My Healthy Tea Blend

My Healthy Tea Blend contains four main ingredients: hibiscus, rose hips, roasted dandelion root and citrus peel. Each of these herbs provides many health benefits, and as you will learn, can be especially beneficial to boost immunity during the spring cold season.

While you can easily purchase tea bags containing hibiscus or rose hips, and / or dandelion leaves or roots, purchasing the herbs in bulk and simmering them together on the stove makes a more potent and flavorful tea.

I've added some variations I sometimes add to My Healthy Tea Blend, below, many of which include dried herbs or spices you Plus you may already have in your kitchen, such as cinnamon sticks, cardamon pods, or Chinese star anise.

Hibiscus, Rose Hips, Dandelion & Citrus Peel for My Healthy Tea Blend

Making your own teas using loose herbs requires a little investment upfront, however, it's much more economical than purchasing already prepared tea bags, and requires little effort.

Ingredients in My Healthy Tea Blend

While much more could be written about each of the four main ingredients ~ hibiscus, rose hips, dandelion root and citrus peel ~ I will highlight just a few. Plenty of information exists online for those who want to learn more, or refer to the books mentioned in the article, and listed at the end.

Hibiscus & Rosehips 

Both hibiscus and rosehips have a deep reddish coloring common in fruits and vegetables high in lycopene and beta carotene (such as carrots and tomatoes) ~  carotenoids which promote healthy skin and eyes. They are also high in anti-inflammatory compounds, like bioflavonoids and antioxidants, including vitamin C. 

Vitamin C is an antioxidant which improves immune function.  Vitamin C also helps improve absorption of dietary iron.  Studies indicate low levels of vitamin C can lead to cognitive impairment with reduced memory and thinking abilities.  

This cohort study looking for associations between cognitive impairment and mortality, specifically with respect to ischemic stroke, found that among 921 randomly selected men and women 65+ surveyed, cognitive functioning was poorest among those with the lowest intake of vitamin C.  Further, that cognitive impairment was associated with increased mortality from ischaemic stroke.  

As an antioxidant, vitamin C has also been associated with many other health benefits, including helping manage high blood pressure, and reducing risk for heart disease, a primary use for hibiscus in Chinese herbal medicine.

Hibiscus / Chinese Hibiscus

Hibiscus, or Chinese Hibiscus is part of the Malvaceae family, and typically grows in hotter climates. We had a few hibiscus plants growing at our apartment compound in Scottsdale, AZ. The hibiscus flowers come in a variety of bold colors, however, the dried red flower blossoms are most commonly sold in bulk for making teas or other products. 

Chinese hibiscus is used medicinally and as part of food therapy, typically prescribed for improving cardiovascular health. Hibiscus has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce fatty deposits in arteries. It is also used to regulate blood sugar levels.

Rose Hips

According to The Herbal Home Remedy Book, by Joyce A. Wardwell, "Old fashioned roses make the best medicines....Roses are sweet, astringent, and lightly cooking in medicinal action."

Rose petals add a nice subtle flavor to green or black teas. Rose hips are best harvested after the first frost. The seeds are a great source of vitamin E, and rosehip oil, such as the one shown below, is a gentle oil that is good for using on sensitive and aged skin, and for those with acne.  I have been using rose hips oil on my face for a while and really like it. 

According to The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal, by David Hoffman, one of my favorite herbal reference books, rose hips support the immune system, and can be beneficial for treating issues dealing with the kidneys, bladder, gall bladder, and for some cases of constipation.

"Rosehips provide one of the best natural and freely available sources of vitamin C. They may be used wherever this vitamin is required. They will help the body's defenses against infections and especially the development of colds. They make an excellent spring time tonic and aid in general debility and exhaustion."

~David Hoffman, The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal

Rose hips also contain quercetin which is sometimes used for reducing allergy symptoms. According to this article found on Healthline, the antioxidants in rose hips, including those already mentioned and others help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, while boosting immunity.

Roasted granulated dandelion root & chicory root in jars
My Healthy Tea Blend ingredients

Dandelion Root

According to The Herbal Home Remedy Book,  Wardwell writes, "If you think you've never used dandelion as medicine, guess again. It's a prime ingredient in over half of all herb blends on he market, including formulas for weight loss, PMS, detoxification, and rejuvenation along with liver, digestive, kidney, and skin ailments!" She further states:

"Dandelion is such a wondrous source of minerals, vitamins, fiber, micronutrients, lecithin, and biologically active substances that there is probably no existing condition that would not benefit from regularly consuming dandelions."

~Joyce A. Wardwell, The Herbal Home Remedy Book

Dandelion root is a mild diuretic herb, that is also high in potassium, a mineral that is depleted when using standard diuretics, which makes it ideal for hypertension, and water retention. Hoffman explains that because dandelion is one of the "best natural sources of potassium" that it makes an "ideally balanced diuretic, even in cases of water retention due to heart problems."

As Wardwell states, "Dandelion stimulates liver function, reduces cholesterols, fights diabetes, and stimulates digestion; extracts indicate tumor-fighting capacities on lab-induced breast cancers in mice."

Please note: If anyone has any kind of reaction to dandelion, it can be omitted it from My Healthy Tea Blend.

Roasted dandelion root has long been used as an alternative to coffee as it has a similar roast-y flavor. I sometimes steep roasted dandelion root with roasted chicory root to drink instead of coffee. 

Teeccino brand makes a wide variety of excellent flavored teas and coffee alternatives using dandelion root and/ or roasted chicory roots. When drinking Teeccino Dandelion Teas, I simmer 1 tea bag in nearly 1 quart of water, so while a bit pricey, a little goes a long ways.

Teeccino Coffee Alternative - 4 flavors
Teeccino made in my apricot ceramic French press
Teeccino Dandelion Mocha Mint and Caramel Tea flavors

Chen Pi / Aged Citrus Peel

Citrus peel in jars
Citrus Peel in jars2

I also like adding dried citrus peel to the tea, which is used in Chinese medicine for various purposes, including regulating digestion. The more aged the citrus peel, the greater it's effects. 

Citrus peel has pungent and warm properties with a bitter flavor. It 'moves the qi' ~ or benefits circulation, especially in the digestive organs, and can also help clear out or drain excess dampness and phlegm, and reduce vomiting. 

In Chinese medicine, 'Chen Pi' is the citrus peel of mandarins, while 'Qing Pi' is from immature tangerine peels, and has a stronger effect to break up stagnation, and treat indigestion, abdominal fullness and distention. 

Citrus peels from oranges, mandarins, and tangerines can be saved and stored in jars with tight fitting lids. I keep fresh peels in bowls on the counter until they dry out before storing them. You can clean the skins well, and peel with a pairing knife or potato peeler, keeping the inner white pith to a minimum. Or, for minimal fuss, just set aside citrus peels that you peel by hand until dry, then place them in a jar. They will get better as they age. 

Now that you know a few of the amazing health benefits for each of the herbs in My Healthy Tea Blend ~ it's time for the recipe!

My Healthy Tea Blend of Roasted Dandelion Root, Rosehips, Hibiscus & Citrus Peel

My Healthy Tea Blend Recipe

I have been purchasing bulk loose herbs to make tea online through Amazon because they are increasingly challenging to find locally.  I have provided links to companies I like for both quality and affordability. Even though I do make a small commission from purchases made through my links, if you have a better source, let me know in the comments section. 

I use roughly equal parts of hibiscus and rose hips, and half as much roasted dandelion root.  In measurements, I would measure the following:

1/4 cup each hibiscus and rose hips
1/8 cup roasted dandelion root
1 small piece of dried citrus peel
4 cups fresh purified cool water

Place ingredients in a pot, and simmer on a medium-low heat, covered, for about 10-15 minutes.  Strain, and make another pressing to get the most out of the herbs:

Add about 2 more cups of fresh filtered water, and a pinch more of each of the herbs. Simmer a little longer for the second pressing, then strain into the same container as the first pressing, or batch.

Once strained, it can be sweetened as desired, with brown rice syrup, stevia, Xyla, or whatever type of sweetener you prefer.  Dandelion and citrus peel are a little bitter, and hibiscus and rose hips are a bit tart, so a little added sweetness helps.  According to Chinese medicine, sugar actually helps moisten dryness and has several food therapy applications. 

Keep the tea blend in the fridge, and enjoy cool, or reheat to drink.  This is a refreshing warm weather tea.  It is actually good with a little nondairy creamer as well as a post meal treat.

Variations to My Healthy Tea Blend

  • Add 1-2 thin slices of ginger (warming, also aids digestion)
  • Add 1/4 cup of cut licorice root (sweetens)
  • Add 1 cinnamon stick (adds sweetness and warmth)
  • Add 3-5 cardamon pods (slightly warming spice used in Chai tea blends, has a function to 'transform phlegm' or reduce excess mucus and stimulate circulation)
  • Add 1 tablespoon of dried fruit, like dried cranberries, currants, or cut up dried apples