What is Liberty Tea?
Whoever wrote the adorable quote "Make Tea, Not War" does not know the history of tea (or is certainly making a jab at it). There is of course the long history of war over tea and silks in the Eastern part of the world. But closer to home, we have our very own Boston Tea Party. Angry Sons of Liberty disguised as Native Americans threw chests of tea off the British merchant ships in protest to the ridiculous tax Britain mandated. After the Boston Tea Party, colonists swore off tea from King George. However daily teatime could not be ignored so colonial ladies had to explore other options to replace tea. Some colonists got tea from Holland. Others made their own. They used what was readily available - roots from the river, flowers from the garden, fruits from their orchards, and leaves from their herbs. What we herbalists now deem "herbal infusions", the colonial ladies called "Liberty Tea".
Making Liberty Tea is a lesson in resourcefulness. It is an example of the colonist's persistence and cleverness. The Daughters of Liberty made do with what they had. Raspberry leaf, mint, sumac, and lemon balm were popular choices for liberty tea. They might use tree bark from the forest, certain seeds from vegetables, or edible flowers from the garden.
The Daughters of Liberty with their foraged leaves and hot cups of herbs could teach us a thing or two. That was an early example of "voting with your dollars" before you could even vote. The colonial woman wanted their teatime and they were going to enjoy it - BUT with tea of their own making. It wasn't stubborn insubordination. It was clever resoluteness. There was a make-do attitude back then that my current society could afford to explore. Among instant gratification, one-click purchases and trash islands, there is a need for simplicity. Let us go back to our roots and use more of what we already have.