Home » TEA AS MEDICINE (part 2) by Catherine Barnhoorn

TEA AS MEDICINE (part 2) by Catherine Barnhoorn

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By: Catherine Barnhoorn: Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Mom to Mila (now 4 years old), and author of ‘Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics’.

IMAGE CREDIT: Catherine Barnhoorn, © Catherine Barnhoorn
If you are looking to boost your little one’s immune system as we head into the Winter months, or if your little one struggles with constipation, then this is the tea and recipe for you!

Following on from my previous post of ‘Tea As Medicine (part 1)’, today’s post is all about the beauty and power of Flower Tea!

Vintage Romance Flower Tea

I was beyond excited when I discovered Carmién’s Flower Tea (Vintage Romance variety to be specific). It is a blend of Rooibos, Honeybush, Rose Buds and Rose Petals, Rosehip, Lavender, Forest Berry Blend, Calendula, Hibiscus and Orange Peel – essentially… medicine in a mug! Each of the ingredients have powerful medicinal / healing qualities. Let’s take a closer look at each:


As a summary of my previous post, Rooibos contains vitamins and minerals such as zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C. It also contains fluoride, which, in combination with calcium and manganese, help build strong bones and teeth. It has anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and its antioxidants boost the immune system.
(Safe during pregnancy.)

Honey Bush:

Honey Bush contains many minerals essential to human health, including iron, potassium, calcium and manganese and is an excellent source of antioxidants. Honey Bush tea is effective in relieving colds and flu and has the ability to reduce inflammation and prevent the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.
(Safe during pregnancy.)

Rose Buds and Rose Petals:

Rose petals are a natural source of vitamin C and antioxidants which provide support for your immune system. It is also an excellent remedy for irregular periods and infertility.
(Safe during pregnancy. Not for use if you are diabetic or have any health issues related to increased iron absorption)


A rose hip is the fruit of a rose. Rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin C – they contain 50% more vitamin C than oranges. Because of the high vitamin C content, they are an excellent immune system booster, and are often used as a supplement to prevent or treat a cold. Rose hips have a high vitamin A content which is also beneficial to the immune system and can help to prevent infections from both bacteria and viruses. Rosehip Tea can be a useful constipation remedy as its fruit acids and pectin act as a mild diuretic and laxative.
(Safe during pregnancy. Not for use if you are diabetic or have any health issues related to increased iron absorption)


Lavender tea is made from the dried blossoms of the lavender flower. It is a wonderful tea that has been used to induce sleep and relaxation for thousands of years.
It also has antibacterial, antimicrobial, expectorant, stress-relieving, antiseptic and analgesic properties.
(Pregnant women and young boys should avoid lavender since it can often affect hormones.)


Calendula (commonly known as Marigold) has been used medicinally for centuries. The bright orange or yellow flowers contain many flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (especially Vitamin A in the form of betacarotene). Calendula Tea stimulates the immune system and is ideal to drink when you or your little one are getting a cold. Calendula Tea on its own is also incredibly useful externally for clearing acne, hemorrhoids, rashes, bites, stings and minor cuts and scrapes.
(Calendula tea can stimulate menstruation, so pregnant women should not consume it.)

Hibiscus Tea:

Hibiscus Tea is made from the deep red calyxes of the hibiscus flower. Hibiscus
tea is excellent for boosting the immune system and fighting off infections. Hibiscus tea is also known to be beneficial for weight loss, depression, sleep disorders, hypertension, and mood swings. Hibiscus tea also is known to help prevent bladder infections, and relieve constipation and has been used for centuries to support liver function.
(Avoid drinking hibiscus tea if you are taking medication for hypertension and low blood pressure. Expectant mothers should avoid hibiscus tea.)

Orange Peel:

Orange peel has been used for medical purposes for many years. It is a great source of vitamin C, and vitamin B1. Other important active constituents are: choline, folic acid, antioxidant flavonoids, d-limonene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and aldehydes. Orange peel tea helps you fight against viruses and bacteria and is useful when treating coughs, asthma, bronchitis, tightness in the chest, colds, constipation, nausea and an upset tummy. It helps the body eliminate phlegm in the lungs and aids digestion. For women who have just given birth, orange peel tea helps treat mastitis.
(Not for use if you’re pregnant if you’re or suffering from hyperthyroidism.)

An Immune Boosting Constipation Remedy

As a mom to a little one I am constantly looking for ways to naturally boost Mila’s immune system – especially now that she is at playschool and being introduced to new bugs everyday it seems.

I also had to find a creative way to introduce foods which would alleviate constipation – Mila is prone to constipation – due to food intolerances and gut dysbiosis inherited from me. So besides removing the foods that cause constipation (such as grains, corn, gluten and dairy) I had to find a way introduce pectin, beetroot and various herbal teas known for their laxative effect – not to mention vegetables (which Mila refuses to eat simply because they are vegetables)… hello Fruit Leather! Oh, this has come to my rescue everyday for 2 years now!

The recipe for fruit leather in my book, Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics, is more of a formula for making fruit leather since it is so versatile and can be made with a variety of fruits and vegetables. I developed the recipe below specifically for use with Carmién Tea’s Vintage Romance Flower Tea – and it’s a winner (or “thumbs up” as Mila would say!)

IMAGE CREDIT: Alfred Lor, © Catherine Barnhoorn


(Never mention that there are vegetables in it!)

Key: superfood; vegetarian; vegan; egg-free; grain-free; for adults too; great for lunchboxes

Mama’s Notes:
Mila started eating these when she was 12 months old.
Makes 2 trays / 20 fruit leather rolls

Chef’s Notes:

  • Most fruit leathers (rolls) available in the supermarkets have added sugars or high fructose corn syrup, GM vegetable oils, transfats, and artificial colouring as ingredients, as well as being covered in preservatives – please read the labels.
  • This recipe uses a dehydrator. If you do not have one you can make it in an oven:
    Turn the oven on at its lowest setting and use the shelf furthest away from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with greased parchment paper and spread the mixture as above. When drying the leather, leave the oven door open slightly to allow for airflow. Drying times will vary according to your oven and the ambient humidity, but with an oven set at 50°C (120°F) it will take approximately 6 hours.
  • Cooked apples are added to make the leather smoother and more pliable. They are also a great extender (thus reducing the overall cost) and can balance the tartness of other fruits.


  • 700g Blueberries (fresh or defrosted from frozen)
  • 400g Sweet Potato (cooked and cooled)
  • 125g Beetroot (cooked and cooled)
  • 400g Apple (peeled, cored, cooked and cooled)
  • 1C Carmién Vintage Romance Flower Tea
  • 1t Green Power (link to https://therealthing.co.za/the-real-thing-green-power.html) (optional)
  • 1t Moringa Powder (optional)


  • Wash the sweet potato, beetroot and apples thoroughly.
  • Core and peel the apples, top and tail the beetroot and cut into chunks.
  • Place the apples and beetroot in a steamer and cook for 15 minutes.
  • To cook the sweet potato, cut it into quarters and either roast it at 180°C for 1 hour or cut it into chunks and add it to the steamer. Once cooked remove the skin.
  • Brew a cup of Carmién Vintage Romance Tea.
  • Allow the apples, vegetables and tea to cool.
  • Place the blueberries, apples, beetroot, sweet potato, tea, Green Power and Moringa Powder in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Check the consistency. If it is too thick to pour, add a little water or more tea until a pouring consistency is reached. If it is too runny, add fruit that has a lower water content such as banana, or add ground chia seeds (one tablespoon at a time).
  • Spread the mixture evenly onto greased, solid dehydrator trays to a thickness of approximately ó cm (⅛”). (Greased with coconut oil)
    If you do not have solid sheets you can line mesh sheets with parchment paper. Do not use wax paper or tin foil.
  • Dehydrate at 45°C (110°F) for 10 hours then flip the mixture onto a mesh sheet and continue drying for another hour. Check on the leather to make sure it is not getting too dry (crunchy). If it peels away from the sheet easily it is dry. Remember that under-dried
    fruit will not keep.
  • Allow the leather to cool; remove from the sheets, cut into long strips and roll up.
  • Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place for up to one month, or in the freezer for up to a year.

And there you have it… An immune boosting, constipation remedy disguised as a delicious & nutritious snack!

Sources: www.medicamedium.com ; www.herbwisdom.com ; www.livestrong.com

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Catherine is Mom to Mila, a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, an author and chef-in-constant training. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from The University of Cape Town; a diploma in Marketing and Visual Communications from The International Advertising Association; and a diploma in Health Coaching (INCH) from The Institute For Integrative Nutrition.

Catherine is deeply passionate about empowering parents to make informed decisions with regards to what they feed their children and themselves, and she firmly believes that food can be “the best form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” Catherine sees her, and her daughter’s, food intolerances as a blessing which has led them down a path of learning, discovery and good health – which will hopefully stand them in good stead for years to come.

To follow their journey or to find out more about the book, visit www.milasmeals.co.za or ‘like’ their Facebook page www.facebook.com/MilasMeals

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