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The things I’ll do for better sleep

By Penny Stine

I brought some mint in to dry and I hung it above my kitchen sink, where it annoyed my husband every time he did the dishes. If there's anything I've learned after 29 years of marriage, it's that you shouldn't make it annoying for your husband to do helpful chores around the house. I was going to simply move the mint and hang it somewhere he couldn't collide with it on an ongoing basis, but discovered it was dry enough to make herbal tea.



I spread out the rest of my tea-making ingredients, which I grow in my garden, and started crushing. I'm sure Celestial Seasons has a machine that gets the yellow part of the dried chamomile flowers out and crushes dried mint leaves, but my hands worked well, too. Probably not so well if I was making several thousand boxes of the stuff.



I make an herbal tea blend that I tell myself will help me sleep at night and keep me healthy in the winter. According to herbal lore, all the ingredients are supposed to be beneficial for all kinds of things.

I put the crush dried mint in a bowl, then gathered the dried lavender and separated the blossoms and buds from the stem.There was more mint than lavender.



After mixing the lavender and mint together, I turned my attention to the dried stalks of chamomile. At first, (for about two minutes) I was really careful about trying to separate the flower from the stems. Then I just got impatient and crushed them all in a pile, which went into the tea mixture.

For my final, not-so-secret ingredient, I crushed a bunch of dried red chiles in my coffee grinder and added them to my tea. I use the lavender and the chamomile for the relaxing promise of sleep, the mint because it smells good and the chiles because they're supposed to ward off winter colds, inflammation and be good for arthritis. Not that I have arthritis yet, but it runs in my family. Plus, it really warms you up when you drink a cup of chile-infused herbal tea before bed.


Yes, I know the pale yellow color is somewhat suspicious.  I don't like mint tea by itself, nor am I fond of most edible things that are lavender-flavored and plain chamomile tea makes me think I'm grazing, but somehow when I mix them all together and throw in some red chiles, it's all good. 


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