Published: Mon, February 27, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Do you want a little sleep - Doña Lupe's Kitchen

Do you want a little sleep - Doña Lupe's Kitchen

Do you want a little sleep?

If you are Latino, you've probably heard those words many a time from a grandmother, aunt or your mother. It means, "do you want to cup of tea?" In Mexican households at least (I can not speak for other Latinos), tea or tea fixes everything. You have a stomach ache? Yerba buena . Period cramps? Cinnamon and sometimes cinnamon with cilantro seeds (it totally works). Can not sleep? Manzanilla . Headache? Flower of tila . The list goes on and on by virtue of the Mexican spice sections of my local stores, the tradition of herbal teas in Latin houses is still going strong. No self-respecting Mexican house or apartment is ever without yerba buena, ruda, romero , and other herbs growing in and around it.

My grandmother Lupe was an expert on all things herbal and plant-related. In another life, she could have been a doctor. There was not anything she could not heal and make feel better without a few leaves of something from her massive gardens. I remember one time I was there visiting the summer and got sick. Not sure what was wrong with me but I had a very high fever and was almost delirious from it. My grandmother looked at me worriedly, left my Aunt Jessie to watch over me and walked out to her garden.

I'm not sure how much time passed before she was back, but there she Was, encouraging me to drink a hot cup of cloudy looking, greenish and gunky tea. I did not want it. I remember whining, crying, tossing and turning from how I wretched I felt, and I knew without a doubt that I did not want that nasty looking tea. My grandmother's gentle, soft hand brushed the hair out of my face and her lovely brown eyes looked down at me. "Tomatelo " she said. "Drink it. It will make you feel better. "I trusted her completely and if my grandma said I would feel better then I would. So I drank it, feeling a bit like Alice.

Here are a few of our Mexican traditional teas and their purposes for my Grandma Lupe. Please feel free to add yours in the comments and any lore or stories about them.

Disclaimer: These traditional uses and my statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These are NOT prescriptions and I am NOT dispensing. These are simply traditional Mexican teas and I am writing about their traditional and cultural uses. This blog post is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Please seek medical advice if you are ill. I am not a medical professional.

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To help you sleep: Manzanilla (Chamomile) te. Steep manzanilla flowers in boiling water until the color of the water changes. Strain and serve with a little honey or plain.

Headaches: Linden flowers: Boil the leaves in water, just a few will do. Let cool and serve. My grandmother never strained this, but left the leaves and floating flowers in the cup.

Stomach aches: Yerba buena (Spearmint). Fresh leaves boiled / dried leaves steeped in boiling water. Sugar or honey to taste.

Menstrual cramps: Cinnamon bark and coriander seeds. Boil in water until the water is dark, dark red (about 15 minutes on low boil). Serve with honey or piloncillo to taste. Usually accompanied by a hot water bottle to place on your tummy.

Late periods: Canela again. Boil for about 15 minutes and drink it all day. You should encourage your flow unless you are pregnant.

Kidney cleanser: 1) Horsetail (horsetail fern). Boil the hollow stems in water and drink with a little honey to taste. 2) Beard of elote (cornsilk). Steep cornsilk in boiling water for ten minutes.

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