Product Profile: Under the Weather Tisane

Posted by Lily Kunning on

This herbal tea (known in herbalism as a tisane) has a combination of medicinal herbs that help with all kinds of cold and flu symptoms (congestion, mucus production, itchy eyes, headaches, fevers, immune function, and killing the cause of the infection.

Get Under the Weather here.

Ingredients (locally sourced whenever possible): organic Elderberries, organic Bayberry, organic Goldenseal, organic Yarrow, organic Peppermint, organic Lemon Balm

Traditionally, in both folk medicine and the ancient traditions of Oriental and Ayurvedic medicine, sweating therapy was the treatment of choice for the initial stages of acute infections. Hot baths, saunas or sweat lodges together with sweat inducing teas were used to raise body temperature and open the skin pores. (The idea is that by raising body temperature and increasing circulation, the body’s natural defenses would be mobilized to fight of the invader. This is of course why we get a temperature when we have a cold or flu.)

The raised temperature is the body adjusting itself to the optimum state for the immune system to function. We have all experienced the sequence of chills, where the body is trying to heat itself up followed by sweat and burning as it reaches it peak. Often, the body will go through several waves of temperature rises before it finally deals with the infection. In many ways then the approach of supressing the raised temperature with paracetamol is working against the immune system. Sweating, on the other hand, works *with* it. This is why you will see several plants below that help induce sweating in Under the Weather.

About the ingredients:
Elderberries are an anti-viral and have anti-inflammatory properties and taste delicious. Their antioxidant properties help to fight respiratory issues as well. One study, published in 2009 in the Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, found that patients, taking 175 mg of Elderberry extract four times daily for two days, experienced significant improvement in symptoms compared to patients taking placebo. After the 48 hours of treatment, 28 percent of patients taking Elderberry were void of all symptoms, 60 percent had relief from some symptoms and the remaining 12 percent experienced improvement to a lesser degree. A 2009 study published in Phytochemistry found that the flavonoids in Elderberry bind to and prevent the H1N1, or swine flu, virus in test tubes. Researchers note that the H1N1 inhibition activity of Elberberry is comparative to the known anti-influenza activity of the drug Tamiflu and amantadine, an organic compound often used in flu medications. Further studies showed Elderberry outperformed Tamiflu. 

Yarrow “Yarrow, when administered hot and copiously, will raise the heat of the body, equalise the circulation and produce perspiration.” - Dr. John R. Christopher Yarrow’s potential in fighting colds and flu lies in a number of components capable of reducing these diseases’ symptoms. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antispasmodic properties. As a matter of fact, this plain plant has strong potential in lessening flu and colds signs, since it reduces muscle pain, eliminates fever, and kills bacteria. Yarrow is especially helpful for the promotion of sweating. It is done by reducing inflammation, making tissues shrink, and increasing blood circulation. 

Goldenseal works well for many kinds of infections, inflammations, and irritations of the mucous membranes. The mucous membranes are the "slime-producing" coating of our upper respiratory tract. They act as a protective barrier against bacteria, viruses and other kinds of mechanical irritation. When we have a  respiratory tract inflammation or infection, it is mainly the mucous membranes which are first affected. Goldenseal works well with these infections, bringing in more immune energy and increasing the micro-circulation to the "surface" (right beneath the membranes), which can help eliminate wastes and speed up the healing process. In Chinese medicine, Goldenseal is considered "cooling" because it lowers inflammation and removes heat.

Lemon Balm It tastes fantastic and has known anti viral properties. Lemon Balm can be used to fight colds and flu, or help make bitter medicine taste much better. Lemon Balm is also used as a remedy for stress or insomnia. This can be useful for cranky sick people, who need to calm down and get some rest. It can also act as a decongestant and antihistamine, helping with even chronic problems like asthma or allergies. It helps with nausea, mild insomnia, and is safe for children.

Peppermint is another one of those "sweat inducing" (diaphoretic) herbs that assist the body in flighting off an infection. It is also great for queasy tummies and colic. It tastes great and makes this tea delicious when you are feeling low.

Bayberry has potent astringent actions and can be very beneficial for the treatment of upper respiratory infections. It tightens the tissues, improving circulation and reducing inflammation. Taken internally, Bayberry is beneficial for treating conditions which result in excessive mucus secretions, such as allergies and sinus infections.


 About all of our tisanes:
Haven Herbs blends very specific ingredients to create its custom formulas. Each ingredient has a specific purpose and adds to the remedy. Ingredients may vary, batch by batch, based on what's in season and available. We work WITH the earth, not against it.



Not only is everything freshly dried and far more potent, but the human body is part of a larger ecosystem with its own cycles- and our method reflects that. If we run out of a key ingredient and we cannot replace it with something suitable, the product disappears off of the Haven Herbs website until we can make the product effectively again (we get more of a specific ingredient). 

This seasonal philosophy flies in the face of what most folks are used to- getting a product that consistently has the same ingredients. But that way of thinking is one of agribusiness, cost control measures, and monoculture that has caused more problems in the world than it has helped. We prefer a way with less of a carbon footprint.

Haven Herbs is different. We know that many different ingredients can achieve the same effect and make blends seasonally, in tune with the earth's cycles.

Fannings (left) and whole leaves (right)Why buy Haven's tea instead of that bagged "medicinal tea" brand at the Whole Paycheck? Sure, you could buy bags of herbal teas that have similar ingredients at the grocery store, but they will not work as well. Why?

The main difference between loose teas and tea bags is obviously the size of the leaves. When producing the tea bags, whole leaves are chopped, sliced and diced into small particles ranging from 0.2 to 1.5 millimeters called "fanning" and "dusts". With all this slicing and dicing, the plant compounds interact with moisture and oxygen, leading to rapid quality loss.

Whole leaves contain natural compounds such as antioxidants and polyphenols, and different essential oils which are the basis of the amazing tea flavor, taste, and medicinal properties. When the leaves are broken up, those oils tend to evaporate, leaving the fannings with a dull aroma which will lead to a tasteless and less potent beverage.

Further, who knows how long that tea has lived in those bags, in that box, on a shelf somewhere? All of the teas Haven Herbs sells are fresh! So choose fresh (medicinal grade) loose teas! Better for you and the planet!

Like all herbal medicine, our teas work best when combined with a lifestyle that includes clean water, whole foods, gentle exercise, and plenty of self-love.



Tisanes should be steeped longer than tea (Camillia sinensis). Rather than steeping for 2-3 minutes, steep herbs for 15+ minutes, covered. General guidelines are 1 tablespoon per 8 oz. of water.


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