Made with nourishing botanicals like hibiscus, lemon balm, and ginger, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, registered dietitian and author of The Better Period Food Solution weighs in on the health—and PMS-busting—benefits this beverage has to offer. From helping reduce inflammation to supporting healthy menstrual cycles and boosting mood, moon tea can help make you feel as good as ever.
What is moon tea, plus how to make it
According to Jenny McGruther from Nourished Kitchen, this moon tea recipe is made with “nourishing botanicals [that] are traditionally used to support healthy menstrual cycles, well-being, and mood.” This herbal infusion calls for five key herbs (hibiscus, ginkgo, red raspberry leaf, lemon balm, and ginger) that contain tons of micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
To make this beverage, McGruther explains that it’s slightly different than how you would brew a regular cup of tea. Instead of quickly steeping tea leaves for a few minutes in hot water, moon tea is an herbal infusion that should be soaked for much longer. McGruther says extra brewing time yields a more robust flavor and higher concentration of plant nutrients (which is 100 percent it, IMO). To help ensure you get the most benefits from each herb, she handles each ingredient with its own unique brewing method.
For the ginger, McGruther recommends soaking it in cold water before boiling, as it’s a tough rhizome (plant stem that produces roots) that will release more beneficial compounds if softened beforehand. To avoid damaging the delicate leafy herbs of the hibiscus, lemon balm, and red raspberry leaf, she suggests pouring the hot water on them after (not while boiling). And although McGruther says steeping the infusion for four hours will produce the most potent concoction, a 20 minute soak can also get the job done if you’re pressed for time.
McGruther also recommends storing moon tea in the refrigerator for up to three days—after this, it can quickly start to lose its potency. As for how to drink this soothing beverage, she says it can be enjoyed either warm or cold, depending on your liking.
How can moon tea help alleviate PMS symptoms, according to a registered dietitian
So, can moon tea actually help calm pesky PMS symptoms? Lockwood Beckerman says that it certainly can. “As with any of these ingredients, they act as natural anti-inflammatory compounds and helpful antioxidants, which may help soothe the body during the inevitable waves of inflammation that occur during your cycle,” she says.
Lemon balm, for example, has been widely lauded for its soothing effects as well as its antioxidant capacity, which helps protect the body from damage caused by free-radicals that can lead to inflammation. Packed with polyphenols, hibiscus, ginko, and red raspberry leaf also can also help support your cardiovascular system and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. And we’re all well-aware of the stomach-soothing effects of ginger (never forget all those years we spent sipping ginger ale when we got a stomach ache).
“The symptoms that strike during PMS, like cramps, headache, or stomach distress, may be alleviated from both the ingredients plus the hydration that comes along with herbal tea consumption,” Beckerman adds. As such, staying hydrated has been shown to help reduce headaches, increase your energy levels, and ease digestion.
When should you drink moon tea during your cycle
“Because this tea offers natural and healthy antioxidants, it can be consumed throughout your entire—approximate 30-day—cycle because it can soothe your body no matter the cycle phase it’s in,” Beckerman says. But if you want to target your PMS symptoms specifically, she says the best time to consume this tea would be near the end of the luteal phase as the body gears up for the menstrual cycle.
Moon tea recipe
Yields 4 servings
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
2 Tbsp dried ginkgo leaves
2 Tbsp dried red raspberry leaf
2 Tbsp dried lemon balm
1 2-inch knob of ginger (coarsely chopped)
4 cups cold water
1. Spoon the hibiscus, ginkgo, red raspberry leaf, and lemon balm into a quart-sized, heat-proof jar, and set it aside on your counter.
2. Add the ginger to a medium-sized saucepan, and then cover it with one quart of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, and then immediately turn the heat off.
3. Carefully pour the contents of the saucepan into the jar, and let them steep for about four hours.
4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the spent herbs. Enjoy hot or cold, and store in the fridge for up to three days.
Check out this video to learn what registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman recommends eating during your menstrual cycle:
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