German Village Gazette

German Village Garten Club

Herb expert to reveal uses of teas, tonics and elixirs

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Brooke Sackenheim is the recreation coordinator for the Ohio Herb Education Center in Gahanna.
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Brooke Sackenheim isn't just looking to educate.

She wants to create a sensory experience.

Sackenheim will present "Teas, Tonics and Elixirs" at the next German Village Garten Club meeting, slated for 7 p.m. March 18 at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St. The event is free and open to the public.

Sackenheim, recreation coordinator for the Ohio Herb Education Center in Gahanna, said the program will teach people the benefits of herbs, beginning with simple teas and end with the complex world of elixirs.

"I'm going to build on each one of them," Sackenheim said.

She will open the discussion on herbal teas, which are not made from traditional tea plants and contain no caffeine.

Instead, they are made from ingredients many people can find in their gardens and brewed in the same way as traditional teas.

She will bring samples of the herb center's relaxing house blend, "herbal surrender," a mix of chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, hops and anise.

Tonics, Sackenheim said, also can be made from common items, such as fruits, roots and vegetables.

"A tea is something you drink more as a beverage," she said. "A tonic is something you take in a food form that you can eat or drink on a constant basis, something a little deeper, therapeutically ingesting an herb for your health."

Tonics can be made in much the same way as teas -- through the steeping process -- but are a little more complicated. She will explain the process of "decoction," which involves mashing a natural root and boiling it in water to extract the flavor and nutrients.

Elixirs, which usually come in the form of a liquid and can be used as medicine or to heal and balance the body, Sackenheim said. She said alcohol or sweeteners are added to the process.

She will bring samples of her "iron elixir," which contains apricots, molasses, honey and dandelion leaves and roots, nettles, yellow dock root, dried raisins, licorice root orange peel and ginger.

Sackenheim, 37, asks those attending to keep an open mind about the discussion.

"People can take the education the way they want to," she said. "You're going to get your own experience. It's probably going to be different than mine. And that's the beauty of herbs. That's the beauty of medicinal herbs.

"I think everybody has had the experience of how an herb has influenced their lives, even if it's on a flavor level."

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