Remember the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and his steadfast devotion to using Windex as a cure-all for any ailment?  From treating rashes to wedding-day pimples, he always had that silly spray bottle handy.

My mother does the same thing with tea.

Feeling stressed out? Drink some chamomile!
Arthritis in the joints? Bathe in rosemary!
Got a headache? Put peppermint tea bags on your temples!
Bad economy got you down? Reach for some green tea, of course!

herbal tea remedyHer insistence is sometimes irrational, often comical, but always determined.  My mom may not have a firm opinion on the current state of affairs, but she’s dead certain that stinging nettle tea will cure what ails you.

And don’t get me started on the overstuffed kitchen cabinet where she keeps her stash…I open that cabinet door at my own risk.  It’s positioned high above the counter, where gravity loves to bring down haphazardly placed, sharp-edged tea boxes to make direct impact with my face.  [Box corner gave you a black eye?  There’s a tea for that!]

In all fairness, my mother does deserve a lot of credit for her devotion to natural methods of healing and relaxation.  Whether or not her remedies are actually effective, the genuine care she puts into tea preparation is quite a powerful healer in itself.

The perfect example of this occurred several weeks ago.  I live on my own and work full-time in Los Angeles, and the busy city life had me feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I decided to get away by visiting my mom for the weekend. When I arrived at her house, I didn’t feel much like talking, so I politely explained that I needed some quiet alone-time.  Naturally this worried her, so she recommended freshly brewed Valerian to calm my nerves. [Daughter feeling stressed?  Of course there’s a tea for that!]

“No thanks, mom, I just want to lie down and read for a while.”  Her offer was kind, but it made me feel a bit childish.  After all, I live in the big city now and I have grown-up problems, so her tea suggestion seemed almost…primitive.

A few moments later, my mother returned to say that she had drawn a bath for me, infused with fragrantly inviting herbal tea, all hot and steaming and awaiting my entry.  Although I’d refused her offer just minutes before, I can’t properly describe the gratitude I felt toward this simple gesture.  The bath was exactly what I’d desperately needed, and the lavender and chamomile were merely an added bonus.  The tub may as well have been full of chicken soup; all that mattered was that my mother prepared it as a remedy for her daughter, and that intention went a long way.

Her consideration touched me deeply, and I can honestly say it was the most rejuvenating bath of my entire life.  I smiled, let out a few tears, and I slept very, very well that night.

[Life got you down?  There’s a mom for that.]