Herbal Teething "Popsicles"

It's September and I'm ready for it not to feel like the centre of the sun outside anymore. 

I love sitting under this willow. Even when it's a kajillion degrees outside. 

I love sitting under this willow. Even when it's a kajillion degrees outside. 

July 2015 was the hottest month on record on planet Earth. Perfect time for a popsicle recipe??

Brief preface/awkward segue: I think it's pretty safe to say that most of us in North America haven't a clue about herbal medicine. 

It's not mainstream, and who has the time to learn about the uses of herbs, figure out where to buy them, and spend hours (or sometimes weeks!) preparing them, when the ibuprofen is just sitting right there. 

I get it! I do. I also think that people assume proponents of herbal medicine are hippie dippy anti-vaxxers who think no one should ever go to the hospital (some are!)

I think herbal medicine has its place alongside modern medicine, and it would be cool if we could make knowledge of herbal medicine more mainstream, and access to it more readily available to people regardless of location or socioeconomic status. 

Anyway, I digress. 

As many of you know, my mom is a certified herbalist. She concocted this recipe for herbal teething "popsicles." They've proven invaluable around our house, so I thought I'd share!

Some of the ingredients might seem unusual (yes! catnip has other uses besides making your cat act weird. It's a very safe and effective sedative!), and some of them are hard to come by, especially in Fort Frances. 

We order our dried bulk herbs from 2 main places: Hollow Reed Holistic, which is a great company out of Winnipeg; and Mountain Rose Herbs

You can also grow all of the ingredients in your own back yard and dry them yourself, though of course, that's somewhat labour intensive. 

The other option would be to just buy any old Sleepy Time tea from Safeway and use that. Pharmasave also sells some herbal sleepy teas (including this one) that would work great as an alternative to putting together  your own blend of dried herbs. Pre-made teas won't have all the same ingredients, but they'll be similar. Just make sure it doesn't contain any St. John's Wort or liquorice root! Not so good for little ones. 

INGREDIENTS

3 parts catnip
3 parts chamomile
3 parts rose hips
2 parts lemon balm
1/2 part cinnamon chips or hibiscus flowers

You'll also need some little facecloths. Ours are made out of organic cotton flannel. 

METHOD

Make tea! If you're using loose tea, use 1 tablespoon/cup of water. If you're using bags, use one bag/cup. 

Steep your tea for at least fifteen minutes, but ideally more like 30 mins to an hour. You can never steep herbal tea for too long. 

It's VERY IMPORTANT to always cover your herbal tea while it's steeping! If you don't, all the precious volatile oils will disperse. 

We use a French press to steep our herbal tea when we're making large batches like this. 

Once the tea is steeped and cooled, soak your clean cloths in it for a few minutes. 

Then roll the cloths up like little sausages. We call them "stogies." Don't wring them out before you roll them; you want to keep as much tea in there as possible!

Once they're rolled, we wrap them individually in plastic sandwich bags. You can use plastic wrap (like my mom is doing here), but we discovered that little pieces of the plastic can get stuck on the popsicles after they're frozen. 

We've also tried wax paper, but same problem. Sandwich bags do seem to work the best, and you can reuse them every time you make a new batch. 

You definitely need to wrap them, otherwise they'll get stuck together and you'll have a heck of a time breaking 'em apart. 

Once they're all wrapped up, we put them into a bigger bag and let them freeze for a few hours. 

My little tester LOVES them, and has since even before she was teething. They help so much with teething crankiness (and heat crankiness!), and they help with learning to self-feed, too! They don't replace Tylenol and ibuprofen, but they help reduce the need for them. 

Enjoy the last days of summer!