Who doesn’t love a cuppa? Well actually I think most of Sydney is Cafe obsessed but attitudes are changing ….

As an English woman I grew up with parents who have never drank water in their life. Thirsty – drink tea. Tired – drink tea. Friends round – drink tea. Before bed – drink tea.  Even when they visit Australia they consume about 10 cups of tea a day.  I offer them water on a hot day, they just put it in the kettle and you guessed it…

Fit and healthy at 73 with not a day in the hospital between them who am I to say Builders brew isn’t good enough. It must be all those anti-oxidents!

But apart from traditional black tea there are the herbal teas. One can look at health shops and supermarkets and there is an abundance of options for those wishing to avoid caffeine.

And then there are the specialist brews: Teas for tiredness, teas for sleep, teas for labour, teas for relaxation, teas for lactation. I’ve even seen teas for enhancing libido!!

Do these work and are you getting what the advertising claims?

As a herbalist I can and do make specialist teas.

For me the most effective teas are those that have more than one herb in them. In Chinese Medicine we have a term called ‘Dui Yao’ which is the art of combining herbs so that the resulting tea is brings out the best medicinal aspect of each herb. Effectively each herb supports and counterbalances the other herbs. I love this and it is fundamental in my personal approach to tea making whether it be with western or eastern herbs. For example, Chamomile is regularly used as a sleep tea or relaxing tea. But did you know that it’s also a ‘cooling’ tea. So actually no good to those who struggle with cold circulation unless you add in a herb such as hops which is more warming and brings the temperature to a more neutral zone on the body.

Another good example is that It’s no good putting a lactation tea together for encouraging milk supply if mum is going to be anxious and worried about breastfeeding or baby is going to get colic so all these things need to be considered!

The other factor is quantity. As a Chinese Medicine Herbalist if someone comes to me with a problem and wants raw herbs I will make a large bag of herbs and that will last just two days! Most of the herbs are boiled for at least 40 minutes so that the water is full of the chemical constituents that make the changes that I claim will occur.

When buying a herbal tea, if you just add nearly boiling water and let it steep for 2 minutes you may be missing that main constituent. So generally, teas are much weaker than any herbal medicine.

Will that matter?

For example, I make a relaxing dream time tea that contains passionflower, hops, catnip and chamomile. This tea will bring you down after a busy day, bring in a sense of calm and will definitely help you nod off and it’s delicious too but for the true insomniacs or those waking up at 3am, you will need something stronger to knock you out for the night. I can do that too…but in our clinic that’s powder or pills.

My next point is that you will get what you pay for.

Organic herbs are better quality!

And lastly most tea formulas put a lot in just for the ‘taste’.  You could be getting a lovely tasting tea but is there really much of the herbs that will actually do the job?

So, should you drink the supermarket herbal teas all day and get the effect you want?

I can’t give you that exact answer because every brand is different but yes, the more tea you drink the stronger the effect should be. It just depends on what’s in it as to how effective that tea is. So it pays to either read up and understand the herbs or talk to a herbalist. Don’t assume because it says ‘sleep’ that it will do just that!

Here at the clinic we currently have four teas that will help with conditions.

  • Fertilitea – for those thinking of starting a family. (for those with fertility issues you need to go stronger with herbs.)
  • Dream Time tea – AKA sleep tea / wired and tired / relax tea – True insomniacs need more.
  • Menotea – For help with overcoming some of the symptoms of peri menopause
  • Lactation tea – Improving let down and quantity of milk and calming mum and bub
  • Teachers Tea – AKA dream time tea (as above) that we rebrand for End of school year

Some Teas below that you can make and keep at home

Hot Flash Acute Tea

25g each of Dried Sage, black cohosh and peppermint.

Combine all the herbs and store in a glass jar.

To make tea:

Place 2 tsp of tea in about 350ml of water. Bring to boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn off add another tsp of tea. Cover and steep for 5 minutes.

Drink as you wish during the day.

Double up quantities if you want to take on the go…

(if you want more information please see our blog on hot flushes)

In labour Tea – open the cervix

2 pieces of fresh ginger (3-5cm piece

2 tablespoons of raspberry leaf.

To make tea:

Simmer ginger in 1 litre of water. Turn off heat and add the raspberry leaf.

Steep for 1-2 hours.

Drink about 150-200 ml every 20 minutes for 4 hours to encourage regular contractions and opening of the cervix once labour has commenced.

Nausea relief tea (pregnancy or cancer)

15g of dried basil

15g of dried ginger

60g of dried peppermint.

Combine in a jar

Steep 1 to 2 tsp in a mug of of boiling water for 10 minutes and sip.

If you’d like to know more about these teas, purchase a tea or two or even have a different need that I might be able to put something together then please contact me at

Off now to have a nice earl grey

Love and regards

Heidi the herbalist J