Each day brings us the opportunity to make choices for long- term wellness. Most of us know the importance of eating whole foods, getting plenty of exercise and rest – but what about the gentle power of a tonic herb tea taken daily?

Over the years I have come to deeply appreciate my daily tonic tea, whose formula I alter a bit according to my needs and the season. The ritual act of brewing a tonic tea supports my mind, body and spirit. What is a tonic herb and how is it different from other herbs? Tonic herbs are gentle, nutritive and effective when used daily.

Examples are herbs such as nettle, red raspberry leaf, dandelion, burdock, eleuthro and oatstraw. They are full of ancient plant wisdom that communicates directly with your cells to increase or decrease body functions as needed. Tonic herbs don’t force the body to do any particular process, but nourish and strengthen the organ systems by providing much needed micronutrients and minerals that are easy to assimilated. That’s why the label on my tonic herb blend at home reads: Vita-mineral tea! Tonics can support your endocrine glands, heart, liver, digestive tract or prevent kidney stones, depending on the combination of herbs used. They can also increase overall resistance to infection and reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.

Herb shops and health food stores may carry very effective pre-blended (sometimes bulk) tonic teas. I especially enjoy mixing personal blends for clients who seek to address a particular constitutional weakness or a more chronic health condition. Usually 2-4 cups of tonic tea is taken 5-6 days a week for at least a month before one notices its healing effects, but it’s well worth it! Before you realize it, you are feeling stronger and some little, nagging health problems start to clear up. The act of making a pot of tea for yourself that you drink throughout the day is an act of self-nurturance, and a great way to connect with the flavors and properties of herbs – so give it a try!