Herbal Wellbeing – tea and mindfulness at MindSpace

Herbal Wellbeing – tea and mindfulness at MindSpace

6 June 2022

Sue Parslow describes her experience of tasting herbal tea with herbalist Nicola Fenton…

Outside of the open to all monthly Herbal Wellbeing sessions at MindSpace, Sue, a MindSpace Trustee, and Pip Tiffin, Volunteer Co-ordinator, had an ‘exclusive’ tea tasting experience with Nicola Fenton, a qualified medical herbalist who has been running our Parents’ Herbal Wellbeing workshops.

We began with sitting quietly, switching off from worries, anything on our minds, and the outside world in general, taking few moments to take some deep breaths. Nicola had set a tall glass jug of boiling water at the centre of the table, a bunch of herbal leaves that were sitting on the surface, slowly sank to the bottom, emitting a very faint aroma in the steeping process. Once she could see that we were relaxed, Nicola poured us each a generous mugful of hot herbal tea.

Though we were eager to taste the tea, Nicola encouraged us to pick up our mugs and simply inhale, taking in the scent of the herb and focusing on what the aroma brought to us, explaining that it might bring an emotion, a memory or a place. Straight away the fragrance took me to spa treatment room making me feel a combination of relaxed and uplifted.

Moving on to tasting the tea, it felt a little like a wine tasting – Nicola suggested we savour the flavour in our mouths and as we swallowed, to get a sense of the warmth and any sensations that followed. In turn we spoke about the feelings it brought, which, interestingly were sometimes similar and sometimes different.

Nicola told us all about the herb – in this case Rosemary – explaining its use and function in herbal medicine, as well as its social history and folklore. She shared how empowering it can be to know that we can have access to a range of herbs that can be used as a toolkit for tackling everyday ailments such as a sore throat, headache or simply for a ‘pep up’ instead of coffee or ordinary tea.

A shared experience

I found this to be a very mindful and shared experience, while at the same time offering an opportunity for us to focus in on ourselves and to take some nourishing ‘me time’. Nicola’s Herbal Wellbeing sessions enable participants to connect with others, without pressure to join in, chat and share their thoughts, while learning about the benefits offered by the natural world of plants. It’s quite fascinating to gain an insight into something that our ancestors would probably have used daily.

I came away from our session vowing to introduce a Rosemary plant (Rosemary officinalis) into my garden so I can benefit from a soothing hot drink that could give me a caffeine-free hit and add into my cooking whenever I want.

Nicola runs Fentons Herbology and has a BSc in Herbal Medicine and is a qualified Medical Herbalist.

Her sessions here at MindSpace run on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

To book your place on the next Herbal Wellbeing session at MindSpace, on Wednesday October 12th, starting at 9.30am and running until 11am, click here.