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Starting the New Year, Stress-free. Chamomile Sipping At Night.

A belated “happy new year!” to you and yours! It’s been a week since 2012 began and I finally bring myself to say hello!

Hello, world.

In my last post of 2011, I spent a significant amount of timing reflecting on what I had not accomplished and found inspiration to kick well-seasoned mojo back in my sauce! I can’t have it any other way. And, neither should you. We do this because we love it. Because we’re passionate. Because we have something to say.

With all eagerness to share our words with stranger and do everything we dream of, comes stress. At least for me. The last two years of my life have been spent fighting stress. The effects have stifled me, kept me in bed and caused some serious back pain. Not to mention the constant pressure of getting posts and recipes up by certain dates. Those are things I’ve vowed to get better about. In fact, my list of what’s going to change in my approach to life is long. And, I’m looking forward to it.

Topping the list is reducing with the goal of eliminating stress. No, really. There is a way to make it happen. I remember being in an Aveda store once, and the young lady checking me out told me she said a prayer, committed to leave all of her stresses behind, threw it to to the wind and literally let it all go. She stood there, with her bright red hair, bearing the biggest grain a happy woman could. She said something poignant: Stressing isn’t going to change anything.

That conversation happened almost 3 years ago. And here I am still uttering those same words and throwing as much as I can behind my shoulder.

To start my process, looked at simple yet powerful things that could instantly relax me. There are few known tangibles that have “relaxing” properties. Among them, chamomile “tea”. Every time I text my Dr. sister and complain about a tension headache or a back spasm, her response is always the same: “Drink some chamomile every night before you go to bed and pray. Allow yourself to relax.”

Long before my sister’s suggestions, mami has always kept manzanilla stored in the cupboards as much as she has white rice and dry black beans. It’s a staple in our kitchen. Not so much for the sedative and relaxing benefits, rather to squash any one our stomach issues. Papi enjoys it the most and I go for it every time I’m cramping. Mami boils some blossoms or bags and lets it steep for 10 minutes.

So here I am, sipping chamomile away…I drink it at night to help me sleep more calmly and sip some in the morning (after my double shot of espresso, of course) as a tactic to getting my day started with minimized tension.

With all its stress-reducing, sleep-enhancing and stomach ailment relieving— another wonderful benefit– properties, chamomile is not really a tea. In fact, according to the “The Tea Enthusiasts Handbook” (my new bible for all things tea!), chamomile is commonly mislabeled as tea and should be referred to as “herbal, infusion or tisans.” So much so, authors Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss omit touching on it (as well as lavender and mint “teas”.)

Chamomile in its organic form is a plant found mostly in Europe and buds pretty yellow blossom. As an herbal mix, it’s infused with other blossom plants, dried fruits and is just that,  and not a product of the tea bush.

So, while not an authentic tea hailing from an Asian tea bush, it definitely has a place in great beverage options for many reasons. They say if it walks like a duck, then it is a duck. I serve my chamomile hot, sweetened a bit with honey or raw sugar, just like the real deal tea. Other ways of fancying the  lovely flower is to chill it and serve in Ball jars…. makes for a perfect afternoon drink…add some fresh buds to it for garnish.

It’s not like I’m epiphanizing an enjoyment or new stress reliever. It’s a matter of reminding us there is something we can all do to make our daily lives better. Starting the new year on the right foot, eating the rights things (a pending post), taking care of my body attacking my stress without abandon, is my priority. Something as simple, easy and inexpense as sipping un poco de té de manzanilla is perfect and doesn’t require too much thought — I need to reserve those for my growing calendar!

How do you reduce stress? Is there anything you drink, eat, do to minimize factors that cause discord and inefficiency? 

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54 thoughts on “Starting the New Year, Stress-free. Chamomile Sipping At Night.

  1. Manzanilla is relaxing and soothing. Have you tried valeriana yet? It´s stronger than camomile, and has a strong flavor and aroma, but just a little bit is great to calm stress, especially good as a sleep aid.

  2. I need this every day… especially at night. Do you know if the Latin stores sell it in bulk?

  3. I should try that when I’m stressed! (instead of reaching for comfort food…ha! I’m an emotional eater)

  4. Rosa: it is indeed a great way to start the day. I forgot to add that it serves as in anti-inflammatory as well! Super great for you.

    Peru Delights: Just saw that on your blog. I need to find some!

    Gioanny: The latin markets will have some in bulk for super cheap.

    Dave: I think you do, too!

    Nicky: I’m telling you! My sister swears by it. My mom recommends it for all stomach issues!

    Comiendo en LA: Mine too girlfriend. Mine too! Goodness. Why does it even exist!

  5. One of my goals this year was to drink more “Tea”… especially to reduce stress. Have I done it yet? Not exactly, I had one cup last week, I guess that counts as a start. Your post was certainly a reminder of how important it is when you’re stressed…and I’m super stressed now, so I guess I’ll head to the pantry and see what I can find. Thanks Bren!

  6. I love manzanilla, very very sweet and hot manzanilla for going to sleep, and as your mom, I grew in a house where manzanilla was something special. We use manzanilla not only for relaxing, also for calming down little babies when they are fuzzy or upset

  7. I usually do yoga, prayer and exercise. It helps a lot. A hot beverage like this would just make it better. I love the tea cup too.

  8. Joi: tea serves as a great stress reliever… lavender candles do too. love them. good luck in all your 2012 endeavors! Big stuff coming!

    Mami Betty: claro que si! vistes qe lo mencioné!??! jaja. Siempre hay manzanilla en la cocina!

    Eliano: So special! see my mom’s comment above yours.

    Pattie: I really need to get back into yoga. I did years ago and really enjoyed it. I’m into zumba now… but yoga tones so well!

    Leslie: clearly it’s a staple in Latin homes! So glad to see we’re not the only ones that obsess over it. I have to check out that tea you mention. Where can I find it?

    Debbie: love those three stress-relievers. I pray a lot, exercise and just mentioned how I need to get back into yoga.

  9. Awww manzanilla reminds me of my Grandma. She always made it for us when we had belly aches. I usually buy the chamomile tea bags from Whole Foods and drink one before bedtime, but need to get back to the organic beautiful blossoms. Your photos are beautiful and serene.

    Wishing you a stress-free 2012~

  10. My mom’s nightly ritual is destressing with some té de manzanilla. I’m all for indulging in something for the betterment of my soul and this seems like just the thing I need to start incorporating into my day-to-day. Feliz Ano Bren 🙂

  11. “Stressing isn’t going to change anything.”

    I told myself the very same thing in 2010. Once my aunt and friend passed away that year only 3 weeks apart, I realized that life happens, things happen that we hate. All we can do is cope in a healthy way and let it ride the best way we can. We have no control over most things in life, so why stress it? I’ve brought along this mentality in 2012 and am a lot happier because of it!

  12. I have no idea why my original comment seems to have vanished into thin air. At any rate, I said something to the effect that I really enjoy a late night infusion of chamomile for its soothing, calming effect. And yes to your working on controlling your stress. Keep it up!

  13. Yvette: yes, try the organic flower buds… so much tastier.. and prettier, too!

    Eliana: Happy new year back to you, too! I love manzanilla and thankful mami incorporated it into our kitchen very early on!

    Sujeiry: yes, yes and yes! no stress this year… i’m doing whatever I need to make that happen!

    Mercedes: Ooh girl, the benefits are amazing! I love white and green teas the most.

    Unknown Mami: yes!

    David: yup!

  14. I need to drink 5 cups of this a day! My stress level is so high for so many reasons and I could start with simple and delicious things like this. Lovely pictures! They’re so inviting. The buds are gorgeous.

  15. 368250 333030Maintain up the excellent work , I read few blog posts on this site and I believe that your internet site is real interesting and has bands of excellent info . 208300

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