Herbal teas can be a wonderful and useful tool for supporting children's emotional well being. They are a method which enables children to connect and gain more awareness with the emotions they are feeling, to better be able to identify them, and to become aware of what it is they need to support themselves - all in a gentle and subtle way.
I recently worked with a 5 year old who has been going through some emotional trauma in his life. He initially expressed that. he was feeling "sad". Into the apothecary we went to make a "happy tea". He curiously browsed through jars of flowers, leaves, and roots, and selected ones that he felt drawn to. With my guidance for proportions, he created a lovely blend that contained chamomile, rose petals, spearmint, hibiscus, and cinnamon. To him, these herbs made him feel happy. He liked the smells. He liked the colors. He enjoyed the process of mixing and stirring and asked a few questions along the way. Once the tea was complete, we made a cup together. He drank it with enthusiasm and asked immediately if he could have another cup, saying that it did make him feel "happy" and that. he wasn't "sad" anymore. He drank several cups over two days.
This child didn't have the textbook information to know that chamomile has calming and uplifting qualities, that rose opens the heart, that cinnamon brings some sweet grounding, and that spearmint and hibiscus both have cooling energetics that help to sooth anger, which is often coming in just behind the sadness, as the tool many often use to mask grief. He didn't need to. Yet in the connecting with each of the herbs, on some level he knew this. He had approximately 70 different herbs to choose from and he intuitively selected exactly the ones that he needed. As he was making the tea and working with the herbs, his posture changed. He was more upright. He began to make more eye contact. And after he drank the tea, he gave me repeated hugs. He also began talking more and was able to sort out a bit of the tangle of feelings he was experiencing and gain greater clarification for himself.
And above all, he became empowered. Quite simply, he was able to say he felt something. He was able to connect to what he felt. He was able to tap into his knowing of what would help and create something that worked for him.
Making teas with children doesn't have to be a huge process with a huge supply of ingredients. It can be as simple as laying out a handful of herbs and giving the child the space to explore them and the freedom to create with them. Of course, this should be done with herbs that are safe for children and under adult supervision, but without control or too much input from the adults.
Recommended herbs for children's tea blends:
- skullcap (in moderation)
- passionflower (in moderation)
- orange peel
- lemon peel
- rose hips
- dandelion leaf
- red clover flowers
- chrysanthemum flowers
- lavender flowers
- marshmallow root
- licorice root
- lemon balm
There are other ways to work with herbs and children, such as creating simple syrups from herb infused sugar water and using them to create herbal sodas, flavored waters, or shrubs. Even creating art products that involve hands on use of herbs, such as gluing herbs to a piece of paper or wood, can connect the child with their emotions and herbal qualities that may be of support for them.
If you. have questions, please check with a professional herbalist, preferably one that has experience in working therapeutically with children.
If you. have questions regarding this topic, Sage Moon Apothecary is happy to provide guidance and input. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.