Spiced Herbal Chai
Mullein leaf has been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine. It is said to be a great expectorant, soothing coughs and loosening phlegm. An infusion of the flower is said to be helpful with colic, and a poultice of the leaves can ease the pain of hemorrhoids. An infusion of the leaves in olive oil has been used for centuries to treat ear infections. According to folklore, it is associated with the element of fire and was introduced to the United States in the 1700s when it was used to poison fish in Virginia. We won’t ask questions about that, but you may want to use discretion with whom you serve the below recipe. Wild history, myth, and medicine aside, mullein adds a nourishing, soothing quality to your repertoire of winter time beverages. The leaves are long, fuzzy, and silvery-green, and look like they can imbue whoever consumes them with a bit of their rugged hardiness. Here’s to beating the winter-time blues!
1 quart of mullein infusion, from 1 oz of dried mullein leaf herb (found online)
1 quart whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 whole cardamon pod
4- 6 T Maple Syrup
To make the mullein infusion, put 1 ounce of dried mullein in a quart mason jar, crock pot or sturdy glass container or jug. Pour boiling water to the top and push down the herb, topping off the jar with boiling water. Cover loosely (so the jar does not seal), and set aside. Allow to infuse for 6 hours or overnight.
Strain the mullein infusion into a large bowl or heat-proof pitcher. Squeeze the herb tightly to release any excess liquid.
In a medium sized pan on the stove, add the milk and spices and infuse over very low heart for 20-30 minutes. Avoid boiling or simmering the milk. Add the strained mullein to the mix, and keep warm on the stove to continue infusing the spices into the mix. Steep until it reaches it’s desired strength, 20 minutes up to 4 hours. Add maple syrup to taste.
Best if used within 2 days.