Back to School
Teas for focus, calm and study
It’s hard to believe that summer has come to an end. The kids are back in school, my allergies are acting up and the first day of fall is just around the corner. I’ve always seen autumn as a season of change. It’s the perfect time of year to start new habits such as eating a healthy breakfast or getting to bed early. However, not everyone is eager to go back to school.
Adjusting to the fall school schedule can be tough. During the summer we can stay up late and sleep in even later, but now the alarm clock jolts us out of bed a little too early. It can be tempting to reach for highly caffeinated beverages such as coffee or energy drinks, but maybe there’s a healthier option. Yerba mate is a South American herbal tea that is quickly gaining popularity. It naturally contains a chemical called mateine, which has the same chemical structure as caffeine, but a different orientation. Many individuals, who experience headaches and anxiety when drinking caffeinated drinks, find that yerba mate gives them the same alertness without the negative effects. Instead of reaching for that cup of coffee, consider this gentler alternative. You may find yourself better equipped to tackle the day.
Sometimes students just need a little boost to help them focus on their studies and that’s where herbal teas come in handy. Rosemary has had a reputation since ancient Greece for restoring memory and awakening intellect. My best friend in college called rosemary her secret weapon for exams and she would bring a bottle of rosemary oil to class and inhale the aroma. And there’s more than just anecdotal evidence. Copious amounts of research on the medicinal effects of rosemary show that it aids memory and recall. I like to combine rosemary with peppermint as an herbal pick-me-up when I’m feeling mentally sluggish. Peppermint is already refreshing on its own thanks to a naturally occurring chemical called menthol, which is known to boost alertness and concentration. These two herbs perfectly complement each other for a natural study aid.
And after all that school time hustle, it’s time to rest. A good night’s sleep solidifies the information we’ve learned into our long-term memories, ensuring that we get the most from our hard work during the day. Of course, this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to turn the brain off at night when anxiety clutches at your stomach and next week’s exam looms ever closer. Luckily, we have a few herbal friends to help us out. My “go to” herb for de-stressing is chamomile. This bright member of the daisy family is well known for calming the nerves, but I find it’s also excellent for a nervous stomach. Hops may be too bitter for some, but there’s a reason why Gregorian monks added it to their beer. Hops have been historically used to ease the mind and the soul, and I know more than one flight attendant that swears by this herb. Last but not least is catnip, a member of the mint family. Catnip has a reputation of riling up cats and making them loopy, but for humans, catnip can help you catch a catnap in between classes. All three of the herbs mentioned here are found in our Knockout tea, which has more than earned its name for knocking you out at the end of a hard day.
No matter what struggles the new school year brings, there’s always an herb to help. Whether you’re a teacher or a student you can always look forward to the new school year ready to take on any challenge.
(This article is directed more towards adults. There are some herbs which are stimulants or relaxants that you may not be comfortable giving to your children.)
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