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Soothe and revive with Folk Tea’s Be Swell Tea - a minty tisane blended with love and plants traditionally used in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western herbal practices to bring immune support, gentle lung clearing and strengthening, throat soothing, and fever and headache reducing.


Brew for a minimum of 3 minutes

Use 1 tbsp of tea per 8 ounces of 212°F water (or experiment with lower temperatures)


I crafted this monster of a description with a desire that you have a deeper understanding of a potentially powerful tea ...and I ran out of room. So enjoy the novel, and find the plant research links that would normally be embedded: here. 


With its mystical springiness and gnome-beard qualities, usnea is one of my favorites. It’s not actually even a plant, but a lichen, formed by a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae! I love it for this blend because of the usnic acid’s strong antibiotic qualities, the gentle expectorating, moving mucus up from the lungs, and the immuno-stimulating polysaccharides (11). Less technically - usnea is the lungs of the forest, the lungs of our planet, helping us process carbon, retain water, and growing only where the air is clean. What an amazing symbiotic relationship to hold in your body! Then there’s marshmallow - famous alongside the campfire, few know that it was once made from the plant: the marsh mallow (and by once, I mean from 2000 BC in Egypt, as a honey candy, until the late 1800’s in the USA). Marshmallow acts as a strong mucilagin, coating membranes with mucilage (think extra mucus), so it’s been used for thousands of years to protect and heal damaged internal tissues (7). It also has an interesting relationship with the lungs, acting - according to current research - as a bronchodilator and as a smooth muscle relaxer, in addition to being a moistener. Mullein was also chosen to play with the lungs. It’s been traditionally used to move phlegm out of the lungs, but it’s also gently antispasmodic, having a calming effect on severe coughs (8). Unlike usnea, mullein is not native to North America, but it sure seems happy here with its giant, wooly, phallic stalks waving at us from roadside ditches. It’s the third pillar in the lung-support-trifecta of this blend.


Famous for immune support, a plant that you probably know if you’ve read this far, a summery, bee-flocked cone flower, is echinacea; and you guessed it: it’s in be swell, too! Many studies discuss how echinacea stimulates the immune system and improves resistance to infections (2). The echinacosides in echinacea are antibiotic and the alkamides are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It’s kind of an amazing beast, really. To support that rush of an immune shift, I’ve paired echinacea with nettle.

Nettle gives the tea body - a certain, fullness in the mouth and complexity of flavor and terroir (I know - it sounds like wine), that I think is a great sensory representation of the high content of vitamins and minerals, including iron, that nourish us as we imbibe. Nettle is also noted for its anti-swelling propertie (9). Since nettle is a common plant in the wet parts of Oregon and the larger Pacific Northwest, pulling up so many of its vitamins and minerals from our exquisite soils, drinking it is also a really beautiful way to connect with this land, to pull it into you - to ground in home.

If you look at cough syrups from times of yore, or just in the health sections of your herby grocery stores, you’ll probably notice that wild cherry bark is still on the ingredient list. Due to its astringent, sedative, antispasmodic, and bronchodilator actions, it dries mucus, increases expectoration (along with usnea and mullein), eases coughing, and opens the airways - it partners with the usnea for expectoration and yet softens spastic coughing and hacking (13). 


There’s the mighty licorice, noted for its antiviral qualities, among many others including adrenal restorative and anti-inflammatory (6). The licorice was meant to marry well with the eleuthero and chaga. Eleuthero, also known as Siberian Ginseng, has been used as far back as medical texts of Chinese medicine date as an adaptogen, that is: a substance that helps to balance imbalances in the system with which it interacts. In energetic medicine practices, eleuthero is said to strengthen and invigorate qi (chi or energy). That same property in Western Herbalism is referred to as “improving endurance or stamina”. It’s also been used to lessen sleeplessness from excessive dreaming, to lessen fatigue, weakness and stress, while acting as an immunostimulant (3). Chaga also has adaptogenic qualities but, like Usnea, is not actually a plant. It's a fungus probably best known for its star role in anti-cancer research -  it’s also rich in antioxidants. Some research shows that the best infusion in terms of making Chaga bioavailable happens between 100°F and 140°F; this makes it a questionable thing to include in a tea, as we often brew tea at temperatures around 200°F (1). That being said, how you brew your tea, and what qualities chaga may impart at different temperatures varies, and there was an energetic necessity for this one in the mix. 


I’ve also included ginger in the recipe, for flavor but also because it is a stimulating tonic for the digestive system, reduces cramping, gas and nausea, increases the peripheral circulation and detoxifies the body from toxins associated with rheumatism (5). Helping to keep the warmth of ginger and other moving agents in check, are the last three ingredients. Peppermint - a hybrid of spearmint and watermint - is traditionally used for gastrointestinal orders in Germany and is both a stimulating and cooling herb - helping to calm hot tissue (10). Feverfew has a similar effect to aspirin albeit a stronger and slower, and is traditionally used for alleviating migraines and headaches, as well as fever, (go figure), inflammation and stress related tension (4). Another plant traditionally used for anti-inflammation is the bark of white willow, which snuggles in nicely with feverfew as a cooling plant. Traditionally used to treat pain, fever, and headaches because of its salicin content (similar to feverfew), it’s also been tested for the aches and pains of rheumatism (12). Like with chaga, white willow is said to be more effective when infused at lower temperatures. So, experiment away with your tea brewing and see which temperature suits your fancy!


Everything you put in your body has an effect on you. Folk Tea suggests that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using herbal products, particularly if you take other medications, or if you are nursing, pregnant, or expecting to become pregnant.  


This information is for education purposes, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

be swell

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  • chaga, licorice, echinacea, white willow, cherry bark, peppermint, eleuthero, marshmallow, usnea, ginger, mullein, nettle, feverfew