I met Dr. Dave several years ago when our paths crossed while working in the field of mental health. Recently he offered to mail me some herbal tea that he had grown in his garden. Being a tea lover, I was interested in his background and personal history of herbal teas.
“For me, growing tea allows me to reflect on my family and our history. As a child, I remember being at my grandparent’s resort, smelling the chamomile and rosehip tea that my grandmother Rose harvested each year. She would explain the benefits of these exotic and foreign teas with love, passion, and excitement, sharing that chamomile was used by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to sooth the muscles, calm the nerves, and promote sleep. Now I know that Chamomile is used for many different ailments including my grandmother’s list, but also to help with diabetes, fight against diseases such as cancer, and aids the digestive system. My grandmother loved rosehip tea and would patiently wait for the flowers and pods to dry. “This tea”, she informed me, “Helps make you feel better and has 50% more vitamin C than an average orange, and contains vitamin D, E, and K.”
It wasn’t just about the tea for me, as much as it was about the time I spent connecting to such a wonderful and loving person in my life. I still have fond memories of processing, harvesting, and drying the tea and sharing a warm aromatic cuppa with my grandmother.
I once read a quote by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, “If you ask Zen people they will say that tea is something that you pour with unawareness and drink like any other drink. It is not a drink, it is meditation; it is prayer. So they listen to the kettle creating a melody, and in that listening, they become more silent more alert.”
“For me, the entire process of relaxing has taught me patience, as it is processed, just as change is a process. My life used to be a daily borage of seeing patients, answering phone calls and writing notes, with little time left for myself. By creating a space to heal, grow and slow down, I have changed.”
Dr, Dave said that he has traveled to many exotic and remote locations in the world, including Egypt, Israel, and Europe, where he had the opportunity to taste and sample many different teas and coffees and learned that tea is a staple in many cultures.
Dr. Dave reported that he used to be a coffee drinker, but about ten years ago he developed acid reflux. He noticed that after drinking coffee, he would wake up in the middle of the night with horrific acid reflux. Dr. Dave said he tried to cure the symptoms with Rolaids, but eventually went to the doctor who prescribed medication for the condition unsuccessfully, so he stopped drinking caffeine and went back to his family roots, drinking Chamomile and Rose Hip tea, which improved his symptoms. He also began exploring other teas including ginger and mint, which both have been reported to help aid in digestive problems.
Dr. Dave was asked if he incorporates herbal teas into his work with patients.
“Yes, I have dealt with a number of individual’s who have significant anxiety that is ramped up with caffeine. Each person has his or her own journey, and sometimes it’s not about just making mental changes. I have noticed as a person begins to change, they make changes in other areas of their lives such as spiritually or physically. Many people struggle with sleep disorders, so I encourage them to reduce caffeine intake, as this allows sleep difficulties to ease.
“I have been an individual that has dealt with depression and anxiety since childhood. It’s not easy, but through support and making changes in my own life, I have become more resilient when dealing with issues and problems. Alcohol was used as a way for me to cope, but I can say that through the support of my family, friends, and programs available, I have been able to develop other coping skills. Tea is something that allows me to escape for an hour with a good book, a friend, or through gardening. My grandmother offered a sense of comfort and love for me which is far better than a drink at this point in my life,” Dr. Dave said “As Audrey Hepburn once said, “When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over.”
“Life has been a journey over the past several years. Just like tea, as a detox, I have detoxed my life and made my life simpler and less chaotic. I have eliminated people, places and things that have caused me to live in fear and shame. While this has not been easy, it has been a journey that has allowed me to show up and be present with people who are meaningful to me. I have been in the field of mental health for over 25 years, working in both the public and private sectors. My current work focuses on coaching, writing, speaking, traveling and creating workshops on professionals in recovery.”
Dr. Dave’s story is an important reminder of how the simple act of drinking tea can benefit us psychologically, physically and spiritually.
Time for a tea break!