiotic. Refined sugars are unhealthy for the digestive systems, and can actually interfere with the effectiveness of many herbs, as well as aggravate disease. If you are allergic to honey and other bee products, you can substitute stevia or natural Maple Syrup. (Do not give honey to babies under 12 months old; they don't yet have the enzyme needed to metabolize honey.)

The more I fall in love with herbal teas, the less I want to use any form of sweetener, so that I can appreciate the subtle flavours of the teas.

You can also add a twist of lemon or lime to your tea.

When to take your tea
When you enjoy your beautiful herbal infusions, take your tea on an empty stomach if your purpose is cleansing, de-tox or the relief of symptoms; and if your tea is for energy, stamina, vitality or nutrition, it is best to have it with meals.

Herbal tea is versatile. You can drink it hot or warm. so comforting on a cold day. You can let it sit and steep in the pot all day if you want, and just strain the concentrated cold tea and top it up with more hot water. Or put it in the fridge and chill it for a glass of iced tea - add a lemon or lime slice - mmm! We have beautiful fresh mountain water in Warburton so I pour a glass of cold water and add just an inch or so of cold tea from the pot with a twist of lemon - delicious.

Herbal tea as part of a healthy diet
For the best therapeutic effect from your teas, cut down on sugar in the diet. Sugar places a heavy strain on your entire endocrine and immune system which will work agains the help and healing your herbs are doing. Likewise avoid stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine which will be depleting just what your herbs are trying to build up. Almost all herbs are rich in anti-oxidants, helping flush out toxins, and even helping to maintain a healthy weight.

Enjoy the restorative benefits of these remedies from nature.

Disclaimer: This information is of a general informational nature and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. Any health condition should be referred to your chosen health care practitioner. If you are unwell, please do not self-medicate, but consult your health care practitioner. Do this before commencing to use any herbal tea, and be aware of any personal and family allergies.

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