Friday, December 12, 2014

The Scents of the Holidays

Three of the things I enjoy most about winter holidays are: the music, lights and the aromas.  The strong aromatics of pine and rosemary, rich camphoraceous scents of frankincense and myrrh, all fill me with a sense of wellbeing. I bring in fresh greens to mix amongst my artificial pieces and burn incense in the afternoons.  The shorten daylight hours and lower temperatures of winter  leave me craving the warming fragrances (and taste) of cinnamon and clove added to the sunny sweet smell of orange. The best way I know to enjoy those is by making tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            . Brewing pots of tea is another way I fill my home with aromas that bring pleasant memories of years gone while strengthening my immune system. Only part of this immune benefit comes from drinking the tea, the other comes from the influence its aroma has on the olfactory bulb of the brain and the psychological energetic plane.   The warm sunny aroma of orange conveys joy and positivity. You may wonder what a recipe for tea has to do with a blog about making changes but, sometimes it’s easier to change viewpoints by making simple changes in the environment.  

The instructions for making the tea are simple.
You’ll need a fresh orange ( I prefer organic) Wash and peel it. Eat the orange, save the peel.
2 clove buds
4 sticks of cinnamon
6 tea bags. I use black tea but the Lipton type blends of orange pekoe , even green tea will work.
 To make enough for a 1 liter pitcher put a quart and a half of water in a 2 qt. sauce pan. Place the orange peel, clove buds and cinnamon into a pot of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the tea bags and cover so that the tea steeps for 20 minutes.  Remove the fruit peels, tea bags and spices. Sweeten to taste with your personal preference of sweeteners. I like agave nectar.
This can be drunk hot or cold and left-over can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.  
Orange peel, especially dried, is an important part of Chinese medicine. It stimulates digestion and relieves spasms. In the early 18th century sweet orange was reputed to alleviate nervous disorders, colic,  liver and stomach problems.  It helps in the digestion of fats. It was also used  to treat conditions such as coughing, arthritis and sore throats.

Adding clove and cinnamon to the tea expands the possibilities of health improvement. Modern research finds that cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It helps in cases of depression, the common cold, and can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Cloves are anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic. They’re a good source of some minerals especially manganese.  

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