I found this locally produced loose leaf medicinal in Fayetteville, Arkansas. There were actually several jars of medicinal teas on display in big, clear glass jars. This one appeared to be a mix of lavender buds, pale silvery leaves and a variety of light and dark green leafy herbs with some pale brown grassy looking bits and some striped seeds as well. It smelled good, very sweet and floral with a nice lavender topnote. I’m quite fond of lavender and suffer from insomnia, so I bought a few ounces.
The flyer I picked up was very serious about the use of these teas for medicinal purposes, but I’m a skeptic at heart and decided to try it first as a regular tea, employing my usual methods. So I put one teaspoon in my tea strainer and brewed it in a cup of water for three minutes. The result was less assertive than the scent of the dry herbs but still quite pleasant. This blend, I decided, was the real deal, not some manufactured, extract filled concoction. I was detecting a hint of spearmint in the bouquet which was subtle but pleasant. Very old school, like a relaxing herbal bath in a cup. Whether psychological or physiological, I got an immediate relaxation response. Just the thing to help me relax before bed.
For the second round, I actually followed the recommended brewing instructions on the pamphlet that came with these medicinal teas. It called for one Tablespoon of the herbs in 8 oz water, steeped for 5-10 minutes. I opted for ten minutes to get a full strength dose.
It was medicinal all right. I was reminded of an episode of “Gunsmoke” in which a character named Dirty Sally made the comment that would become popular in my family to this day. “It’s gotta taste bad to be good.” It wasn’t really nasty per se I like most of the herbs in it but it was REALLY STRONG. The spearmint came to the fore, the lavender either disappeared or harshened from a delicate perfume into medicinal evil. I could taste something camphor-y and all the sweet delicate herbs seemed to morph from a metaphorical cradle into a stone hammer. Either one would rock me to sleep, but the second would be considerably less subtle about it.
In conclusion, I like this stuff, but will probably be saving it for times when I REALLY need sedation, and I think the normal strength will work just fine in most cases.