Historical Health: Tea For The Ides Of March
March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb— how often have you heard that one passed around by your mom, your grandmother, or anyone born before the seasons stopped being traditional?
I’ll tell you what March comes in like, at least in New York City.
First, it’s a lion. A baby lion, actually. It doesn’t want to scare you.
Then it’s a squirrel, and everyone gets to play outside under the trees.
Then it’s a hedgehog, because we’re all bundled up again.
Then it’s a sea lion, horking as we all complain about the indecisive weather while sprinting back and forth between our warm jackets and springtime sunglasses.
But no matter what animal we’ve got in our urban jungle today, one thing is for certain: it’s still tea weather.
Normally, during March, the first tea to come to mind would be in honor of the number one foodie holiday: Saint Patrick’s Day!
However, if you haven’t learned by now from reading my articles, I’m a bit of a contrarian. So I took the time to search up other things to celebrate while we wait for the weather to figure out its identity crisis, and look what else happens in March: The Ides!
The Ides of March is a bit of a spooky holiday, as it commemorates when Julius Caesar met his downfall at the hand of his nephew, Brutus, ushering in a new age in the Roman Empire. What’s more interesting about it is the way it has come into our culture through incredible works of art and literature.
I’m telling you, if you’re looking for a cozy night in with your cup, then you’re missing out if you haven’t watched Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (starring The Godfather himself!, link to a youtube clip here), Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (link to a youtube clip here), or HBO’s tantalizing Rome series (link to a youtube clip here).
Now, Julius Caesar came to power by being a military genius, effectively establishing Rome as a major power during that time period. As a fitness professional and nutrition coach, this led to the question: so what exactly fueled that powerful army?
True tea wouldn’t come to Europe for quite a while yet, which meant that they would have preferred herbs native to the region. This, as it turns out, they infused in a variety of ways, with one documented recipe from Byzantine doctors that incorporated, “cumin, fennel seed, celery seed, anise, thyme, and salt.”
Well now— or should I say, wellness now!
It’s amazing what the Wellness section of Adagio has in the way of Roman-inspired tea options. Here are some of my go-tos if you want to recreate the Roman army experience (without, perhaps, worrying about some of the erstwhile hazards of the whole marching-for-days-in-full-armor part of the package):
Mamma Mia: Not just for Mother’s Day, this tea will have you going, “Mamma Mia!” in delight with how good it tastes. The fennel is soothing and eases digestion, just in case you do have to march around in this persnickety season.
Great Expectations: Super energizing! I love this one because it’s great— no pun intended— for hydrating you during the not-winter that March is trying to pull right now. The air is incredibly drying, but the rosehip in here takes good care of it.
Happy Belly: Because no one wants a sad belly when there’s a snap of warm, happy weather. Sip and enjoy this one under the small breaks of sunshine that March is known for— it even tastes like a brisk, brackeny day in the woods.
40 Winks: Did you know that valerian has been used in medicine since the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks? It’s also a popular anti-anxiety remedy, which makes it a truly relaxing component of this easeful blend.
Red Tent: It’s that fennel again! The Romans must have been on to something when they realized how fantastic and useful this herb is. It’s also good for adding a hint of sweetness to a blend when you’re looking to cut down on sugar in your daily life.
Now, alia iacta est. Thus fortified with ancient herbal powerhouses, I encourage you to go forth and conquer your day! (No matter what random animal might be coming for us next. I see you over there, Mr. Platypus. Just you wait— just you wait… which might be an appropriate sentiment for the Ides of March after all.)
NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, Founder of Work Life Fitness