The perfect drink pairing for summer in the city? Adaptogenic Gynostemma, a.k.a. The Tea of Immortality, will help you burn the candle at both ends for those long summer nights, says Ysanne Spevack.
Want a beverage that helps you burn your candle at both ends? Just say no to coffee, and “Oh hi!” to gynostemma tea!
Known as Jiao-Gu-Lan (the Tea of Immortality) in parts of Southern China, gynostemma is a green leafy adaptogenic plant that’s the go-to for busy urbanites in the know. It’s especially well suited to help us surf summer life in the city, with its fluctuations in the weather (especially this year, what happened, NYC?!) and June’s dawn-to-dusk increased outdoors time.
With the most adaptogenic saponins of any wild-crafted plant in the world (four times the amount of ginseng), this stuff strengthens your natural ability to stabilize blood sugar, supports your immune function, and enhances endurance. And it doesn’t speed you out or crash and burn. It’s all about balancing the nervous system—as with all adaptogens, by definition gynostemma can energize you when you need it, yet help you to relax and sleep at night.
But the real reason it’s known as “The Tea of Immortality” is because of its benefits to liver and cardio function. It supports the body’s production of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that protects the liver from free radicals. And it helps arteries, veins, and capillaries release nitric oxide, which helps them to relax.
The taste is a little like the stevia herb, but less sweet—not at all bitter, but an unusual green herby flavor that makes a fantastic base for other drinks and a pleasant iced tea.
And get this … it’s also a beautiful cascading plant that you can grow in a city apartment as a decorative house plant, so long as you have a sunny window. Alternatively, it’s easy to find at stores like Kamwo Meridian Herbs on Grand Street in NYC or in their online shop, which is my go-to for anything to do with Chinese medicine.
June Gynostemma, Shiso, and Goji Ice Tea Don’t smirk at the gojis!!! This is what you’ve been missing all these years. Dry gojis are nasty—but gojis in tea are FABULOUS. And they’re a natural partner to gynostemma, the strange flavors of both combining into a perfect sweet herby balance. And then basil, or if you’re super lucky and can find it, fresh shiso herb. Oh. My. Gosh.
Recipe Makes 1 cup
Ingredients: 1 gynostemma tea bag OR 1 teaspoon dried gynostemma herb 1-2 fresh shies leaves** 10-20 dried goji berries
**Shiso is a kind of basil, so it’s totally possible to switch out shiso for regular Genovese or another type of basil. That said, shiso has flavor magic—it’s the third leg on the stool for this recipe to really stabilize and pop. Find it in Japanese stores, or grow it yourself. It’s easy to grow during summer in New York.
Method: Bring some water to a rolling boil—not in a microwave, please!
Put the herbs and gojis in a coffee mug.
Pour the freshly boiled water into the mug.
Leave on the counter to steep and cool naturally.
Drink as it is, or if preferred, transfer to a tall glass and add ice.
From nutrient dense sweeteners great for raw foodies to high-energy crystal charged water – it’s all about the magical, the medicinal AND the delicious here. So read on for a shopping list of the foods you need right now to create your very own high vibe pantry hit list.
1. High-vibe: Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia Way higher-vibe: Organic un-sulphured Black Strap Molasses
Black strap molasses is a double duty sweetening super food that approaches coconut oil territory when it comes to nutrition and sheer versatility. You can bake with it, use it for greater regularity, and to stimulate hair growth and banish grays – it can even double as a hair de-frizzer when mixed with warm water and applied as a mask. It’s low-glycemic, high in calcium and iron, and it’s great for vegans! Five tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, 95 percent of iron, and 38 percent of magnesium.
Yes, it has a strong flavor so it can’t totally replace all other sweeteners, BUT its high vibe qualities definitely merit adding it into heavy rotation. Ease into using BSM by adding 1-2 tablespoons to your morning Chai and top it off with a splash of almond milk. This old school come new school super food can be found almost any local supermarket.
2. High-vibe: Kale Way higher-vibe: Purslane
Although nothing can technically replace kale (Goddess forbid) this juicy, slightly lemony edible weed gains super star status in your kitchen due to its incredible nutritive and medicinal properties. For example, it’s the richest known plant source for Omega-3 fatty acids (usually found in fish oils). A one cup serving gives you all the Vitamin E you need in a day, and it’s also one of the best sources of magnesium as well as being high in calcium, potassium and vitamin C.
Used externally, it has similar properties to aloe and calendula in that its sticky broken leaves can soothe burns, stings and swellings while the juice can be used to treat ulcers, wounds, sores and gastrointestinal problems. And last but certainly not least, it’s also one of the five herbs richest in anti-depressant substances. Purslane is usually available in the summer and fall but you can always order Purslane online. Eat this green in salads, soups and smoothies, or fried in oil with chopped onion as a side dish. (And FYI – Purslane can get slimy so make sure to add it at the last minute to your recipes!)
3. High-vibe: Standard water filter Way higher-vibe: Alkaline Water filter
A Berkey, a Zen Filter or a Zero water carafe – if you can’t harvest actual fresh spring water it’s all about these gravity filters. So what’s all the hoopla with the alkaline water you say? The Alkalinity is referring to the pH level of the water, and the higher the pH, the more water helps hydrate the body on a cellular level. Water in its most natural state — untouched by pollution — is water that is highly alkaline (a high pH-balance between 9-11). However, most of the water we drink today (i.e. tap or bottled) is anything but, with most clocking a pH of somewhere between 4-8.
And when our bodies get out of balance (i.e. too acidic), we can experience low energy, fatigue, excess weight, poor digestion, aches and pains, and all sorts more serious disorders. Not to mention that high acidity in the body is one of the major factors effecting overall cell aging. So long story short, we want to get more alkaline any way we can – and these filters are a great way to do it. Now there are some Rolls Royce’s out there like Kangen Water Filters but if you’re not looking to shell out upwards of $5K the above mentioned filters are a super option.
4. High-vibe: Water with lemon Way higher-vibe: Laminar Crystal Charged Water
Part Muscovite Mica, part food-safe clay, Laminar Crystals have the capacity to not only make water more physically absorbable by the body (which equals far superior hydration) but they are also able to pick up and transmit many life-supporting cosmic frequencies, including those that support energetic balance and continually cleanse the surrounding environment. Cool additional factoid: Laminar crystals were used in the capstone of the Great Pyramid in Egypt! So you can only imagine what happens when you add these babies to your water! Users, including myself, have been known to experience less pain, better moods, clearer thinking, better toxin elimination, gorgeous skin and unbelievably increased energy levels…my assistants have affectionately dubbed it “crazy crack water.”
So what’s the skinny? When laminar crystals are added to water they energetically lower the surface tension of water – making it more easily absorbable and more “life giving” for the body. Most of us drink some form of tap or bottled water, which has considerably higher surface tension and is therefore much harder to absorb. And water that’s not absorbable is no bueño – kind of like trying to eat food without a fork. So where to get your hands on these little pearls of goodness? Numerous places on the Internet offer various Laminar crystal products but I highly recommend the Precious Prills brand available through Life Enthusiast.
5. High-vibe. Organic grass-fed milk / butter Way higher-vibe: RAW organic grass-fed milk / butter
On the rare (or maybe not) occasion that you consume dairy, upgrade by going RAW. Why? Because while all grass-fed dairy (vs grain-fed dairy) contains a little known vitamin called K2, an essential component in building healthy teeth, bones and the magic ingredient in healing cavities naturally, it’s in its most potent energetic state when “live” (ie. non-pasteurized). Though still technically “illegal” in many U.S. states, for hotly contested reasons which you can learn more about here – raw grass-fed dairy can still be had through many raw dairy farmer affiliated food buying co-ops. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live in a pro-raw milk state like California, right off your supermarket shelf. And for all the Vegans, never fear – Natto is here! A popular Japanese fermented soy bean product, Natto is the highest source of plant based K2 currently available.
6. High vibe: Any Random Green Superfood powder Way Higher Vibe: Dried Moringa Leaf Powder
Moringa leaf is pretty much the cat’s meow when it comes to all around nutrition. Native to Asia and Africa moringa has been used there for centuries but is just now making its way to our shores. Available for consumption as both a tea and a powder, dried Moringa leaf has the following staggering stats…1 gram of Moringa leaf powder = 7x the vitamin C in oranges, 4x the calcium in milk, 2x the protein in milk, 4x the vitamin A in carrots, 3x times the iron in spinach and 3x times the potassium in bananas.
So to call this baby a super food is an understatement — think of it as the holy grail of plant based nutrition. That’s right vegans, raw foodies, and vegetarians…Morninga is about to be your J-A-M. Sprinkle the powder in your tomato sauce, add it to your smoothies or drink it as a tea…Whatever way you get it, it’s all good. Moringa seed oil has also been shown to regenerate skin cells – I’ve actually used it on my scalp to increase hair growth, and it can also be used for inflammation, psoriasis, eczema and shingles. Holy grail indeed.
7. High Vibe: St. John’s Wort Way Higher Vibe: Ormus gold
Discovered by farmer turned researcher, David Hudson in the mid 1970’s while mining for gold on his farm in Arizona, a substance dubbed ORMUS was found to contain mineral elements (such as gold, palladium, iridium etc.) that were able to exist in a special energetic state described as “reserved for things like the ‘dark matter’ that astronomers look for in space, the Earth’s magnetic field, healthy soil, weather phenomena like lightning…even consciousness itself”. WOAH.
There’s still much that is unknown about the full capabilities of ORMUS, but simply put ORMUS is considered to be “life force energy” in material form. Pretty radical, huh? ORMUS has been known to increase feelings of awareness, connectedness, psychic phenomenon, dream lucidity, anti-aging, increased metabolism, miraculous healing and when added to water makes it more easily absorbable by the body. Most commonly available for consumption in tincture form ORMUS goes way beyond the classification of mere “supplement” – and could even be considered the ultimate magic ingredient.
8. High Vibe: Mugwort tea Way Higher Vibe: Wild Asparagus root tea
For those looking for something that goes a step beyond mugwort, make Wild Asparagus root tea, aka the other “dream time tea” your go-to. Similar to mugwort, Wild Asparagus (or Tian Men Dong as it’s known in China) is great for lucid dreaming and was known by monks there as the “flying herb” due to the “flying dreams” it stimulates. However, what really sets Wild Asparagus root apart are it’s heart opening effects and ability to help you move into alignment with spirit. Also used widely in Ayurvedic preparations as a women’s health tonic it can also be found under the name “Shatavari.” So before you go cozy up under the covers with some regular ol’ tea, if you’re up for a heart opening dreamtime adventure consider making a “trip” of it.
9. High Vibe: Chlorella Way Higher Vibe: Bentonite Clay
Bentonite Clay is composed of aged volcanic ash and is taste and odorless. Largely produced out of Fort Benton, Wyoming, Bentonite Clay is unique in its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. SCIENCE STUFF COMIG UP. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. As Bulk Herb Store explains: “think of the Montmorillonite (aka Bentonite) crystal flake resembling two pieces of bread, with a strong vacuum pulling the filling in between them. Whatever lands there (Sodium or Calcium) determines what kind of sandwich it will be. Now when you activate this clay sandwich, it will magnetically grab the junk in your body (heavy metals, toxins, acid, etc.) and trade it for the “filling”, taking the toxins out in your waste.” Got it?
This amazing “dirt” also has an alkalizing effect on the body and can help balance gut bacteria, along with quelling nausea, vomiting & diarrhea. P.S. For most internal uses (oral & intestinal) a little goes a long way (ie. a 1/2t in a 1/4-1c of water) so make sure not to overdo it, and be sure to avoid storing or mixing in metal containers since metal reduces it’s efficacy.
10. High Vibe: Green Tea Way Higher Vibe: Chaga & Reishi Mushroom Tea
Looking to crack open your pineal gland in between visits with the Grandmother? If Chaga & Reishi are not already in heavy rotation in your regimen – they should be. Both Chaga and Reishi mushrooms are grown in the northern hemisphere, and once foraged and consumed (as a water-soluble tea or alcohol soaked tincture), they both actively work to decalcify and activate the pineal gland (your third eye) in addition to helping you relax, handle stress and sleep better.
They’re also digestive aids, immune boosters and contain some of the highest antioxidant effects on the planet. And when adding these magic mushrooms to your regular routine don’t be surprised if you find yourself more easily moving into “flow” states or rising to howl at the moon.