Growing A Little Love <3

First and foremost…   TEA LOVE TALK SCHEDULED!

Riverdale Tea Love Talk

Riverdale Tea Love Talk

On Saturday, February 28th, I will be speaking at the Ladies Fellowship Tea for my sister-in-law’s church.   This will be starting at noon and I will go over all my tea basics, as well as bring a sampling for all of you to try.   Try and make it!

Now, onto tea…

Let me tell you, I am fortunate to have a guy that not only allows me to have my obsessive tea habits, he feeds into it and even engages in them himself!

So, for Valentine’s Day weekend that is coming up, I am going to talk about a gift he bought me in January – a tea plant!



Now, I am definitely not the best when it comes to plant care.   Give me an animal, a human even (just babysitting though), I can coddle it, pet it, feed it, clothe it, and make it feel like the pretty prince/princess it is.   A plant?   They cower in fear, seemingly sentient to the fact that I have caused the death of many of their plant brethren since the day I was born.   I have killed air plants, succulents, hardy mums – you name it, it probably perished by my hand at some point in 26 years.

So, needless to say, when Camilo came over to me and put this pot in my hand, I was a little nervous.   How on Earth would I be able to keep this treasure alive?   A true love hobby given to me by a true love – if I allow it to die, both he and I would be heart-broken.

So thankfully, while I have a black thumb, my father has an amazing green one, growing bountiful gardens every year and ensuring all the plant life that my family and I have accumulated over the years (what can I say?   I see a pretty plant, I still want to at least try to grow it!) stay green.   In the meantime, this has also allowed me to look up how to even care for this plant to ensure that i can one day make a proper brew out of it (PS – popping off some leaves and throwing them in a mug, while it does work, does not produce the greatest of tea.   I will look into processing the leaves another day when I have a bit more time).

Important things to note –

Tea plants are all from the Camellia genus, which is resilient and adaptable.

I know that when I first got the plant, all I could think of was, Whelp, there’s another plant to throw in the compost heap in the backyard.   Did I want to?   Of course not!   Did I think I would have to?   Admittedly, with my luck, I kind of assumed that all my plants would make it there eventually.   It is comforting to know, though, that it is resilient, so it won’t die within my first week of owning it.

Buy Camellia sinensis, not Camellia assamica.

The Camellia sinensis, which is this plant, is the Chinese variety that one can grow tea in hardy environments.   The Camellia assamica, however, is the Indian variety.   While you can produce tea still, this one is not as adaptable to the cold.   Tea bushes are best in zone 7 climates (mostly in Southeastern states), but you can grow them indoors or in greenhouses to protect against the winter.   As you can probably tell by my couch in the background of this picture, that is exactly what I am doing.

Acidic soil is great, but the plants aren’t picky.

My family has in our backyard a blueberry bush.   That thing adores acidic soil.   I was ready to possibly dig up some soil from around there, but then I found out that it is OK to just grow the plant in the same soil that I would for the vegetable garden.   This is positive news, given that if you told me to measure the pH balance of the soil, I would make a deer in the headlights look intelligent and all-knowing.

Sun or shade is good, so long as they’re not competing.

Your plant won’t grow as strong if it’s trying to get sunlight.

Be careful of too much water!

This is a mistake that I was making initially.   I keep forgetting – tea plants are used to drought-prone environments and survive dry summers.   I was watering mine regularly, which caused a lot of the leaves to fall almost immediately and turn.   I have been leaving it alone and I can hear my plant yelling, Thank you!

Wait two years for making a good amount of tea.

To make a reasonable amount of tea, wait two years.   To regularly harvest, wait five years.

So, it sounds like I have a little waiting to do.   For now though, I think I can wait on my tea by going into the stash that I have piling up on my kitchen cabinet.

Hope everyone has a happy Valentine’s Day!

Tea And Pregnancy – What Is Safe?

I have a friend who is trying to get pregnant at the moment.   She has been trying for a few months and so far, nothing.   My mind being on tea, I was curious how my favorite beverage could help her.   For this blog, you’ll need to think outside the realm of the camellia sinensis plant and include herbal tea as well.   After all, we do not want my friend to have a jumping bean in her belly due to the caffeine from a cup of green tea when she does have a child growing!

First and foremost, she needs to consult her doctor before doing anything even related to starting a regimen.   Tea regimens are not right for everyone so she could, in fact, hinder the baby if she were to start drinking tea without a doctor’s approval.

A Young Pregnant Woman (Not My Friend) Drinking Tea

A Young Pregnant Woman (Not My Friend) Drinking Tea

With that being said,, dedicated to promote healthy living, states that red raspberry leaf tea is likely safe during pregnancy.   It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium.   The drink also has alkaloids from the leaf, which helps to tighten and relax the uterine muscles.   She will then have a strong, toned uterus that will make it that much easier to push a baby out!   (She does plan on doing a natural birth, last time that we talked).   The tea can also reduce the need for a C-section.

The tea has also been shown to increase milk production and decrease nausea.   As popular culture has shown, those are extremely important factors.   While it might not be safe for the first trimester, she should be able to use it for the second and third trimester without any problems.   All she would need to do is drink two cups daily.

The Livestrong website says that nettles, or stinging nettles, are also used in many pregnancy teas.   They are high in vitamin C, A and K and are also rich in calcium, potassium and iron.   Their history in the medical field is just as rich as tea is!

However, the University of Maryland Medical Center website states that they alter menstrual cycles and might cause miscarriages.   The conflicting data might be because it might depend on which part of the nettle is used for the tea.   I would suggest to her that, since there are two widely conflicting pieces of advice, to steer clear of nettles. gives a few more teas that she might want to sample when she is pregnant.   Peppermint tea would be good to help get rid of any morning sickness that might hit her.   It will also decrease any flatulence, so I am sure that her husband would appreciate that.

Lemon balm is a calming tea as one can experience by drinking it right now!   It can also relieve insomnia and anxiety, which is perfect for those nights when the baby is kicking and she just can’t rest.

Ginger root is a tea she has to be wary about.   It is said to help relieve nausea and vomiting, but the jury isn’t out if it’s safe or not.   Again, I recommend that, when in doubt, leave it out.   God forbid she drinks something and lose the baby simply because it was a questionable tea.

Dandelion tea also falls under this category.   While it is rich in a variety of different vitamins and minerals and might even help nourish the liver and relieve edema, it is not known if it is safe just yet.   She can get the nutrients somewhere else.

Chamomile is on the list for as, “Insufficient Reliable Information Available,” which really surprised me.   This is perfect for the insomiac-riddled expecting mother.   But chamomile can also induce contractions, which is not good if your baby is not ready to come out yet.   She is going to need to talk to her doctor first.

Rose hip tea is also on shaky ground.   While it is great for vitamin C, it is not entirely clear how good it is and she should avoid it or, at the very least, drink it in small amounts.

She needs to steer clear of alfalfa and yellow dock tea.   While they both have their respective health benefits, it is not known if they are safe yet.

Some teas are on the market called pregnancy teas which are believed to promote health in different aspects of tea.   They are a blend of different herbs that are believed to promote a healthy pregnancy.   She should be fine drinking this tea, though the jury is not out on how much it helps.   She does need to be wary and read the packaging though.   Some of them do contain nettles.

All in all, I wish the best to her in her pregnancy endeavors and, if any of you are trying to conceive or are already carrying a young one, I wish you all the best!