While most folks think that Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican version of the 4th of July, it is actually today – September 16.

In fact, this day, also known as “El Grito de la Independencia” – the Cry of Independence, marks the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s shout for freedom.

manzanillaSo today, I’d thought we’d celebrate a rich, colorful culture and their particular tea traditions.

While real tea (that which comes from the Camellia sinensis, tea plant) is not native to this part of the globe, Mexico has a rich tea drinking tradition in its own right.  Used primarily for herbal remedies, Mexicans concoct many herbal infusions (a.k.a. herbal teas) for any number of ailments ranging from insomnia to quitting smoking.

Perhaps the most common herb in Mexican herbal medicine is one which they call manzanilla, or “little apple.”  Most American folks know this lightly apple-scented herb by the name chamomile (which, interestingly enough, translates in Greek as “apple of the ground”).

Mexicans have found myriad reasons for sipping chamomile. A lightly steeped version of this herbal tea is said to soothe the nerves and aid digestion, while a stronger brew is used to reduce fevers. When brewed without common additives, such as lemon or honey, chamomile also serves as an eyewash.

Chewing fresh sprigs of Mexican manzanilla is also thought to help reduce nicotine cravings!

With all these great uses, why not celebrate the Mexican tea culture and try some today?!